Ramona Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 13705 Gratiot
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48205
County: Wayne
Open: 1929
Capacity: 2020
Owner History:
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 26017

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:

Source: Cinema Treasures

The Ramona, which opened in 1929, was designed by the firm of Kohner & Payne, and closely resembled the Grand Riviera (or Riviera) which was designed by John Eberson (and has since been demolished). Like the Riviera, the Ramona had a domed hexagonal lobby, and its exterior was built to resemble an Italian palazzo. It could seat over 2000 in its auditorium. Competition from the nearby Warren Cinema caused business at the aging Ramona to fall off in the late 60s and early 70s, and it was closed not long after. It was used as a venue for rock concerts for several years, before being razed in early 1978.

Info Updates:
3/28/2014 - JerryD
Nice to see your quote Leslye, Your time and dedication to the Ramona was greatly appreciated by me and many others. Marie and Mr. Lemke (Vic) both passed away in the early 70s, soon after they retired. I was transfer out of the Detroit area in 1972, I retired in 2006, after working over 44 years in the Theatre industry. The Ramona will always be my favorite. JerryD.
6/13/2013 - Leslye Kosmowski (Krause)
I worked at the Ramona Theater from 1965 thru 1970. Many fond memories as a candy girl as we were called. There I met my husband Ted he was an usher for several years 1966 thru 1969. Marie Fox and Mr Lemke were a big part of the theater. I am still married to Ted 41yrs now and we miss the theater not being there anymore.
3/15/2013 - Ken Hissong
The Ramona was owned by the United Detroit Theaters, the same company that owned WXYZ Radio in the late 20's and 30's. Since WXYZ was home to the Lone Ranger radio show, the man who played the masked man, Brace Beamer, would do appearances on stage in custume with his horse Silver. The United Detroit Theaters also owned the Michigan Theater, United Artists, State, Fisher, Riviera and Eastown theaters.
4/8/2011 - Don Miller
Great memories of the Ramona Theatre. I worked there as an usher during 1966-67 while attending Denby HS. I fondly remember working with ticket seller lady Marie Fox and Mr. Lemke, the elderly gentleman who lived in the building and worked as the closer after 8 PM (since none of us high schoolers could work pass certain evening hours. ). Yeah we ushers had to wear goofy suits and pants with red stripes and felt embarrassed when kids we knew from high school would come to the “show” and make fun of our outfits. But we had great times with the “candy” girls that worked there (there was Cindy, Claire, Patty and Carol). We were all around same age. One evening we had Mr. Lemke “buy” liquor (we were all underage) and we poured the bottle of vodka into the orange fountain drink machine that the candy girls operated. That evening we had had long lines of patrons wanting a second and third cup of the orange fountain drink were selling. One of my jobs was to change the name of the movies on the three sided front marquee. I would have to haul out large ladders and boxes of letters and climb up and done dozens of times to take down the individual letters of the closing movie and set up the letters for the new movie. One evening I put up a made up fictional movie I called “Mr. Wonderful, starring Don Miller” (my name) and left it up as the headliner movie and my name as the cast for a day. Should have taken a photo of that, but no one had yet invented a telephone that would take a picture.
3/8/2011 - Joe P.
I still remember going there as a 10 year old and looking at the amazing lobby ceiling with it's lights, I was in awe. Too bad the Ramona had to be bulldozed. I also bowled at the Ramona bowling alley.
3/3/2011 - Fic
I remember collecting pop bottles in order to get enough money for a Saturday afternoon show at the Ramona in the early 60's. Seeing yo-yo shows on the stage along with magicians before and during intermission's of movies. Seeing the Beatle's Help movie when it came out and not hearing anything due to the screaming girls. Great venue and great times as a kid growing up on the East side.
5/12/2010 - Max Zanoni
Googled Ramona Theater this morning because last night I had a vivid dream of being inside the theater that I could almost swear I had traveled through time. I grew up six blocks away from the Ramona on Fairport. One of my earliest childhood memories was seeing a movie at the Ramona. I was only three years old but remember being in awe of seeing a huge cowboy on a horse. Many years later I learned that movie was The Last Frontier.

