Family Theatre - Grand Rapids MI

Address: 345 Michigan St NE
City: Grand Rapids
State: MI
Zip: 49503
County: Kent
Owner History: William Heidman Jr.
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 5836

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General Information:

Source: Box Office Magazine

1959 - GRAND RAPiDS -The friendly little neighborhood movie house where Mom and Dad got their first set of dishes, one at a time, gave up too soon, believes William Heldman jr., former manager of a theatre in a larger shopping center here who recently reopened the New Family Theatre in a northeast Michigan avenue section. Heldman feels that the demise of neighborhood theatres, packed with teenagers and courting couples on date nights, and young "cowboys and indians" at kiddy matlnees - came to soon. Some of hls friends scoff, reports a writer in the Grand Rapids Herald.

But Heldman, a father of three children, refuses to listen. Recently he opened up the New Family. He plans to book movies that families will want to attend en masse, films that parents would choose for their children and might enjoy seeing themselves. "I think there's plenty of need for the kind of movie house that parents can send their children to, confident that it's good clean entertainment," Heldman said. Heldman's planning includes special considerations for a "family theatre." "Parents want to be able to drop off their children at Saturday and Sunday matinees and know there is someone in charge who cares enough to check rowdyism and to deal with the problems that come up at children's shows - a child taken sick or separated from an older brother or sister, for example," he said. Heldman renovated the theatre extensively to provide a cheerful, comfortable family atmosphere. His wife Louanne is in charge of the concession stand. Heldman is at the theatre during all opening hours - Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evenings.

Source: Jim Fahlstedt

This neighborhood theater was a sub-run which was in the Boshoven-Busik chain for most of its existence. It was built by Howard Reynolds, who was responsible for the photographic sound track on the film, rather than records that had to be synched with the film. It was closed and, as stated in another post, Bill Heidman tried to reopen it.

Now I knew Bill and understand perfectly well that he was well-intentioned, but his timing was terrible. He pretty much went broke. In the early 60s, Earl Smith, leased the theater to run art films. I worked for him. When we had something fairly racy, folks would flock to the door. Most of the time, we starved, no matter how good the flicks. Earl gave up and started running nudist camp epics. This led to harder and harder adult films. Eventually, he decided he could make as much money in a smaller venue and closed the doors and opened the Cina-Mini I.

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Info Updates:
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
June 1959 - Bill Clark is booking for William Heldman Jr.'s Family at Grand Rapids, which did not close, by the way.
Family Theatre - Family Threatre Doug Taylor Collection
Family Threatre Doug Taylor Collection
Family Theatre - Family Theatre Interior Doug Taylor Collection
Family Theatre Interior Doug Taylor Collection
Family Theatre - Family Theatre Newspaper Story
Family Theatre Newspaper Story
Family Theatre - Family Theatre Newspaper Story 2
Family Theatre Newspaper Story 2
Family Theatre - Box Office Magazine June 1959
Box Office Magazine June 1959 © 2024 Over 73,688,294 Served