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Source: Cinema Treasures
Opened in 1917 inside the former Fine Arts Building, the Adams was designed, like so many other Detroit theaters, by C. Howard Crane for the Kunsky circuit. It was a vaudeville house for a short time, but by 1918, was screening silent films. Kunsky had Vitaphone installed in 1927 and the Adams silent days were over. By the 30s, it was run by the Chicago-based Balaban & Katz chain, and received a remodeling in 1935.
The Adams was one of the earliest Detroit houses equipped for CinemaScope -- installed for the 1953 feature The Knights of the Round Table. Five years later, MGM Camera65 was installed. Balaban & Katz sold the Adams to Community Theatres in 1963, and it received a modernization at that time. In the late 60s and early 70s, the Adams started to screen exploitation and adult films.
In 1988, hoping to bring new life to the aging theater, it was triplexed. However, outside forces would doom that strategy. In that same year, tragedy struck twice at the Adams. First, a man was murdered in one of the auditoriums, and later that year, two teenagers were wounded during a shootout before a movie in front of the theater. The Adams was shuttered in November of 1988, with Halloween 4 and Messenger of Death being the last films on its marquee.
In 1999, the dangerously decrepit marquee was removed, leaving the vacant Fine Arts Building looking like any number of aging early 20th Century office buildings on Grand Circus Park, Detroit's one-time entertainment district.