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Movie Theaters >> Quo Vadis Theatre

Address: 7420 N Wayne Rd
City: Westland State: MI Zip: Phone:  
County: Wayne
Notes: AKA: Penthouse 6 Screens
View on Google Maps  
Open: 1966   Capacity: 1798  
Owner: National Amusements / Redstone
Number of visits to this page since Sept 2013: 16339

4/29/2012 - reeka
omgosh this made me cry so bad :(. my husband and i, just dating back then, would hang out there all the time. so many memories there. i think our names were in every stall in the mens and womens bathrooms lol. most of my high school days were spent there,? so sad. this place COULD have and SHOULD have been saved ?.
4/18/2012 - Bob
First time there with my first date with Cindy. We saw Ryan's Daughter. Great Movie, Great Date, Great Girl.
8/27/2011 - Gas Man
I loved the QV. I think I may be the reason it closed. You see, there was a stench in the Penthouse that could not be removed. I had the worst gas of my life there in 1983. It was so bad people coughed, gasped for air (mistake). Got up and moved or left the theatre. I swear the place fogged up. My girlfriend covered her face with her shirt, after looking right at my saying, you asshole. To this day I tell the story to whoever and it always brings a laugh. Girlfriend didn't last, probably because I gassed her again on the ride home. She stuck her head out the window screaming you asshole. The movie you might wonder? The Big Chill.
6/20/2011 - M.S.
Grew up two blocks from the Q. V. In the late 60's & early 70's during summer break my mom and I would go to the movies on Wednesday's for the matinees and lunch at the Over 21. Mom would have a MaiTai. As a young boy some of the club's artwork left an impression. Looking back, the Over 21 Club just needs some brass poles and dancers. It sure looked the place. Still many fond memories, Patton, Blazing Saddles. Don't think mom looked at the ratings all the time.
5/7/2011 - Unknown
Demolition is done, now an empty lot.
4/18/2011 - GeorgeB
I've been there only once, sometime in the mid 70's. All I remember was a claustrophobic feeling and (since it is part of my profession) I was trying to see how in the world we could get out of the place in case of ANY emergency, least of all FIRE! Not a good experience overall and I never went back. Michael Lavander on Flickr, has a lot of pics and videos of the demolition, which has been completed by now (4/17/2011). A lot of material are still sitting in piles, waiting to be salvaged.
4/15/2011 - Michael Ward
I'll never forget the time when we were showing Blue Lagoon and Blues Brothers upstairs in the Penthouse. The signs got put over the wrong theaters. Rod Aston (one of our senior ushers) in his brilliantness, went inside one theater and told 300 customers they needed to go to the other theater, then he went in the other theater and told 250 customers to get to the other theater. Meanwhile back in the projection booth good old Maurice was switching the films where they belong. guess what we had all our customers in the wrong theater again. memories of the Quo. and I have a bunch of them!!!! Over all I enjoyed the times I managed the Penthouse. our staff was the best, and after 30 years I still think of them.
4/3/2011 - Unknown
i have some pics of demolition and the back of the theater, anyone interested?.
4/3/2011 - Carl
Well, she's finally coming down. She was built like a tank, lots of steel in there. Does anybody else see the irony of another structure from the man who designed the World Trade Center being reduced to a pile of rubble? Sigh. If nothing else she stood slightly longer than the much newer Showcase down the street did. Haven't heard many nostalgic longings for that place like I have for the old QV. Guess everything nowadays is built to have a shelf life of 48 minutes or less. Too bad they don't build 'em to last for generations anymore.
3/24/2011 - Pete
They are in the process of tearing this theater down (03/24/11). I have some pics of the demolition, should anyone be interested.
3/22/2011 - jim
I think she's finally coming down.
3/18/2011 - Ed K.
I drove pass the theater today and noticed all that ugly yellow siding and windows on the second floor have been removed. Are they still considering building a health club there?.
3/17/2011 - Fredrick Ryan
oops. make that Yamasaki.
