Movies at Fairlane

Address: 18900 Michigan Ave
City: Dearborn
State: MI
County: Wayne
Open: 1976
Capacity: 3245
Owner History: United Artists
Number of visits to this page: 9775
Info Updates:
4/14/2016 - John
I worked at Fairlane Movies in the 80's with Kevin Dimitry, Dave, April Wamble, Sue White, Tom etc. Remember the Rocky Horror nights on Friday's and Saturdays and the difficulty we had searching the suspected stoners and drunks? Remember the Tuesday dollar days- All Seats All Shows $1- and the problems it caused when all the thugs started coming in by the carload? We started finding loose bullets on the floor after the shows and security became an issue. Remember the long lines that $ days caused and the other stores trying to get the Movies to cancel them? Kevin had an original 1977 Star Wars poster in his upper level office. Yellow was the light color for #5 upstairs. That was the really big show. To this day, working at FM was one of the best jobs I had and I met some great people. I love movies to this day and it was so fun being able to see all the movies free. Remember the long lines for Desperately Seeking Susan? Remember that Anthony Quinn art statue Irene that was on the lower level movies? Remember Olga's Kitchen next door upstairs and the A&W Creamery and Au Ban Pan? We still had to wear usher jackets back then! I also recall the movie night deals with JB Pub and the long standing cashier who used to work out on the lower level mall, she got a pension, I think her name was Dianne. The Mall was so nice back then, at Christmas they used to have to bring in the mounted police and close the roads due to the crowds. Just a few short years later, all that business moved out to 12 Oaks. Remember having to climb the ladder Thursday nights outside on the old marquee and put up the names of the new movies in the freezing winters with all the winds? Russ and I used to have great fun doing that.
2/27/2009 - Steve Bielawski
Patrick is absolutely right, and I was wrong, about the five theatres upstairs. Those did have aisles on the sides, not in the middle. Now that he has reminded me of it, I do remember that. However, when they added the five downstairs theatres, those had middle aisles. I have no idea why they did it differently, but they did. But Patrick, thanks for correcting me about the five upstairs theatres. I do remember that now that you mention it.
2/18/2009 - Patrick Picking
Correction on one of the previous comments. None of the theaters had a center aisle. The theaters all had two aisles on the sides, with seats at the edges of the theaters. We would do theater checks throughout the night, walking in one door, down the aisle, in front of the audience to check the exit door, then up the other aisle. Theater 1 held 296 people. Each theater 2-5 held more, with theater 5 holding 405 people. The downstairs 5 theaters each held about 300 people. Theater 5 was the only theater that could show 70mm films, was the first to get dolby sound, and had a curtain that would raise as the show started. I worked there from 1979 - 1987, and was a manager before I was transferred to the Meriden Cinemas 10 in Meriden, CT.
6/3/2008 - Dylan Day
"There is no connection into the mall directly into the theatre, to discourage teens from hanging out."

This is not actually true. The new Star theater was not built free-standing to discourage teens from hanging out. It was built free-standing because the designs could not be accomodated to fit inside of the mall (it''s freak''n huge), nor did a causeway make sense for its design.

Additionally, there are no less teens that hang out at the new Star than they did at the old UA in my opinion. I worked there from 1989-1991 (before transferring to Westriver) under Carl Brasille. Managed at Westriver and then 12 Oaks for a time before leaving in 1993.

Some of my fondest memories as a youth were spent working with friends at UA Fairlane - good times!
2/12/2006 - Steve Bielawski
The interiour picture you have shows the gate in front of the lobby. The concession stand was off to the right as you enterred. From the lobby, you would walk down a corridor to the right, and all five auditoriums were off that hallway on the left. As I recall, the largest auditorium was the furthest from the lobby. In a quirk of geography, the original box office was actually across the hall to the left of the lobby (from the angle of this picture). The hall led to the back, where there were elevators, rest rooms, and the malls business and security offices. There were rest rooms for the movies, located at the back of that lobby. When the ice rink closed, the movies expanded to include the former rink space, which was downstairs from the original five screens. They built a new. larger lobby downstairs to serve the downstairs auditoriums and kept the old lobby to serve the upstairs auditoriums. At some point shortly after the downstairs auditoriums opened, the upstairs box office was closed and replaced by a box office downstairs, near the entrance to the mall. That box office was a booth in the middle of the walkway, just in front of the hall that led to the entrance to the downstairs auditoriums. If I remember, Mr. Bs Pub was in front of the entrance to the downstairs movies, and the box office was just in front of Mr. Bs. The downstairs box office had a light bar with mylars of the movies and the showtimes under the mylars. All the movies, both upstairs and downstairs, had the aisle in the middle of the auditorium. The best place to watch a movie was just where there were no seats. I cant help wondering why people didnt think of side aisles earlier. The auditoriums had a fairly steep incline, and most were rather narrow but long, leading to some smaller screens and less-than-wonderful viewing. As much as I miss the places of my youth, I have to say that modern theatre seating and auditorium layouts are definite improvements. When UAs lease ran out, in 1997 or 1998, the movies closed, and so did Mr. Bs Pub. The part of the mall which housed the rink, the movies, and the pub was torn down, and the outside of the mall was patched. The Star Theatre Fairlane was built mostly in the parking lot of the old movies. The Star is huge, compared to the old Movies. The Star takes up a lot of the old parking places. As Ann Marie mentioned, the Star is unattached to the mall; this means that people arent walking through the mall to get to late-night movies. I suspect that mall security is glad of that.
2/24/2004 - Dale Roszkowski
Hello, sir, You might remember me, I used to work at the movies at Fairlane 20 yrs. ago and gave you info on my old boss there, Pat Picking, (he submitted the pix u have on your site and we had a reunion w/ the employees). Anyway, I couldnt help but notice a few minor mistakes on this Movies at Fairlane page; there were only 5 theatres on each level, not 10 on each and the ice rink was never turned into a roller rink.
2/11/2004 - Ann Marie
When the mall opened in the 70s, on the second level there were 10 movie screens, and on the lower level, there was an indoor ice rink. The ice rink wasnt very profitable, so they turned it into an indoor roller rink. Also not profitable. By the early 80s, the movie complex had expaned to use the lower level as an additional 10 movie screens. When United Artists pulled out of all the local malls, the property sat empty for a while. In the 90s, the property was torn down, and the Star movie complex was built, taking up the previous space of the complex, plus some area of the old parking lot. There is no connection into the mall directly into the theatre, to discourage teens from hanging out. (You have to exit the mall & walk a short distance outside.)
8/13/2003 - Patrick Picking
The phone number used to be 313.593.4790 for the recording, and 313.593.4793 for the office. I worked there for many years. We just had a reunion of the employees.
Movies at Fairlane - VINTAGE SHOT
Movies at Fairlane - GONE
Movies at Fairlane - OLD MARQUEE
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