Mercury Theatre

Address: 16860 Schaefer Rd
City: Detroit
State: MI
County: Wayne
Open: 1941
Capacity: 2000
Owner History:
Number of visits to this page: 21432
Notes: AKA: Metro Mercury 1&2
Info Updates:
3/15/2021 -
In the early and middle 1960s, exclusive first run movies at the Mercury included Exodus (1960), The Longest Day (1962), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Charade (1963), and A Shot in the Dark (1964). After that, the Mercury participated in wide area releases of new movies, including Thunderball (1965) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? (1967). (From the Detroit Free Press archives of
6/10/2018 - Chris Ott
Henry Dahlgren, my Swedish grandfather and a friend painted the mirals at the Mercury theater. They came to the USA through Ellis Island in the early 1920s. Several commercial artists from Sweden came over to do artwork for the auto companies and the military. His renderings of army Tanks were unbelievably detailed. I was born in 1952 and we lived on Hartwell. I vividly recall going to Abba Jays market for penny candy and baseball cards. I went to Vernor elementary school during kindergarten and remember then serving Vernors Ginger Ale on occasion. We moved to Huntongton Woods when I was 5 yrs old. We were on Elgin and used to go to the zoo for 10 cents and ride the train to Africa and go through the cool tunnels. there. We could hear the lionss at the zoo roaring from our house when they fed them. It was great living there.
1/4/2018 - Dan Thornton
This theater was located near the Precious Blood School, which later became St. Martin de Porres High School (closed since 2005). It was already being torn down when I passed it on the way to the school for a high school placement test. The site is currently occupied by a strip mall.
5/2/2016 - Chris Ott
My grandfather was one of the painters of the murals. He was from Sweden and came came to America in the 1920s. He and another person painted them. Nobody believes this but it is absolutely true.
3/22/2016 -
Thank you Irene Suess for having the insight to take photos of the murals inside the Mercury Theater and for posting them here. One of the first theater experiences that I remember was seeing The Ten Commandments at the Mercury Theater in the 50's. That movie, combined with those murals sure left a lasting impression on a six year old.
3/18/2016 - Phillip
The murals were soooooo amazing. I really miss those days so much.
1/3/2016 - Tina
Owner's name was: Robert Sloan Mercury closed: October, 1993.
2/23/2015 - Howard McDonald
What I remember were the murals on the wall, 2 movies for the price of one. Prizes awarded during intermission for those who held the lucky numbers. A Duncan Yoyo representative offered me lessons and a free yoyo. And years later moved across the street to the Amber Room. A few years ago I came back to the old neighborhood (Strathmoor and Grove) for my 56 year grade school reunion. It seemed like a war zone. Currently live in Louisiana!!!.
11/29/2014 - Louise Rizzo
The Mercury Theatre was the most amazing place to go as a child. The murals of the chaiots were breath taking. We lived off of six mile east of six mile and my mother would get the baby buggy out and all six of us would walk all the way the with the promise of a wonderful day at the movies then across the street to the dairy queen for a five cent cone and next store to the dairy queen my fathers jewerly store. If we were really good we would go either Ann's restruant or Saunders stop at Federals for shopping then the long walk home. those were the days My father and uncle owned the dairy queen ,Rizzo Jewerlers and Ann's Restraunt. On the Fourth of July the best please to be would be at Precious Blood for the fireworks. I miss those days and wish our children and grandchildren could feel these experiences just once. Boy am I dated myself.
10/21/2014 - Tom ....
Ah yes, The Mercury. My girlfriend Jerry Cox lived on Littlefield and I would bicycle (didn't have to lock your bike) up from Wyoming to meet her for the Saturday show. going Dutch of course because fifteen cents was a lot of money. I would collect pop bottles for the cash. Would also go to the Westown but liked the Meciry because it seemed so much more plush. Miss the old dazzzz. The 50's were the BEST!!!.
6/8/2014 - Ricardo
I remember going to the see movies at the mercury with my dad to see hell up in Harlem back in 1973 when I was 10, I lived on mark twain between Lyndon and Intervale so the norwest was closer but in my teen years the mercury started an all night movie matinee showing slasher movies this was about 1978 or 1979. The neighborhood has changed and is now crime ridden I joined the Detroit police department sometime later and was assigned to the eighth precinct and the old mercury theatre was just on the out edge of my patrol area but I would sometimes drive by just to see the place. now I've since retired form the Detroit in June of 2013 and has since moved away like so many others for a safer and quieter life in Texas.
4/19/2014 - Maureen
Right on Ed, the movies were shown every summer on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Looking back we were fortunate to live in the 40's and 50's. Lived on Littlefield, across from PB and was maybe a block or so away.
4/16/2014 - Edward Stakoe
Always looked forward to last day of school in June. The Nuns gave us a pamphlet or a summer schedule of shows. I think the ticket price was 15 cents.
4/15/2014 - Pat "KELLY" Bien
KELLY lived on Cruse between Grove and Florence-Graduated from Precious Blood in 1955/sister Rita grad of 1952/brother Kevin grad of 1949/ brother Jim grad 1962. ALL went to the MERCURY every Saturday with our friends. When I went the cost was 14 cents! The so called bad kids sat in the last row and necked then went out afterwards and smoked cigarettes!!! :) ALL seemed to know Mr Bloom and all seemed to not love him over the years. Poor man must have learned to hate kids after dealing with them for so many years-Ha Ha! Precious Blood students would process on special occasions to the MERCURY to watch films of faith (The story of St Joan of Arc for instance). Unheard of in this day and age when kids wouldn't have been taught the same disciplines about behavior and respect, me thinks. Saw great films and cartoons!!. Wonderful memories. , It seems to have gone by way too quickly. but. blessed to have had the experience and the memories!.