In 1964 I saw "A Hard Day's Night" at the Ramona and agree with others who have posted that we could not hear the soundtrack because of the screaming girls in the theater. That same year my friend Tom and I tried to sneak past Ms. Fox to see Goldfinger but she turned us away for being too young.

What a shame that the neighborhood deteriorated to such a point that a treasure like the Ramona ceased to exist and that we now are forced to experience cinema in bland concrete boxes.

4/19/2010 - John Pacific
My mother worked at the Ramona worked when she was 16 lied about her age told the manager she was 18. This was in 1937, she was an Romona Userette. She is still alive and doing well. The pictures will warm her heart.
6/27/2009 - Don Dubay
I have great memories of Ramona Theatre. We enjoyed going to Ramona on Saturday Afternoons. That whole neighborhood used to be so nice. It is so sad when I return and see all of our memories gone.
4/11/2009 - Michele Grant (Smith)
I also lived on Strasburg until I got married in 1985. Just sold the family home in 2005 after my dad died. Ahh, the Ramona. I too saw the Beatles movie there. Well, you couldn't hear anything with all those girls screaming!! What a beautiful old place. I wish I was a millionaire....I would buy all of the old places. They just don't build places like the Ramona anymore.
3/27/2009 - Perzyk
Grew up on Dresden (the street were the 76 gas station was) and have good memories about going to the show. anyone remember the big chair in the lobby??
Then going to the Dairy Queen on the way home-also Bowling at Ramona Lanes
Such a longtime ago
3/10/2009 - Angelo Lema
In talking with my buddy, Terry, who worked at the Ramona too, I learned that Marie Fox had written a book that was supposedly titled; "Through My Window." This was brought up a number of years ago, by Terry's mother, Noreen who worked for the Detroit Free Press.

Has anyone ever heard anything about this book? I searched Google and Amazon, without success.
11/17/2008 - claudia
I saw my first movie that I could remember at the Ramona which was a re-release of "The Wizard of Oz" when I was around 2 yr old in 1950. It was scary to see the Wicked Witch of course, but oh so wonderful to see Dorothy in herred shoes and little Toto, to see the horse(s) of a different color, and of course the Yellow Brick Road, all in living color and on the Big Screen. I'll never forget the Ramona!
8/28/2008 - =inda
My name is Linda Boulier. I worked at the Ramona until shortly before it closed. 11/74 - 9/7. At time it was run by Lenore and Rich Scanland. Met the love of my live there and still look back on those few months with longing. We would sit up in the old, closed-down balcony and not watch the movie! When I elft there I went to work at her sister theater, the Woods in Grosse Pointe. Now tht's gone too. If I had the resources, I'd organize a reunion for everyone that every worked there.
4/4/2008 - Paul Nagel
I also grew up on Waltham just off Griener and had many wonderful Saturdays at the RAMONA...for 25 cents.

Saw the BEATLES movies there and haven't been the same since...LOL

Tried to get in to see WOODSTOCK and Mrs. Fox (we called her Foxy Lady) wouldn't let us in because we were not 18 (it was restricted).

Great memories...thanks for the site...it's very cool.