3/17/2011 - Fredrick Ryan
@Les, that ramp was to be used to enter the restaurant that was to have been on the second floor of the complex. As the QV was originally designed, there was to be only a single screen theater on the ground floor seating about 1200. The second floor was to have been a restaurant and bar. The restaurant was to feature seating that would allow patrons to watch the movie while dining. There was to have been a elevator that would have taken guests up to the restaurant as well. The shaft for the elevator was completed, but the car was never installed. When the QV opened in 1966, where were no theaters on the second floor. The restaurant was never fully built as the Shafers could not find a restauranteur to operate the restaurant and bar. Apparently memories of the Coconut Grove fire 24 years earlier convinced any operator that a second floor restaurant would never be successful. IIRC, Mr. Shafer told me that only Stouffer's was interested in the restaurant, but backed out. The space was turned into 2 additional theaters and the Over 21 Club in late 1967. The opening of the Penthouse theaters was to have been the beginning of April 1968, but the assassination of Martin Luther King delayed the opening about 2 weeks. And yes, that ramp is far too steep to be climbed easily. Must have been done on an off day in the Yamaguchi offices.
3/17/2011 - Les Newcomer
Does anybody know what the ramp near the front of the theater was supposed to be used for? I don't think it was ever used as it's way too steep for move theater traffic out of a screening, and yet I'd be shocked that Yamasaki and Asso. would design and build such a mistake.
3/15/2011 - Mike
Part of the upper north wall was torn off on Monday, March 14. Do a search for Michael Lavander on Flickr for photos I will post of the demo. I also have a large set from the Showcase demolition just down the street,.
3/5/2011 - Blake Berry
I've been a lifelong resident of Westland and the QV has always been a unique feature of the Mall area. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all have told me stories about going on dates to the theater in their youth. I also remember seeing several matinees with my dad when I was younger (Monsters, INC. and Small Soldiers come to mind). It's such a shame that the circumstances surrounding this situation have prevented anyone from purchasing and re-opening this theater or the Showcase (which is being demolished and replaced with a state-of-the-art MJR theater as I type this). While I'm saddened that this special place is fading away, I take solace in the idea we all have our own memories of our childhood hangouts that will continue to persist as the landscape of Westland changes.
2/4/2011 - George Larkins
I wish I would win the lottery if only to purchase the Quo Vadis and restore it to beyond it's former glory. I would make it a Cinema Art House that specialized in famous film's of the past with discussions and presenters on the films, genre's and directors (Any one ever heard of Hitchcock?). There is a real desire for the aging population to relive these films of their youth. They can only be properly exhibited in venues like this. If only for the historic value to our national legacy toward the twin towers and 911 we should consider that the structure should be preserved. But go ahead tear it down. Because, we need an exercise facility more than a sense of national pride or a cultural institution. After all if you can get more money that's what really matters. If anyone out there has loads of cash to save the Quo Vadis please contact me.
10/13/2010 - Unknown
Just as the article says, they recently put a fence around the building, demolition is to begin soon. just like showcase cinemas dearborn.
10/1/2010 - Don Gurka
Much to my dismay, the theater will be coming down soon. Landmark Quo Vadis Theater faces demolition Fencing is up as the long-stalled plans for demolition of the old Quo Vadis Theater are moving forward. “They're tearing it down. They're waiting on utility disconnects. I expect that any day,” Westland Building Director Roger Shifflett said. “They have been doing the abatements and environmentals. I believe that is done. ” The demolition permit hasn't been issued yet, but needs only the utility disconnection to be completed, Shifflett said. Located on Wayne Road just north of Warren Road across from Westland Shopping Center, was open from 1966 to 2002. Plans for demolition of the theater to make way for a $5 million fitness center were derailed by the poor economy. National Amusement is still the owner of the building and land. No one from National Amusement could be reached for comment. “I think they finally made the decision that the property was a lot more valuable with the building gone,” Shifflett said. “I think that's a correct assumption. ” Local teens Don Gurkha and Zachery Gizicki organized efforts to try to save the dilapidated Quo Vadis and its unique exterior designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the World Trade Center. The building originally was scheduled for demolition in 2008. “If this time is really the end for the Quo Vadis, I must say it was an amazing experience working with this theater. Through this project I've made many connections to other preservation groups such as Preservation Wayne and the Michigan Central Station Preservation Society,” said Gizicki. “My group did two things. First, we showed youth to stand up for what they believe in and take an interest in the community. Second, we made people realize that every building has a story. ” City officials had already okayed the concept of clearing the site based on the condition of the building. “It was so destroyed on the inside, with the asbestos — there was no saving the building,” Shifflett said. “No one in their right mind who has gone through it said it was safe or usable. I think the demolition is a good decision. ” Gizicki and Gurkha remain disappointed that the theater isn't being saved. “Everyone is able to connect fond memories to this theater whether it was a first date, an amazing job, or a great place to catch a flick. But few people knew of its architectural importance until two teenagers took an interest in the theater. It saddens me to see this town simply throwing away it's history,” said Gizicki. Gurkha also sees demolition of the Quo Vadis as a lost opportunity for the community - something lost due to Michigan's economy and Westland politics. “I still feel this would have been a great place for a community theater, some place inexpensive that families could have gone for a good time,” said Gurkha. “The city of Westland really does nothing help or offer guidance to non-profit organizations and small businesses and I think that is a real shame. ” lrogers@hometownlife. com (313) 222-5428.