12/11/2013 - Unknown
I lived on Ohio St & 6 mile. My best friend and I walked to the Mercury every Saturday to watch movies. Best childhood memories ever.
4/27/2013 - MsMisha
Actually, the site where the movie theater used to be is the parking lot just south of the General Liquidators store. That building has been there and was the old Wrigley's place.
7/28/2011 - Terry
Memories of the Old Days when me, Lil Dave H, Snoop, Soupbone, Eric,& the Manor Street Gang used to Live in the Mercury Theater every Saturday. We used to gamble to get the money, & it was 2 movies for $2:50 & we stayed all day, watched the movies twice.
4/23/2011 - Duane Lamers
Interesting about the Redford Theater is that it purchased the 70mm projectors and special Ultra Panavision lenses when the Summit Cinerama Theater downtown was closed. During the Summit's brief time as a cinema Detroit was the only city that had two Cinerama installations, although the Summit did not have capability for showing the original three-strip Cinerama process and even the Music Hall had closed down to one 70mm projection booth, Baker, by the time the Summit opened. I've not been back to the Redford in years, but the last time I was there I was told that many of the widescreen classics from the 1950's were no longer available because of deterioration in the color.
3/22/2011 - RT Smith
I lived in North Rosedale park near 6 Mile Rd and Southfield. My buddies and I would bicycle up to the Mercury theater almost every summer Saturday. It was the early fifties, so probably a lot of Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes. I remember being spellbound by the neat murals. It gave the theater a surreal feeling. We would troll the aisles looking for girls to sit by and maybe be able to hold hands or put our arms over their shoulders. A real coming of age experience. I'm sorry to see that the old place has been demolished, but time marches on.
3/6/2011 - Jay
Lived on Littlefield south of Puritain from '69 until I left for college in '85. Some of my favorite memories are going to the Mercury en mass with half the kids on my block. Saw plenty of R-rated slasher movies their despite being underage, they didn't seem to care as long as you had the money. Two features for $1. 50! Took my first date there in '81. I took her hand as soon as the lights went down and didn't let go the whole show. Too bad that place is gone now.
3/1/2011 - Jon C.
The Redford still screens on occasion 70 mm wide screen films.
2/27/2011 - Duane Lamers
As an eastside Detroiter, like many others the west side was uncharted territory. Once I was of age and had my own wheels, I slaked my thirst for films in the widescreen technologies of the '50's and '60's by twice visiting the Mercury because it was presenting the first-run of Porgy and Bess in the Todd-AO process and later on to attend a two-installment screening of a Russian production of War and Peace. The Mercury had installed the special curved screen for Porgy, but I don't think it offered many screenings of 70mm films. I wish one good size theater in the metro area could be revived to present these widescreen wonders from the '50's and later. DVDs on the telly at home just don't cut it!.
12/29/2010 - Michael C barson Sr.
I lived at 16216 littlefield in the early 60's. I went to Precious Blood for 1st & 2nd grade. I remember my father giving me change to go to the movie. I rode my bike to the Mercury one Saturday. I was waiting outside when a kid about 11 tried to take the change from my pockets. I ran into the A & P store next door & the manager took me outside to get my bike. My parents came & got me & walked me home. Shortly thereafter we moved to 5229 W. Outer Drive near Mt. Carmel. There was a bar across from the Mercury called the Amber Room. There was also a place that fixed typewriters called the Add & Type. It was owned by one of my dads clients I think their last name was Sloan. Around the corner from Federals was another bar called The Blue Chip Lounge. It had blue chipped glass on the facade. There was a Greens Hamburgers at the corner of 6 & Schaffer. Best burgers & shakes I have ever tasted even to this day. At that time the area had begun to get kind of rough. Shortly after the Detroit Riots my family moved to West Bloomfield. I drove by the house on Littlefield about 7-years ago & it still looked the same. I didn't recall the murals inside the Mercury & thankfully someone photographed them. They were really futuristic for the very early 60's.
10/12/2010 - dhibbett
When I was 10yrs old my family lived on Hartwell btw Florence and grove My older brothers and my younger sister and I would go to the Mercury all the time. There were probably closed to over 100 kids that lived on Hartwell at that time. We would go with our friends on the street especially on Saturdays when they showed double features on the weekends. The Mercury had 2000 seats and walls were illuminated with murals of the solar system. It also had a stage which a lot of people don't remember. The Mercury was so dear to my heart that I wanted to buy so the next generation could experience the fun and memories that we enjoyed as kids. Sadly the Mercury with its majestic marquee and its beautiful interior was torn down in 1997. Its a shame that times change so drastically that you that you thank God that you were to able to experience those wonderful times.
7/19/2010 - Ty
Wow. I remember going here as a child with my stepfather. I saw Masters of the Universe at the Mercury as well as The Blob (remake). I was very young then and hardly remember it . But I know that the time I spent there was special. I wish there were still double features at the movies.
6/5/2010 - Price
According to theater records, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Mercury started showing double features on one bill (until the late showing) for one admission ticket. This was a unique feature of the Mercury in its later years as few if any other indoor cinema showed double bills. I really do wonder if a younger generation could comprehend being able to pay one low price for a ticket and stay for two. These days you could see about 8 movies for the price of one matinee ticket. Sad, but a sign of the times, I guess.
7/12/2009 - Steve A.

