Carmen Theatre

Address: 5670 Schaefer at Ford
City: Dearborn
State: MI
County: Wayne
Open: 41
Capacity: 1490
Owner History:
Number of visits to this page: 8515
Info Updates:
7/14/2014 - Stuart l. Gorelick
My family built and owned the Carmen theatre. The theatre was sold to the Nederlander family aprox 1960. I would love to find a picture of the theatre from the 1940s when it was a beautiful, elegant movie theatre. Please contact me at my eMail address, or if you have any questions or comments, photograph please contact me. Thank you Stuart.
7/3/2014 - Gary Guerriero
I went to many (free) movies at the Carmen as my grandfather, Carroll Floyd Kemp, was the projectionist there for many years. I don’t know exactly which years but if I were to guess it would probably be somewhere between 1946 and, perhaps 1955. I visited him many times in the projection booth and grew to be fascinated by all the mechanical gear he operated and also began my love for film which I still pursue today. As I was quite young at the time I don’t remember very many of the films that I saw at the Carmen but one stands out in particular - the original Mighty Joe Young from 1949. One of my younger uncles took me to the film, I must’ve been not much more than six or seven years old and was so scared that I spent most of the time under my seat. In reference to the rotunda area of the lobby, I remember vividly, a gigantic circular soda fountain filling that space at the top of the curved staircase and I was very impressed by it’s size and beauty. It was one of my grandfather’s favorite features of the theater and he usually ordered a milkshake every night from there. Apparently the popularity of the soda fountain declined over the years and it closed and eventually that area of the lobby was closed off as well. When my grandfather left the Carmen, he became the projectionist at the Dearborn Drive-In where he finished out his career.
6/22/2014 - Ted Cuda
Hi Gary, I remember the Alden, but I don't remember the Mercury. The only Mercury on Schaefer that I remember, was the bowling lanes, which may still be there.
6/4/2013 - Gary Voelkrr
Hi Sharon. I went to this show as a kid that tells you how old I am. Ask your parents about the Alden on Ford Road and the Mercury also on Schaffer like the Midway. I can also remember when all MLB game were played during the day. Pretty old hey.
5/5/2013 - Sharon Smigelski Williams
My parents went to movies at the Carmen in the early 50s, before they were married. My parents especially liked seeing movies there because there were 'dating seats', 2 seats together that had no armrest between them. Does anyone else remember this? I wasn't lucky enough to have seen a movie there before it closed.
1/19/2008 - Helen Ianni Morgan
I wrote a paper for a college humanities course (Wayne State U) on ''The Godfather'' that I saw at the Carmen. The first movie I clearly remember is ''Pal Joey'' when Frank Sinatra and the kid sing ''High Hopes''.

Anybody know if the Carmen used to show ''art films'', maybe Mondays & Tuesdays? I''m seeing the ticket guy telling my father I''m not a baby anymore, my father telling him he''ll cover my eyes, and the ticket guy saying he just won''t let me in. I think it was like ''condemned'' Mae West films, because I do remember seeing her put her head in the lion''s mouth, and I don''t know when else I would have seen that. Although that was a common film scene back then (!), I distinctly recalled parts of her costume and other things. This would have been 1955+ (age 3).
7/10/2007 - Ron Marinucci
The City of Dearborn held Christmas parties for school kids at theaters like the Carmen and Calvin and the Circle, too, I believe. Kids could get in for free, see a movie, and get a candy bar (Baby Ruth!). What a deal!
2/7/2005 - Dennis Early
On august 15, 1975 my wife and I were married and then had our wedding reception in the tower of the Carmen Theater. We had 150 guests and a band that played on the roomy stage. The room was circular and had the walls covered in red velvet drapes. Pretty classy for its time. It also had a long wooden bar and nice dance floor. The main stairway was curved and widened as you descended to the entry on the north side of the building. I dont know how long they were renting this space out but it was very well managed. One thing I thought was a bit odd is that there were no visible windows in the hall.
5/23/2004 - Ted Cuda
I grew up several blocks from the Carmen and my family owned a business just north of the Carmen at 6063 Schaefer. Oscar Gorelick ( the one time owner) and my Dad were friends. I recall Oscar telling me that his father had built the theater. To my knowledge, the site was never a Speak Easy. The building was built in 1941 well after prohibition. Prior to that, the land according to my mother, who was around at the time, was vacant. At one point in the late 50s or early 60s, there was consideration to opening a private club up in the rotunda of the building but the plans were scratched because the state would not issue a liquor licence due to the close proximity to Fordson High School. Some think that the rotunda shaped design was to resemble the Ford Rotunda that was several miles south of the Carmen on Schaefer Road. The building was torn down in the mid to late 90s to make way for a medical building. I have a brick from the Carmen Theater for old times sake.
1/14/2004 - Suzanne T
Above the Carmen theater is a large space that was once used as "speak-easy' during the 1920's. I found this out in 1987 when I interviewed for a position in a large mental health clinic that was occupying this space at the time. It was complete with a back-door and stair-case.
1/12/2004 - Fredrick George Ryan
Theater has been torn down and the site is now home to a medical office center.
1/10/2004 - Cinema Treasures
Opening shortly after the larger Dearborn Theatre, in early 1941, the Carmen was another Art Moderne movie house with an unusual gear-like dome over its lobby, rising three stories high. The theater's name was spelled out in large, illuminated letters on the roof. The Carmen sat about 1490, and operated as a movie house through the 80s. It is currently used as an auto parts store.
1/10/2004 - Box Office Magazine
March 1959 Issue - The Louis J. Mitchell Theatre Service is booking and buying for the Waterford Drive-In, Drayton Plains, and the local Carmen, according to D. A. Ritter, former president of Cooperative Theatres, now with Mitchell. The Waterford Theatre was handled by Wayne Smith, the Carmen was sold recently by Oscar Gorelick to the Nederlander family, which owns the Shubert and Riviera theatres.
WAS CONVERTED TO AUTO PARTS STORE © 2021 Over 54,375,138 Served