Hollywood Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 4809 W Fort St
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48209
County: Wayne
Open: 1927
Capacity: 3436
Owner History: Detroit Theatre Enterprises
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 17520

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General Information:

Source: Cinema Treasures

When it opened in 1927, the Hollywood was Detroit's second-largest theater seating well over 3400 patrons. It was built for the Cohen Brothers at a cost of over $2 million and was situated nearly a mile west of the long-established downtown entertainment district, Grand Circus Park. The architect, Charles N. Agree, designed this huge theater in the Spanish Renaissance style complete with a large balcony, stage, and orchestra pit, as well as a Barton organ. Its lobby was 60 feet tall, and the entire interior was full of multi-colored marble, gilded plasterwork, and valuable artwork.

Its facade, with twin minaret-looking towers, soared over Fort Street, and it originally had a large vertical marquee. Its standard original marquee was intricately decorated with a rainbow colored neon-lit swirling pattern. The Hollywood opened with the picture "Alias the Deacon", and for its first few years of operation, featured the Hollywood-Sunnybrook Orchestra, led by Sammy Diebert.

Due to its somewhat out of the way location, as well as its never jumping on the widescreen boom of the Fifties, the Hollywood really never was very popular. It turned to a double-feature program in the 40s and 50s, in order to stay afloat, but this still made little difference. Its last two films were "The Flesh is Weak" and "Blonde Bondage" in 1958. Sadly, this largely forgotten treasure was razed in 1963 to make way for a parking lot.

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Info Updates:
2/7/2005 - Unknown
This magnificent theater featured a room in the back of the theater with darkened glass (to prevent seeing in) where mothers could take children who had become unruly or loud or just bored with the screen fare. The room was sound proof so the kids could cry and make all the noise they wanted without disturbing the other patrons. It was also used by nursing mothers who didn't want to miss the show, or display their activities.
12/9/2004 - John Lauter
The Hollywood was a fantastic theatre built in the wrong part of town. The developers (Ben & Lou Cohen) obviously were trying to escape high land costs in the central downtown area (where all the people and theatres are!) and instead built west of downtown in a highly industrial area. The business there never was what they had hoped, and the Hollywood limped along until the late 50s. Its Barton organ was thought by the 20s organists to be the second best theatre organ in Detroit, behind the Wurlitzer in the Broadway-Capitol. It is one of three of the largest "stock model" Bartons. Detroit theatre organ enthusiast Roger Mumbrue played the Hollywood Barton many times over a 4 year period, and attests to its quality. The Late Henry Przybylski purchased the organ in a sealed bid auction (for $3551.51--a strategic sum) before the theatre was demolished. It sat in storage in his basement, attic and garage for decades before being purchased from his widow. It is now owned by a private individual who wants to restore it and install it into a public venue. Henry took an amazing set of slides of the demolition of the Hollywood. I have seen his narrated show twice, and almost feel as though I have been there. The demolition was so problem ridden that it drove the first two contractors broke.
12/19/2003 - Box Office Magazine
April 1959 - Elliot Cohen has joined the optimists who believe the recession is receding. He reopened the the long-shut Hollywood Theatre in southwest Detroit.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
July 1959 - Detroit Theatre Enterprises, headed by Elliot Cohenm has closed the Hollywood.
Hollywood Theatre - Old Photo
Old Photo
Hollywood Theatre - Old Photo
Old Photo
Hollywood Theatre - Old Ad
Old Ad
Hollywood Theatre - Old Ad From John Lauter
Old Ad From John Lauter
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