Paul Nagel.
9/14/2007 - Maciej Pachnik
I lived on Strasburg Street, several blocks from Ramona. I remember seeing my first movie there, Jaws! I remember there was a HUGE giant chair in the lobby. Anybody remember that? Also I had fun times during the demolition, sneaking in and exploring. What a beautiful place it was, even when being torn apart. It was a great place (the area) to grow up but too bad the neigborhood is crack town now.
3/29/2007 - Jeanine Grassi
My brother and I used to go to the Ramona theater almost every Saturday for the matinee's back in the 60's what a beautiful place I grew up on Greiner just a few blocks away from the theater it was a nice place to live back then,we moved when I was about 11 to Milford Mi Anyways I moved out of the state about 15 years ago and went back for a wedding last year and decided to take my husband to see where I grew up Oh My God what a (shock) to see that kind of devastation the the other writer says it looks like a war zone and it truly does Anyway when I think of the Ramona I will always remember what a Grand place she was and I'll envision the way the neighborhood looked when I lived there
5/15/2006 - JerryD
I worked at the Ramona Theatre several times in the 60s and early 70s. I always remember working the Saturday afternoon kids shows, as noted by Paul Bernard we always feature .10 sno cones and .15 cotton candy when I could coach the concession girls into making it. It was a two person job and it would get in your hair and you smelled of cotton candy all day. It was something special that no other theatre offered. Cashier, Marie Fox was the ultimate worker, she worked a total of 45 years and to my knowledge she never missed a shift. She was always smiling sitting in the boxoffice with her neatly press uniform. She knew everone in the area , people were always stopping and saying hello. When Marie retired in 1974 it seamed, like he Ramona retired with her. The major problem with the Ramona and other neighborhood city theatres was the lack of parking, when suburban theatres (Warren Cinemas & Eastland Theatres) starting appearing in the 60s it was the beginning of the end for the Ramona. The Raona surviived longer than most, due to the loyal support of the surrounding neighborhood. I will always remember the Ramona, a great and fun place to work, with the kid matinees and the occasional block buster films "Mary Poppins & Bonnie & Clyde" in thier sub-run engagements.
2/20/2006 - Jeebs
Grew up a few blocks from the Ramona. Saw JAWS there when it frist played the theaters. I was five and couldnt sleep for weeks after that!!
11/28/2005 - Paul Bernard
Great Pictures of the theater. I went to the Romonba every Saturday in the mid 60s. 25 cents to get in. 15 cents for popcorn and 10 cents for a snowcone. It was such a great building - its to bad it was torn down. And, of course I remember the ticket lady! Those seem like the good old days. I now live in California - but went back (2004) and drove through the old neighbor last year. It looks like a war zone. What a shame. In Los Angeles we seem to value the old buildings better - unless an earthquake knocks them down!
9/11/2004 - Robert Klatt
My father grew up on Waltham, near 6 Mile & Gratiot, so the Ramona was his local theatre as a child. I recall when it was torn down he went and secured salvage rights from the demo company and was able to rescue quite a lot of gilding and plaster ornamentation. I was only 5 at the time, but vividly recall my mother taking me to the site and watching my father and his friends working on ladders inside this half demolished hulk of a structure. I was excited to be able to take the marquee letters scattered about the floor and sidewalk. Today I still have several pieces of plaster including 2 very nice hexagonal panels with decorative centers, one of a woman, and one of a floral pattern, and several border pieces of Celtic looking dragons. We used to have the plaster medallions attached to the ceiling where the chandeliers hung, but they were lost in a garage fire many years ago. If anyone has images of the interior that I might be able to use to identify where the pieces I have today were located, I would be very grateful!
4/29/2004 - Greg Fitrakis
I was first trained in theatre Management at the Ramona in 1961. Returned in 1962 as relief manager. Finally in 1967 as Manager. Worked with Marie Fox who was cashier there from the theatres opening for about 45 years.
1/8/2004 - Angelo Lema
I used to work at the Ramona back in 1968-1969. It was a beutiful old building with a lot of history. If you went to the Ramona in the 50's-60's you must remember Marie Fox who was the ticket lady. She sat in the ticket booth which stuck out from the front of the theater, with a view of the entire intersection of Six Mile & Gratiot.
Ramona Theatre - Ramona Then From John Lauter
Ramona Then From John Lauter
Ramona Theatre - Ramona Interior Then From John Lauter
Ramona Interior Then From John Lauter
Ramona Theatre - Dave Nadeau With The Ramona Usherettes In The Late 1940S
Dave Nadeau With The Ramona Usherettes In The Late 1940S
Ramona Theatre - The Area Of The Ramona Now
The Area Of The Ramona Now
Ramona Theatre - Being Tore Down 1978
Being Tore Down 1978
Ramona Theatre - Old Photo
Old Photo
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