9/9/2010 - Kyle FitzGerald
Wow, great to see names like the McLeans ( I don''t remember you so much John, but your sisters were good friends with my sister Kathy) and Jeff Hendrikson. Lots of memories sweeping the back lot and polishing that brass. Good times with Maury the projectionist, Mike the 21 club bartender and of course, Jack Wagner. We did have some great QV parties and football games in Hines park. Many fine memories of Mike Ward and Gary Sissom who never came across as a boss, but more of a peer.
5/17/2010 - Unknown
Auditorium Seat Count (circa 2006): 1-498, 2-270, 3-235, 4-335, 5-322, 6-128
8/9/2009 - David - WLND
UPDATE: On Thursday August 6, 2009 Both the Quo Vadis and the Penthouse Marquees were torn down.
5/7/2009 - Jon in Ohio
In 1982 I was 20 years old and living in Galion, Ohio. My best friend and I went out to a local park to watch a group perform a Revolutionary War re-enactment scene. As my friend and I watched the performers, my attention was drawn to a beautiful, young brunette about 18 years of age. I leaned over to my friend and said, "I''m gonna marry that girl." He laughed out loud. I told him I was serious.
To make a long story short, she was from Garden City, Michigan. She and I talked and exchanged phone numbers. It just so happened the next weekend her group was back in our area again. That weekend, I drove her the 156 miles from Galion to Garden City to meet her parents. While visiting up there, she and I went to Quo Vadis to watch "ET". It was our first official "date".
Next month that lovely lady and I will celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. We have raised 4 children and are now grandparents three times over. We have lived in Galion for 23 of the 26 years of our marriage. There will ALWAYS be a special place in my heart for Quo Vadis because it was part of the beginning of something beautiful in my life.
Oh ... my friend who laughed when I said, "I''m gonna marry that girl" ????... he was the best man in our wedding.
4/19/2009 - Andrea
Blast from the past! I too worked at the Quo in the early 80''s (81-84) as a candy girl. When I first started there were only two theaters on the bottom part....so they were really really big! And it seemed they could easily sell out for such blockbusters as the 48 Hours/Tootsie weekends! Those were the days! It was a great job for a teenager as you got free passes to the other Schaeffer owned facilities including the Algiers and the other drive in off Michigan avenue. I remember what a big deal it was when Mr. Schaefer and another guy which the name escapes me....Ron?. would show up. I remember everyone being on their best behavior. I had a lot of great friends there and also remember playing flashlight tag after hours..... I met my husband there (Tom) ....the love story of the candygirl and usher. We have two kids now. Super big love to all the people I worked with and these are the names I remember Lisa, Jill, Carla. Eric, Chuck, Jeff , Denise, Stacy, Danny, Andy, Kevin, Jim, Shannon & Jim, Ron, Richard....

This site is great! I can show my kids where it all started! I''ll check your other site out too!
