Carl von Hassler was a member of the ashcan school of art in Greenwich Village before he moved to New Mexico in 1922. His seven murals present a panoramic view of low mountains, cloud-filled skies, and peaceful pueblos. Painted into one scene is a striped Navajo blanket draped over the wall separating spectator from the landscape. The murals were painstakingly restored during the late 1980s.
A display case shows photographs and documents from the 1920s and 1930s about the original KiMo Theatre and its history. A series of photographs and articles shows what was done to restore and seismically reinforce the Theatre and bring it up to safety codes. For example, the wrought-iron, bird-figure balcony railing was 11 inches too short to meet safety codes --- lengths of iron were inserted to make the birds taller, and the craftsman who did the restoration ironwork was the son of the man who had made the original railing.
Another display case tells of the architectural style embodied by the KiMo Theatre: Pueblo Deco. Pueblo Deco was a flamboyant, short-lived architectural style that fused the spirit of the Indian cultures of the Southwest with the exuberance of America during the 'roaring twenties.' It appeared at a time when movie-mad communities were constructing film palaces loosely based on such exotic foreign models as Moorish mosques and Chinese pavilions. Indian motifs appeared in only a handful of movie theatres; of those few, the KiMo was the undisputed king.
Another display case offers up answers to some commonly asked questions about the KiMo Theatre:
- Q. "What does KiMo mean?" Answer: "KiMo" is a combination of two words literally meaning "mountain lion" but more liberally interpreted as "king of its kind." The name could not have been more appropriate!
- Q. Who owns the KiMo? Answer: The KiMo Theatre, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is owned by the City of Albuquerque.
- Q. How do I find what's playing? Answer: Check the Albuquerque Tribune for listings.
- Q. What was the first movie shown here? Answer: The first movie shown in the KiMo was "Painting the Town Red," and the first talking movie was "Melody of Broadway."