Detroit Movie Theatres

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National Theatre
Detroit, MI
The National Theatre was designed by Albert Kahn and built in 1911. It was originally a vaudeville house but soon switched to movies. By the 1940s or 1950s, the theatre had become a burlesque house. In the 1960s, it was renamed the Palace Theatre and operated as an adult movie theatre. The theatre closed in 1975 and has been deteriorating since then. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Senate Theatre
Detroit, MI
Michigan Theatre
Detroit, MI
The Senate Theatre was designed by Christian W. Brandt and built in 1926. The theatre was remodeled in the 1930s and again in 1949. It closed in 1958. Since 1963, the DTOS, Detroit Theater Organ Society, has offered organ concerts here. The Wurlitzer pipe organ was originally installed at the Fisher Theatre. These photos are from 2011. By 2016, the marquee sign was gone but the blade sign remained. By 2020, new graphic display boards were installed that the theatre had reopened. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3. [map]

The Michigan Theatre was designed by Rapp & Rapp and built in 1926. The elaborate four-story lobby was decorated with marble, European paintings and sculpture. In the 1950s, a wide screen was installed and the marquee was replaced. The theatre closed in 1967. It reopened but closed again in 1970. In the 1970s, it was used as a nightclub and rock concert space. Ultimately, it was converted into a three-level parking garage with portions of the theatre still intact. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Fisher Theatre
Detroit, MI
The Fisher Theatre was built in 1928 as a vaudeville and movie house. It was designed by Mayger & Graven in the Mayan Revival style. The lush interior featured a goldfish pond, macaws, and banana trees. In the 1950s, the Fisher did away with live performances and its Wurlitzer organ was moved to the Senate Theatre. The theatre closed in 1960 for a $4 million subdued remodeling by Rapp & Rapp. The Fisher is now a performing arts center. For more, see this website. [map]

Fox Theatre
Detroit, MI
The Fox Theatre was designed by C. Howard Crane who considered this his best creation. It was built in 1928 as the twin to his 1929 St. Louis Fox Theatre (described above). The design has been described as "Hindu-Siamese-Byzantine" and "Far Eastern-Indian-Egyptian". The lavish gold and red "Temple of Amusement" cost about $12 million to build. The Fox has been in continuous operation since it opened and was restored in 1988. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2015, the marquee and sign were restored with replica panels. For more, see this website. [map]

Telenews Theater
Detroit, MI
former Harper Theatre
Detroit, MI
The Telenews Theater was designed by Cyril Edward Schley and built in 1942. The fašade was originally bright blue and orange terra cotta, with bands of glass block. There was also a large globe sign above the marquee. In 1969, the theatre was remodeled and renamed the Plaza Theatre. The theatre became an adult movie house in 1971 and closed in 1987. From 1988-1991, the theatre operated as the Tele-Arts with independent and foreign films. In 2000, the space was converted into Bleu Room Experience, a dance club. The building was painted blue and white by 2020. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

The Harper Theatre was designed by Charles N. Agree and built in 1939. The name came from its location on Harper Avenue. The theatre was converted into a nightclub in the 1970s and renamed Harpos Concert Theatre. The lettering was changed on the 80' tall marquee tower. Today, the theatre is mostly used for heavy-metal band concerts. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Redford Theatre
Detroit, MI
United Artists Theatre [gone]
Detroit, MI
Irving Theatre [gone]
Detroit, MI
The Redford Theatre was built in 1928 in an atmospheric style. The auditorium is meant to resemble a Japanese outdoor garden with a blue sky ceiling. The Japanese motif was removed or covered up in the 1940s, during World War II. The original marquee was replaced with this simpler one at some point. The Redford Theatre still has the original Barton theatre organ. In 1977, the theatre was purchased by the Motor City Theatre Organ Society. The MCTOS has been restoring the theatre since then. The theatre is used for organ concerts, stage shows and classic films. The building is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

The United Artists Theatre was designed by C. Howard Crane and built in 1928. In the early 1960s, the theatre was remodeled. The terra-cotta was covered with dark marble and the 10-story marquee was replaced with the current one. Business declined and the theatre began showing adult films, eventually closing in 1971. It reopened as the Downtown Theatre in 1972 but closed again in 1974. In 1975, the interior details were sold off and by 1984 the tower tenants were all gone, too. The marquee sign was still there when this photo was taken in 2005. It was removed in 2006. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.

The Irving Theatre was designed by Kohner & Payne and opened in 1927. It began showing adult movies in the 1970s and closed in 1997. In later years, the building was used by church. However, when this photo was taken in 2005, the building appeared to be vacant. After a fire in 2007, the building was demolished. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, and 3.

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