2/8/2009 - Pat Shaw
I loved the Quo Vadis,went there many times for dinner and movie. Don and Zachery I would love to help you with a fund raiser. I show movies at nursing homes. I have a DVD projector with an 82 inch screen and sub woofer. If you can get a hall we could have a movie fund raiser.I''m not on line at the present time. I''m using my sister in law''s computer this evening. Youcan reach me at 313 2748821 after 6 during the week.My business is called Movies to U. I would love to hear from you; i also want to help save the QV. I also know the man who used to be the manager of the QV, his name is BOB.His mother is at one of the nursing homes I show movies at.We talk about the QV often. Will look forward to talking to you. I really want to help you !!!!!! Pat Shaw Feb 7 2009
2/4/2009 - Michelle Orow
I have long thought that despite the failed efforts of developing the old theater on Plymouth Road into a performing arts center that our area is still in dire need of performing arts space. The "Quo" - as we alums call it - is the perfect size, is in a great location, and is just quirky enough with great historical significance to warrant the fight to save the building and utilize the space as a performing arts/cultural center. I would gladly roll up my sleeves and offer my services to make this a possibility. I am the president and founder of Garden City Art aRound Town, newly formed arts council in Garden City. With our struggling economy we need strong grassroots movements to work toward creating a shift in our focuses as communities. This is just one of the situations! Let''s see what we can do!
11/28/2008 - Sarah Martin
I worked at Quo Vadis during high school and a little after - approx. 1991-1997. I spent my teen years sporting a bright yellow apron and visor. I had a number of jobs: concession (upstairs and down), ticket sales, and window painter. While working there, I met many of my friends that I still am in contact with today. It was the best place to work while a teenager. I am extremely nostalgic for the place. I recently moved back to area, and gaze at the building when I drive by and would LOVE to get inside to photograph the interior.

National Amusements did such a disservice to the community (big business, go figure) by messing this up. I remember hearing that there was a purchase stipulation on the building that it couldn''t be used as a theatre. Way to trash up Westland''s history National Amusements!

I wish that I was around when the fight to keep the building was going on.
2/7/2008 - Observer and Eccentric Newspapers
Teens lose bid to save Quo Vadis By Darrell Clem STAFF WRITER When they look at the old Quo Vadis movie theater in Westland, teenagers Don Gurka and Zachery Gizicki don't see a dilapidated old building that needs demolishing to make room for progress. They see a historic treasure they fought to preserve. They see unique architecture that theater architect Minoru Yamasaki used on a much grander scale when he designed the former World Trade Center in New York City. "It's such an awesome place, unlike any other place," said Gizicki, 15, a Westland resident and Livonia Churchill High School 10th-grader. Gizicki and Gurka, a 16-year-old Livonia resident and Churchill 11th-grader, rallied their friends and even solicited strangers to try to save the Quo Vadis after they heard that developers planned to raze the 1966 theater on Wayne Road, north of Warren, and build a $5 million fitness center in its place. They circulated petitions at school and at Westland Shopping Center, collecting more than 200 signatures from supporters. They formed the Quo Vadis Preservation Foundation and started a Web site, www.savetheqv.org, that drew thousands of hits from people near and far away. "We put our heart and soul into it," Gurka said. Nervous and feeling a little self-conscious in their sports jackets and ties, the teens went to a Westland Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night to try to convince city officials and the developers, Lake Bellaire Properties LLC, to spare the Quo Vadis. They took along another friend and Churchill student, 17-year-old Ryan Stevenson, to help them. The teens lost their battle, but they're not bitter. "They listened to us, and they were very kind to us," Gurka said. "We respect the developer, and we don't have any hard feelings." Gurka and Gizicki recall seeing movies at the six-screen Quo Vadis before it closed in 2002. They had hoped the theater could be restored and possibly used as a teen club or as a performing arts center for live bands and comedians. The teens had hoped that, at least, the front part of the theater could be restored and incorporated into the fitness center's design. But they were told Tuesday that the building was in such disrepair that it must be demolished, possibly as early as spring. Gurka and Gizicki chalked up their efforts as a learning experience. "This is our first time getting involved in anything like this," Gizicki said. "We wanted to do something in our lives - something with meaning. We wanted to show that teenagers can get out and do something to help their community." The teens plan to remain involved in community causes. Already, Gizicki has been involved in his school's environmental club, and Gurka has had some involvement in a school philosophy group. Gurka has said that anyone who has comments or questions about the theater may send him an e-mail at don@savetheqv.org. He said developers have granted a wish to give the teens one last look inside the Quo Vadis to take pictures before it is demolished. "It's the final chapter for the Quo Vadis," Gurka said, "but we want to take one last walk through."