I was emailed a link to the pages covering the Mercury Theater. When I saw the images the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Big Time.

My three brothers, one sister and I attended Precious Blood in the 70''s. The school and Church would be located to the RIGHT of the cameraman. Here I learned the ways of the streets. Sho Nuff !

The Wrigley''s was also, at one time, another ''Five and Dime'' called Woolworths.

Somewhere on the block was a ''Federals'' Dept. Stores.

Cool part of town. Scary part of town.

Home was near the corner of Stansbury and Midland.

- Steve

9/7/2008 - GERALD G GLOVER JR.
Thank God for Irene Susse for saving images of the auditorium walls of the Mercury Theater! I remeber my Dad taking us to see The 7th Voyage of Sinbad there in the late fifties. This was a great tme in Dertroit; especially for movies goers, because we had so many neibourhood theaters. We had the Royal on 7mile; the Westown on Wyoming; the Varisty on Livernois; The Duke on 8mile; and the Westside Drive-in on 8mile! I went to the Mercury, on Shafer, many, many times; remembering those great murels and how they shinned during the movie. Yes, thank you ms. Irene Susse for bringing out the childhood memories in us!!!
4/11/2008 - Marshall
The mercury was operated by Suburban Detroit Theaters, which also operated the Northland, The Town Center, and several others. The murals were fantastic. It''s too bad they could not have somehow been preserved.
11/15/2007 - jack lorber
The Mercury was about a mile from our house. We lived on Ward Ave@Fenkell(btwn Schaeffer & Meyers). As a kid in the summer we would ride our bike & go to a summer movie camp flic. Remember seeing Superman & The moleman. In the 60''s took dates to the Mercury to see Rock & Doris movies. Also saw the The Longest Day & To Kill A Mockingbird there. What a beautiful theater. Those murals beat anything seen in todays multiplexes.
10/22/2007 - Tom Rogers

