Lake Theatre

Address: 420 Pontiac Trail
City: Walled Lake
State: MI
Zip: 48390
County: Oakland
Open: 1950
Capacity: 300
Owner History: William "Bud" Harris Jr.
Number of visits to this page: 11733
Notes: The Lake opened in the late 40s, and sat around 300. After the theater closed, it was used as a bait shop. It was torn down in 2003 after falling into disrepair, having stood vacant for many years.
Info Updates:
3/23/2021 - Andy Gray

My grandfather A.S. "Al" Johnson built the Lake Theatre in Walled Lake, but family records don't include the year of the project. An undated newspaper advertisement for the "New Lake Theatre" lists a 1947 film "The Voice of the Turtle," so it's likely that the theater opened in 1947 or 1948.

The theater was located at 420 Pontiac Trail. After the theater closed, the building went on to house a variety of businesses before being demolished. In June 1948 Al shot a slide from outside the theatre (see below). In this image, the entrance has a pair of red double doors with half-moon glass. These are the classic "Johnson doors" for which my grandfather was said to have held a patent. The theater is tan with red accents and the marquee is cream and maroon. Humphrey Bogart's classic 1948 film "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" appears on the marquee.

The Cinema Treasures website offers this history: "The Lake opened in the late 40s, and [seated] around 300. After the theater closed, it was used as a bait shop. It was torn down in 2003 after falling into disrepair, having stood vacant for many years."

2/25/2013 - jim
I have an ad from 1950 showing that it was open at that time.
11/29/2012 - Sonny Triplett
Born in 1945 on the opposite side of Walled Lake, we moved into a small house on Common St approximately 1 1/2 blocks from the theater in 1950. I remember paying 12 cents to get in until I turned 12 years old and it went to 20 cents. YEOWWWWW! l. o. l. I remember seeing Elvis in Blue Suede Shoes holding my younger sister sitting on the little wall in the rear of the theater because it was so packed. Truly some of the good old days.
8/20/2012 - Jim Harter
It also use to be a bowling alley. They had a professional bowling tournment there back in the late 50's that I went to and got to watch a 300 game bowled by Johnny King. Tom Dunckley and myself use to also bowl in a league there at that time.
12/2/2011 - Rich Hornbuckle
I remember the theater having a roller rink phase in the early 70's. I went to a birthday party there in 1972. I lived in Walled Lake from 1967-1975, and I believe it was a roller rink most of that time frame.
11/24/2009 - Sandra Huhtala
The lake theater was still open in 1966; I saw "Born Free" there when I still lived in Commerce Township.
12/6/2005 - Barbara Camarillo
The indoor theatre in Walled Lake is listed as closing in 1959. Well that cant be quite right. I wasn't born until 1961 and I went with my cousin to see, Valley of the Dolls (My Aunt didn't exactly know what the movie was about) at that theatre. I am not sure what year the movie came out, but to say the least I didn't understand alot of it. I was probably under 10. Just thought you might want to check into this. Also, this building was a roller rink for quite a few years (or it seemed along time anyways). I skated there before the built the other one at the other side of town (on Pontiac Trial). I haven't lived in the area for 24 years, but still remember somethings.... Thanks for listening.
7/14/2005 - Keith Collins
The Lake Theater remains an empty weed-filled lot. I noticed there are some posts that would hold a FOR SALE sign with a specific realtor. Either someone bought the lot, or the realtor just gave up.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
The Lake at Walled Lake, operated by William "Bud" Harris Jr. is being dismantled.
1/6/2003 - WaterWinterWonderland
The Lakes was a nice little downtown theatre that was probably built in the 1950s. After it closed, It was unsuccessfully converted to a bait store and an archery range. It eventually fell into such disrepair that the City of Walled Lake condemned the buiding. It sat dormant for a few years and was eventually demolished. The site is now an empty lot.
 Photos:8
Lake Theatre - MARQUEE FRONT
MARQUEE FRONT
Lake Theatre - FRONT ENTRANCE UNDER MARQUEE
FRONT ENTRANCE UNDER MARQUEE
Lake Theatre - MARQUEE FROM SIDE
MARQUEE FROM SIDE
Lake Theatre - PHOTO TAKEN IN JUNE 1948 BY AL JOHNSON
PHOTO TAKEN IN JUNE 1948 BY AL JOHNSON
Lake Theatre - OLD PIC
OLD PIC
Lake Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Lake Theatre - OLD AD
OLD AD
Lake Theatre - PORN PROBLEM IN WALLED LAKE AUG 1973
PORN PROBLEM IN WALLED LAKE AUG 1973
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