1/25/2008 - Observer and Eccentric Newspapers
Fitness center proposed for Quo Vadis site By Darrell Clem STAFF WRITER The Quo Vadis, a once-plush movie theater shuttered since 2002, could be demolished as early as spring by developers who hope to build a $5 million fitness center on the prime real-estate site. Lake Bellaire Properties LLC has proposed a site plan to tear down the Quo Vadis and build a nearly 42,000-square-foot fitness center across Wayne Road from Westland Shopping Center. Mayor William Wild disclosed the proposal Tuesday night during a Westland City Council meeting, drawing applause from an audience that appeared as eager as city officials to see the dilapidated theater torn down. Lake Bellaire's plans will be discussed during a Westland Planning Commission meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at City Hall. The developer hopes to move on the project this year. "We're real happy about that," Westland Planning Director Bruce Thompson said. City officials hope the project, if it happens, could spur other redevelopment efforts around the mall, particularly in long-vacant, big-box stores like the former Sam's Club, Best Buy and Service Merchandise. The new center, yet unnamed publicly, would be built near the longtime Fitness USA at Wayne and Central City Parkway, providing fitness-industry competition in the city's core shopping district. "It will make a huge improvement on a key corner in a highly visible area of our city," council President James Godbout said. "I think it's a great project. I'm excited about it, and it's long overdue in making something happen on that site." The Quo Vadis opened in the mid-1960s with a futuristic look created by world-class architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed New York City's former World Trade Center. It became one of the early theaters to offer cocktails to patrons. The theater stood for many years next to the old Algiers drive-in theater, which was torn down in the 1980s and replaced by a shopping center and sprawling parking lot. Thanks to Don Gurka for the heads up on this.
1/25/2008 - donna baker
Back in 1974 my friend Becky and I worked at the State Wayne and our Boyfriends worked at the Quo Vadis- we met them many time there-visiting them in there usher uniforms! Many happy memories at that place!
11/20/2007 - Shannon Quay
Hi Don, I went on your Save the Quo Vadis website and was delighted to see that you had posted one of my photos and even gave me credit! You are welcome to use the photo. I have some others from that same photo shoot if you are interested, just e-mail me. Good luck to you - I think it''s great to see young people interested in historic architecture.

One suggestion: You might want to have an e-mail address on your site for people to e-mail you because some of us old people out there don''t use or understand MySpace . Just a thought!
11/19/2007 - Sean Fitzgerald
This is about the only cool thing in all of Wasteland. I spent several unfortunate years in that strip mall pretending to be a city, and all I can say is save the Quo, it''s all Westland''s got
11/1/2007 - Don G.
Unfortunatly, as of 1/11/07 when I emailed the realtor about a photo oportunity inside,I received information from the Realtor that the land had been contracted for redevelopment. Tis a sad sad day in Westland.
7/6/2007 - beth
I loved the Quo Vadis when I was growing up in Plymouth. I nearly always saw a movie there when my girlfriends and I would head over to Westland Mall for a day of shopping; in fact, the QV was where I snuck into my very first R rated movie - Basic Instinct. They never checked ID! I also saw Pulp Fiction for the first time in one of the upstairs theatres. I loved the feeling of going through the lobby and up the glassed in, floating staircase to the upper level, and the sunken sitting area on the ground floor that was later filled with arcade games. The building always had a glamorous, Vegas-in-its-heydey feeling, even with the wear and tear of later years, that set it apart from all the local mutiplexes. I no longer live in Michigan but on one of my last trips through the area, we stopped and parked my late beloved 1971 Dart Swinger under the marquee and collected some of blue tile ceramic tiles that are beginning to shed from the exterior surfaces of the building. I''ve seen a lot of great cinemas all over the country, but nothing like the Quo Vadis. . .
