Built on the site of Henry Ford’s first garage, the Michigan Theatre opened on August 23, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan. The 4,038 seat theater was designed by Chicago-based theater architecture firm Rapp & Rapp (also known for the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn) for the Balaban and Katz Theatre Corporation.
As with many other theaters at the time, the Michigan opened as a silent film theater and was later converted to show “talkies.” The first motion picture shown with sound was “Sawdust Paradise,” starring Esther Ralston, Reed Howes and Hobart Bosworth. In addition to showing films, the theater was also used as a live performance venue. Some of the greatest performers of the day played there, including Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. The live performances were discontinued in the late 1930s when the Michigan began showing only movies.\
The Michigan closed in 1967 due to declining ticket sales. It was reopened a few months later by Nicholas George, who owned and operated 11 theaters in the Detroit area. George made renovations to the theater, but it ended up closing again after just three years. Live performances returned in 1973 when the theater was converted into a 1,500 seat supper club and renamed the Michigan Palace. The club was not successful and closed a few months after opening.
It later became a concert venue and hosted shows from many famous bands, including Aerosmith, Rush, Bob Seger, David Bowie and Blue Oyster Cult. Its years as a concert venue took a toll on the theater and much of the interior decor was damaged. The theater closed for the last time in 1976 due to a dispute between the building’s owners and the concert venue management over the damage to the theater.
Plans to demolish the theater were halted when demolition studies revealed that if the theater was demolished the structural integrity of an attached office building would be compromised. The inside of the auditorium was then partially gutted and a three-storey parking garage was built inside. The only remaining parts of the original theater include the ceiling, proscenium arch, part of the upper balcony, the projector room, the lobby ceiling and the ticket booth. The Michigan is still in use as a garage, and has been featured in a number of movies set in Detroit, including “8 Mile” and “Alex Cross.”
It’s time for another round of the “From the balcony” Print sale. The following prints will be $25 dollars off from now until April 30th. If you buy all 5 you’ll receive an additional discount!
Prints are available in editions of five in the following sizes:
The available sizes are:
8″x10″ – $25.00
12″x18″ – $50.00
16″x24″ – $75.00
In addition all the images on the Prints page will be 50% off until April 30.
Images are printed on Kodak Professional Endura Supra paper.
Please e-mail me if interested. Payment is accepted via Paypal, Amazon Payments or credit card. Prints are shipped via USPS or FedEx.
The Eastown Theatre opened on October 1, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. It was built by the architectural firm of V.J. Waiver and Company for the Wisper and Westman Theatre chain. Designed in a Baroque architectural style, the 2,500 seat theater was built for motion pictures and did not have live performances until much later. Most movie palace openings were a grand event, and the Eastown was no exception. Newspaper ads proclaimed the opening to be, “the most glorious event in the history of east Detroit.” The opening film was Clark Gable’s first starring role “Sporting Blood.”
I’m happy to announce that 15 of my images are going to be shown at the Sakura Gallery in Paris, France from March 27 to April 30, 2013.
Sakura is located at 46, cour Saint-Emilion, 75012 Paris. For more information about the gallery check out their website : http://www.galerie-sakura.com.
The Fabian Theatre opened on December 14, 1925 in Paterson, New Jersey. Designed by Paterson architect Fred Wesley Wentworth for theater magnate Jacob Fabian, the 3,228 seat theater was built in a Sullivanesque style with a two ton chandelier, tile floors, murals, and Turkish baths in the basement.
The National Theatre opened on September 16, 1911 in Detroit, Michigan. Designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn (who designed so many buildings in Detroit that he was nicknamed, “the architect of Detroit”), the National is noted as his only theater and is the oldest surviving building from the city’s original theater district. Built in the Art Nouveau style, the exterior of the building is covered with terra cotta from Pewabic Pottery, another Detroit landmark.
The Madison Theatre opened on October 16, 1920 in Peoria, Illinois. It was built by architect Frederic J. Klein (known for Rockford, Illinois’ Coronado Theatre) for the Robinson Amusement Company. The 1,739 seat theater was originally designed in the Adamesque style and was remodeled in 1936 in the simpler art deco style to ease the maintenance of the building.