2/26/2007 - John Stevenson
I grew up about a block and a half from the Mercury theater and was able to go almost every weekend. Saturday morning I''d finish my chores, collect my $.50 cents allowance, and walk to the show...It cost 25 cents to get in, and my other 25 cents would buy popcorn and a drink and maybe even a candy bar...It was always very special....I remember when "Porgy and Bess" premiered there... They had search lights going every night, and everyone was a buzz of the big movie stars that would come there....Every once in a while, I used to talk the ticket gal (the one who tore them in half) into giving me free tickets...that was really something, because then I could bring some of my friends and feel just like a big shot..This is such a great web site for all of us who grew up in Detroit back in the Good old Days!!!
2/14/2007 - Rob Morrow
Unfortunately I only had one visit to the Mercury Theatre. I lived in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and did not have a car so it meant I had to travel across the border by bus and then catch a DSR (Detroit Street Railway at that time) bus in Detroit and transfer a couple times to reach the theatre. This was a long journey to see a movie. I had heard about the magnificent murals and the really big curved movie screen and the fantastic stereo sound system and I wanted to experience it for myself. So on June 9th, 1967 I undertook the journey to have my one and only visit to the Mercury. I reserved my seat at a cost of $2.25 US for the showing of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for 8pm on Friday evening. I remember how excited I was as I entered the doors in the lobby. And believe me I was not disappointed. The murals were exquisite, the lobby was grand and the actual theatre was magnificent. I recall the lights being lowered and the curtains opening to reveal the largest screen I think I can remember seeing. And yes, it was curved. Not to the extent the Cinerama screen was but still quite curved. And then the movie began. It was an experience that was everything I had hoped for. I only wish the theatre was not so far away as I would have become a regular patron. Such as I was with the United Artists, the Michigan, the Madison, the Fox, The Music Hall Cinerama, the Summit Cinerama, the Grand Circus, the Adams and the Palms. All of which I have many fond memories, ticket stubs and movie programs that I can share. Detroit theatres are a part of my history as a young person.
4/17/2006 - Gary R. Cocozzoli
It should also be noted that the Mercurys auditorium wallls were completely covered with Art Deco visions of views of the universe that literally "glowed in the dark" with black-light illumination. This provided a positively stunning moviegoing experience where the walls were sometimes more interesting than the film. Another unusual feature was the push-back seats, allowing patrons to move into the row without requiring those already seated to rise. Later, these seats became common at General Cinemas 1960s-built theaters in the Detroit area. After the reserved-seats Porgy and Bess, for which the Mercury was renovated and a huge curved screen was installed, the theater left behind its neighborhood second-run status and began to show first-run films exclusively. The prestigious films of the day played the Mercury first. No longer would the downtown theaters be the only first-run venues in town. Without a doubt, the Mercury was the most unusual theater in the Detroit area and many would say it was the most beautiful.
1/15/2004 - Cinema Treasures
When the Mercury opened in 1941, it could seat over 2000 movie-goers. This Streamline-style theater was designed by Ted Rogvoy, who later designed the suburban State-Wayne and Terrace Theaters. The Mercury's lobby had brass plaques on its walls with autographs of Hollywood stars etched in them. Both the lobby and the auditorium contained modernist murals with astronomical and astrological themes. The Mercury was the first theater outside downtown Detroit to show 70mm, with "Porgy and Bess" in 1959. It was also one of the first non-downtown houses to screen first-run films. In 1985, the large auditorium was twinned into a set of 600-seat auditoriums. The theater's original Streamline Moderne decor was left relatively intact, however. (The old 70mm equipment was removed around this time). It was renamed the Metro Mercury I & II, and began screening second-run features. Sadly, the Mercury was demolished in 1997.
12/19/2003 - Box Office Magazine
September 1959 - Hy Bloom of the Mercury Theatre used to be drummer with the Chord of Judea Symphony orchestra, which played a series of concerts at Belle Isle Music Shell in the 1932 depression days, the News recalled in a feature article.
Mercury Theatre - OLD PHOTO
Mercury Theatre - OLD INTERIOR SHOT
Mercury Theatre - THE AREA NOW
Mercury Theatre - FROM ROBERT MORROW
Mercury Theatre - FROM ROBERT MORROW
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