5/29/2007 - John Maclean
To Jeff Henrickson, Are you the Jeff that was the head usher in the mid 70s???? Did you own a grey Ford with black landau roof and rectangular opera windows??? When you mention the "Little Knipper" are you referring to the one short, stubby, red-headed, but always funny, usher? I forget his name. Were you there when the tall, really skinny doorman with black glasses worked there? He owned a sweet souped up black Nova and dated that tall, hot brunette cashier what''s her name? I can''t remember our manager''s name, but he was as old as dirt and used to put his flashlight down his pants and pretend you know what when we showed those stupid X-rated cartoon movies.....something "the Cat" for a short while. Just before I left the QV to attend MSU, he bought a gold touring motorcycle. People would be surprised when he parked it under the Penthouse marguee, got off, and took his helmet off and saw how old he was!! I would bet he has passed away. He really put up with a lot of stuff from us, but he could get really cranky, too. I think being around all us teenagers kept him feeling young. I remember a hot little blonde that was a cashier there and everyone drooled over her. I was pretty much the geek of the world and one day, wearing a white sport coat and purple bow tie, (oh my what was I thinking!!! YUCK!!!), I asked her out. She looked at me like I was the most retarded person in the world, turned around and started laughing hysterically. Talk about humiliation! I pretty much kept away from her the rest of the time I worked there. That night I do believe we got passes to the Algiers, grabbed a pizza from the joint on the corner of Wayne and Warren, and got a 12 pack of Michelob. Helped me forget that little blonde! Do you remember Danny who owned that great reddish/brown painted Mustang with the louvres over the rear window? That thing could haul butt! We used to go out cruising Hines Drive during the summer in that thing. It was a fast car, for sure! Oh, well. The head usher I worked with was named Jeff...for the life of me I can''t remember his last name. Just wondering if it was you. Peace be with you, John
5/22/2007 - Scott
I saw Return of the Jedi and 2 Indiana Jones movies here along with tons of others, what a classic theater. Used to go upstairs and sneak into R rated movies because they never checked the little penthouses. Those were the days.. :) It was busier at night time. You could see the marquee blinking from a long way away. Daytime it was dead in the 80s. Too bad, it will probably be demolished for a Bank or a McDonalds.
2/22/2007 - Bud
What great memories! I was just a kid when we lived in a little house on Cowan Road just around the corner from the Quo Vadis from 1968-1970. I remember seeing a couple of the Planet of the Apes movies, Bonnie and Clyde and A Man Called Flintsone there. We would go the fence at the back of our property and watch movies being shown at the Algiers. No sound, though. :)
1/19/2007 - Jeff Henrikson
I can't believe that there is a board for the old Quo Vadis! I worked as an usher for the Penthouse in the late seventies until someone on this board fired us all. We all took it in stride and picketed the place for a few weeks; made the front page of the papers. My most fond memories are the parties we used to have outside of work. We all got along so well and had a blast even when working. The only down side was working the back parking lot in the middle of winter BRRRRRR. What ever happened to the Little Knipper? Anyone around at that time would remember him. I have lived in Chicago the past 23 years so I don't have the chance to run into anyone from those days. Hope to hear from someone in the old gang; it's been a long time.
1/15/2007 - Michael Ward
Thought I would share a funny story from the Quo Vadis.... We were running a revival of some classic films....One week Ryans Daughter, another week Gone with the Wind. And then.... The Day we ran the " 7 Commandments!!!!" We were showing the Ten Commandments, upstairs in the Penthouse Theater, approximately 200 customers came for the Friday opener. I was managing the Penthouse at the time, and I was in the cocktail lounge talking with the bar tender "Ziggy" when the 200 or so customers started leaving the theater, I looked at Ziggy and said, the movie is not suppose to end for another hour. The usher came down and said the Movies over...I went to see the projectionist, and some how one whole can 3 20 minute reels were left out of the film. Our customers got seven commandments instead of Ten, and we did not get one complaint...At least they got to see the parting of the Red Sea!!!!
9/10/2006 - Fredrick George Ryan
Just a quick correction, the photo of the double doors with the caption of entrance, is incorrect. those are actually the exit doors from the downstairs theaters. And if you look very closely at the photo, you can see a dark wood door just inside the vestibule on the left. That door was originally for an elevator that was to take patrons up the the restaurant that was to have been on the second floor to the roof-garden on the third(never completed). When the Shafers couldnt find anyone to run the restaurant, they converted the space into the Penthouse theaters, which opened in the spring of 1968. The planned opening of the Penthouse was delayed by the assination for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as there was concern that there would be riots in Detroit just as had happened in other cities. BTW, the rooftop garden was always part of the orginal plan for the QV. When one of the downstairs theaters was split in the mid-80s they had to cut an exit door for the new auditorium and they had to cut through the exterior wall and part of the foundation to do it. The base of the wall is almost 6 feet thick!
