Coronado Community Carnival offers celebration of place in cinematic history

In the spring of 1988 high school student Mark Smith was ushered out of the auditorium at Coronado High School to make way for the production of a major motion picture being filmed on Scottsdale Unified School District property.

That major motion picture production would become a vehicle catapulting a young Keanu Reeves into the realm of celebrity and, in turn, memories of a lifetime for a young high school student in Scottsdale.

The movie was “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” which starred both comic legend George Carlin and featured Alex Winter, both in supporting roles.

The exterior of Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave., is featured prominently in the film.
“I went to school here from ‘84 to ‘88. This is where I went to high school and I saw them filming this movie,” Mr. Smith said. “I remember this vividly.”

Mr. Smith, who today is employed by SUSD at Coronado High School, serves as an instruction specialist — a teacher for teachers, he says — is spearheading an effort to showcase the school’s piece of cinematic history.

According to Mr. Smith, the 30th anniversary of the filming of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is Feb. 22 of this year, and in celebration, Coronado High School is inviting the community to a Free showing of the film.

The event will begin 7 p.m. at the Coronado High School Football Field and will feature a 20-foot outdoor movie screen for all to enjoy the film.

“Now that everyone is younger than me they didn’t know what I was talking about, but I found out that the movie is having its 30th anniversary this year,” Mr. Smith said. “When I started talking about that, community members began to remember and we thought this good be a cool event, so we paid to get the license to the movie and thought we could let people come and enjoy a screening of the movie.”

Mr. Smith says that’s where the idea started, but just by happenstance, he says, the Coronado Carnival Day will is the same evening from 7 to 9 p.m..

“We just thought we could also make it a fund movie in the park event,” he said. “We thought this was the logical thing to do. The carnival itself will feature local food trucks and a community carnival while the movie is going on.”

For Mr. Smith, the mosaic featured prominently in the film is something forever etched in his mind.

“They are walking into the Coronado auditorium and you see this mosaic — it is one of the only things they kept during the rebuild years ago,” he points out. “But when you watch Bill and Ted’s, they pull up and you see that epic mosaic, that just kind of struck a chord with me.”

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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