Mercury Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 16860 Schaefer Hwy
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48235
County: Wayne
Open: 1941
Capacity: 2000
Owner History:
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 26802

Please note that location entries may feature older photos or post card views that may not represent the current appearance, features, addresses, phone numbers, or contact names of the attraction. This site is intended to be a historical as well as current record of various attractions but it is not always possible to have up-to-date information due to the vast number of locations featured here. We ask you consult the propietor for current information.

General Information:

From Cinema Treasures

When the Mercury Theatre opened June 11, 1941 with Barbara Stanwyck in “The Lady Eve” & Wallace Beery in “The Bad Man”. This Streamline Moderne-style theatre was designed by Ted Rogvoy, who later designed the suburban State-Wayne Theatre and Terrace Theatre.

The Mercury Theatre’s lobby had brass plaques on its walls with autographs of Hollywood stars etched in them. Both the lobby and the auditorium contained modernist murals with astronomical and astrological themes.

The Mercury Theater was the first theatre outside downtown Detroit to show 70mm, with "Porgy and Bess" in 1959. It was also one of the first non-downtown houses to screen first-run films.

In 1985, the large auditorium was twinned into a set of 600-seat auditoriums. The theatre’s original Streamline Moderne décor was left relatively intact, however. (The old 70mm equipment was removed around this time).

It was renamed the Metro Mercury I & II, and began screening second-run features.

Sadly, the Mercury Theatre was demolished in 1997.

Info Updates:
5/2/2016 - Chris Ott
My grandfather was one of the painters of the murals. He was from Sweden and came came to America in the 1920s. He and another person painted them. Nobody believes this but it is absolutely true.
1/3/2016 - Tina
Owner's name was: Robert Sloan Mercury closed: October, 1993.
11/29/2014 - Louise Rizzo
The Mercury Theatre was the most amazing place to go as a child. The murals of the chariots were breath taking. We lived off of six mile east of six mile and my mother would get the baby buggy out and all six of us would walk all the way the with the promise of a wonderful day at the movies then across the street to the dairy queen for a five cent cone and next store to the dairy queen my fathers jewelry store. If we were really good we would go either Ann's restaurant or Saunders stop at Federals for shopping then the long walk home. those were the days My father and uncle owned the dairy queen, Rizzo Jewelers and Ann's Restaurant. On the Fourth of July the best please to be would be at Precious Blood for the fireworks. I miss those days and wish our children and grandchildren could feel these experiences just once. Boy am I dated myself.
4/23/2011 - Duane Lamers
Interesting about the Redford Theater is that it purchased the 70mm projectors and special Ultra Panavision lenses when the Summit Cinerama Theater downtown was closed. During the Summit's brief time as a cinema Detroit was the only city that had two Cinerama installations, although the Summit did not have capability for showing the original three-strip Cinerama process and even the Music Hall had closed down to one 70mm projection booth, Baker, by the time the Summit opened. I've not been back to the Redford in years, but the last time I was there I was told that many of the widescreen classics from the 1950's were no longer available because of deterioration in the color.
3/22/2011 - RT Smith
I lived in North Rosedale park near 6 Mile Rd and Southfield. My buddies and I would bicycle up to the Mercury theater almost every summer Saturday. It was the early fifties, so probably a lot of Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes. I remember being spellbound by the neat murals. It gave the theater a surreal feeling. We would troll the aisles looking for girls to sit by and maybe be able to hold hands or put our arms over their shoulders. A real coming of age experience. I'm sorry to see that the old place has been demolished, but time marches on.
4/11/2008 - Marshall
The mercury was operated by Suburban Detroit Theaters, which also operated the Northland, The Town Center, and several others. The murals were fantastic. It's too bad they could not have somehow been preserved.
2/26/2007 - John Stevenson
I grew up about a block and a half from the Mercury theater and was able to go almost every weekend. Saturday morning I'd finish my chores, collect my $.50 cents allowance, and walk to the show...It cost 25 cents to get in, and my other 25 cents would buy popcorn and a drink and maybe even a candy bar...It was always very special....I remember when "Porgy and Bess" premiered there... They had search lights going every night, and everyone was a buzz of the big movie stars that would come there....Every once in a while, I used to talk the ticket gal (the one who tore them in half) into giving me free tickets...that was really something, because then I could bring some of my friends and feel just like a big shot..This is such a great web site for all of us who grew up in Detroit back in the Good old Days!!!
2/14/2007 - Rob Morrow
Unfortunately I only had one visit to the Mercury Theatre. I lived in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and did not have a car so it meant I had to travel across the border by bus and then catch a DSR (Detroit Street Railway at that time) bus in Detroit and transfer a couple times to reach the theatre. This was a long journey to see a movie. I had heard about the magnificent murals and the really big curved movie screen and the fantastic stereo sound system and I wanted to experience it for myself. So on June 9th, 1967 I undertook the journey to have my one and only visit to the Mercury. I reserved my seat at a cost of $2.25 US for the showing of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for 8pm on Friday evening. I remember how excited I was as I entered the doors in the lobby. And believe me I was not disappointed. The murals were exquisite, the lobby was grand and the actual theatre was magnificent. I recall the lights being lowered and the curtains opening to reveal the largest screen I think I can remember seeing. And yes, it was curved. Not to the extent the Cinerama screen was but still quite curved. And then the movie began. It was an experience that was everything I had hoped for. I only wish the theatre was not so far away as I would have become a regular patron. Such as I was with the United Artists, the Michigan, the Madison, the Fox, The Music Hall Cinerama, the Summit Cinerama, the Grand Circus, the Adams and the Palms. All of which I have many fond memories, ticket stubs and movie programs that I can share. Detroit theatres are a part of my history as a young person.
4/17/2006 - Gary R. Cocozzoli
It should also be noted that the Mercurys auditorium wallls were completely covered with Art Deco visions of views of the universe that literally "glowed in the dark" with black-light illumination. This provided a positively stunning moviegoing experience where the walls were sometimes more interesting than the film. Another unusual feature was the push-back seats, allowing patrons to move into the row without requiring those already seated to rise. Later, these seats became common at General Cinemas 1960s-built theaters in the Detroit area. After the reserved-seats Porgy and Bess, for which the Mercury was renovated and a huge curved screen was installed, the theater left behind its neighborhood second-run status and began to show first-run films exclusively. The prestigious films of the day played the Mercury first. No longer would the downtown theaters be the only first-run venues in town. Without a doubt, the Mercury was the most unusual theater in the Detroit area and many would say it was the most beautiful.
12/19/2003 - Box Office Magazine
September 1959 - Hy Bloom of the Mercury Theatre used to be drummer with the Chord of Judea Symphony orchestra, which played a series of concerts at Belle Isle Music Shell in the 1932 depression days, the News recalled in a feature article.
Mercury Theatre - Old Photo From Wayne State
Old Photo From Wayne State
Mercury Theatre - From Wayne State Library
From Wayne State Library
Mercury Theatre - From American Classic Images
From American Classic Images
Mercury Theatre - Old Photo
Old Photo
Mercury Theatre - Old Interior Shot
Old Interior Shot
Mercury Theatre - Murals From Irene Suess
Murals From Irene Suess
Mercury Theatre - Murals From Irene Suess
Murals From Irene Suess
Mercury Theatre - Murals From Irene Suess
Murals From Irene Suess
Mercury Theatre - Murals From Irene Suess
Murals From Irene Suess
Mercury Theatre - The Area Now
The Area Now
Mercury Theatre - From Robert Morrow
From Robert Morrow
Mercury Theatre - From Robert Morrow
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