8/28/2006 - Lisa Spader (Pike)
I was hired at Quo Vadis in 1982 as a candy girl for the downstairs level. My first week was the opening of "ET". I remember being so busy, not just for ET but all movies back then would bring in the crowds. Now a days there are so many theatres with so many screens and all those seats. Quo Vadis was a great place to work as a teenager. My sister Sherry worked there also but as a ticket cashier for the upstairs. The upstairs and downstairs ran seperately with 2 different managers and staff and the restaurant had all their own staff also but we all worked for Charlie Schaffer. In addition to getting a drink in the 21 club there was also a lobby bar upstairs and down. Quo Vadis was really the first theatre to serve drinks while you view a movie. Now everyone is doing it. Over time changes did come. The 21 club restaurant closed and was renovated to another auditorium and both lobby bars closed. I miss the days when we would turn off all the lights in the building after closing and play flashlight tag. It was pretty scary in there in the pitch dark. I imagine that was a game that was played years before me and some after. I still worked there when National Amusements bought the place and we became concessionist instead of candy girls! Modern times took over and changes were made to keep up with all the new competition coming to the Detroit area but the Quo couldnt keep up. She was old & tired and had all ready seen her share of teenagers coming & going. She closed her doors for good to sit back and wait and watch. She is waiting for every one to figure out that although the new & big theatres are the trend, they too will grow old and tired and will never see the same kind of fun the Quo Vadis and all her teenagers seen over the years.
6/5/2006 - Chris Hurley
Howdy. I used to visit the Quo Vadis as I was growing up, I saw lots of blockbuster movies there. The last time I visited was in 1997/1998 when the Star Wars movies were being re-released. It was getting a bit run down, but still was a nice theatre. A shame it had to close. I work now as an office manager for the Wade Shows, Inc. traveling carnival company, and for the past three Springs we have set up a carnival in the parking lot next to the Quo Vadis as a fundraiser for the Westland Firefighters. We just finished a carnival there on 7 May 2006. As of now the building still stands, the lower windows and doors are now all boarded up.
3/2/2005 - HHeidi H. Crissey
Andy Schafer was originally involved in the building of the Quo Vadis. He and my mother attended Wayne High School together back in the late 1930s. When we would have dinner and go to a movie, he always stopped by our table and chatted.
2/28/2005 - John Maclean
Just to let you know, for whoever cares, I was an usher and doorman at the QV in the 70s. My sisters, Denise and Beth worked the ticket booth. I had good friends there, but long lost over the years. I remember putting up the marquee in the middle of winter with an inch of ice up there without any railing at all!!!! I once put up a marquee for a friend of mine that blared out "JULIE MCNELLIS IS THE GREATEST" I left it up for about an hour and took pictures of it for Julie. I was able to take it down before old man Charlie caught me. I think I hold the Guiness Book of World Records for seeing the movie "American Graffiti"....we showed it for over one year........I must have ushered at least 6,000 showings of it. Little do most people know, but Ron Howard actually saw a movie at the QV that I ushered. We snuck him in thorugh the back exit door for the movie "The Lords of Flatbush" with Sylvester Stallone. He was in town for a "Happy Days" promo at Channel 7 and my sister Denise was the lucky person to chaperone him around town. He visited my parents at our house and talkied baseball, his love, with my father Neil Maclean. Needless to say, we had a huge crowd on our front lawn that day! I miss all of the candy girls that saved the stale Dots candy for me. I miss getting free passes to the Algiers and loading up on beers and hotdogs while watching the flicks. We perfected the art of flinging hotdogs at cars with our own windshield wipers! I miss sneaking up to the roof to the QV and seeing the Detroit skyline. I miss sneaking in my friends through the back doors. I miss going behind the screen and catching people smoking or "hootchy cootchying" during the movie. I even miss the goofy hat and cape we had to wear when on door. If anyone ever reads this who knows me and was there, I hope those memories come back to you too.
1/15/2004 - Cinema Treasures
This unusual 60s-era movie palace, designed by the firm of Yamasaki and Associates, was built for the Wayne Amusement Company in 1966. Its steel-and-glass boxy shape was typical Modernist architecture, but inside, as its name might imply, it carried a Roman Empire theme. The original 1200-seat auditorium opened with the Doris Day comedy "The Glass Bottom Boat". In early 1968, two tiny auditoriums opened on the second floor, which had been originally designed as a sprawling restaurant. These were called the Playhouse 1 & 2. A small restaurant and bar, called the Over 21, was also opened upstairs. An unusual feature was that while customers ate, they could wear headphones and view the movie on the screen of the nearby Algiers Drive-In through a large plate-glass window. The Quo Vadis' owners announced in 1969 plans for a third story, which would house a "rooftop-garden" theater seating over 1000 and featuring a beer garden. However, this was never actually built. In 1970, the original main auditorium was twinned, seating about 540 each. Later in the 70s, one of these 540-seat auditoriums was itself twinned. The Over 21 restaurant was closed in the early 80s and converted into yet another auditorium. In 1986, the Quo Vadis Entertainment Center, as it was by then renamed, was purchased by National Amusements, who continued to operate it as a multiplex. It closed in January of 2002, with "Harry Potter", "Ali" and "Vanilla Sky" the last movies on its marquee.
6/3/2003 - Detroit News
Nancy Bagnasco remembers the ushers handling the crowds waiting to get into the Quo Vadis movie theater. "In the winter, the ushers used to wear capes," the Westland resident recalled. Eleanor Geisler of Canton Township remembers the restaurant on the second level. "You could go in and have a very nice dinner or lunch before your movie," she said. For Sue Shannon of Livonia, variety was an attraction. "It was one of the first theaters that offered you three or four movies to choose from," Shannon said. But that was before megaplexes with stadium seating and stereo sound. National Amusements of Massachusetts, which bought the Quo Vadis in 1986, closed the theater Jan. 21. Not even the magic of Harry Potter could save it. "Declining economics," was the reason cited by Jennifer Maguire Hanson, director of corporate communications for National Amusements. But when the theater debuted in June 1996, the times were different. With a Roman motif, glass walls, electric drapes and a restaurant/cocktail lounge called th Over 21 Club, the Quo Vadis offered moviegoers an evening of entertainment on two floors. At one point, the theater featured 17 ushers, nine candy counter girls, five cashiers, three projectionists, three ticket takers, three policemen and two doormen. "In its day, it was a palace," said Michael Mihalich, president of MJR Theatres. He booked movies into the Quo Vadis until it was sold to National Amusements. The theater featured a large glass window that afforded patrons a view of the Algiers drive-in on the site. "You could sit at the bar, put the headphones on and watch the show at the drive-in," Mihalich said. Back to the future, National Amusements is marketing the Quo Vadis property. "I anticipate it would be torn down and redeveloped," said Scott Veldhuis, director of economc development for Westland. "Its proximity to Wayne Road across from the (Westland) mall is a huge plus. Its a very desirable location." The Quo Vadis is likely not the last casualty. Older theaters across the country continue to go dim. "Its whats going on," Mihalich said. "If you dont have stadium seating, digital sound and lots of screens for multiple showtimes, you wont stay open."
Quo Vadis Theatre - CARNIVAL
Quo Vadis Theatre - CARNIVAL
Quo Vadis Theatre - MARQUEE
Quo Vadis Theatre - MARQUEE
Quo Vadis Theatre - INTERIOR
Quo Vadis Theatre - POST CARD
Quo Vadis Theatre - EXIT
Quo Vadis Theatre - FOYER
Quo Vadis Theatre - FROM STREET
Quo Vadis Theatre - MARQUEE
Quo Vadis Theatre - MARQUEE
Quo Vadis Theatre - FROM STREET
Quo Vadis Theatre - SIDE
Quo Vadis Theatre - CARNIVAL
Quo Vadis Theatre - CARNIVAL
Quo Vadis Theatre - AUG 2009 FROM DON GURKA
Quo Vadis Theatre - AUG 2009 FROM DON GURKA
Quo Vadis Theatre - 1969-02-05 RENDERING
1969-02-05 RENDERING
Quo Vadis Theatre - OLD PIC FROM RON GROSS
Quo Vadis Theatre - OPENING AD

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