Telenews Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 1540 Woodward Ave
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48226
County: Wayne
Open: 1942
Capacity: 465
Owner History:
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 8677

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:

AKA: Plaza, Tele-Arts, Big Star, Bleu Room

From Cinema Treasures

The Telenews opened in 1942 as a newsreel theater and could seat 465. It was designed by Cyril E. Schley, who was a partner of C. Howard Crane, who designed most of the major movie houses in Detroit's Grand Circus Park, the city's downtown entertainment district. Built in the Streamline style, the main feature of the Telenews was the large glass globe above the vertical marquee, which advertised the fact this was a newsreel cinema.

The facade was decorated in bright blue and orange terra cotta, separated by bands of glass block, which made for a bold and very modern looking building for the time. In the basement, a radio station once broadcast behind large windows from behind which people could sit on benches and watch the news being read live. In the lobby, a teletype machine clicked away, giving patrons up to the minute news. Among the March of Time headlines onscreen the theater's opening day: 'Singapore Under Siege' and 'Dorothy Lamour Sells War Bonds'.

By the 60s, people could turn on the news at home, and had no need for newsreels, and the Telenews was closed. In 1969, it was renamed the Plaza Theater, and began showing foreign features. By 1971, it switched to adult fare, until closing in 1987. Reopened in 1988 as the Tele-Arts, it was now screening art and foreign features until it was shuttered in 1991.

The Tele-Arts was rented to groups on occasion during the 90s, but began to decline. (Its spectacular globe and marquees long since removed.) A good-intentioned attempt in the mid-90s to clean the terra-cotta facade resulted in its being somewhat damaged. In 2000, the theater was converted into a nightclub called The Bleu Room Experience, but it was short-lived for a short period, but has since reopened and looks like it is here to stay.

Info Updates:
4/18/2006 - Sean Fitzgerald
This place showed some interesting art films in the 80s when it was the Tel Arts art Theatre. I saw Alice there, which was a stop animation version of Alice in Wonderland (really really cool), Necromantic, which was a german horror/erotic film, and I think a really cool movie about two American indians that go on a quest across the plains from a reservation in a 1965 Oldsmobile F85, (I remember cause my mom had one). The owner tried hard, by that time it smelled like a mildewed basement, but it was a cool little spot in an otherwise ridiculously then bleak downtown.
4/6/2006 - Tom Seller
During the war years Harry Heilmann, the famous Detroit Tiger, could often be seen in the theaters broadcast booth, visible from Woodward Avenue, creating a tickertape version of the current Tigers away game. Occasionally, hed glance at the crowd observing him and wave and smile.
1/10/2004 - Box Office Magazine
March 1959 Issue - Outshocking such commercial shockers as "The Screaming Skull" and other first run horrors at the downtown houses is the true life epic at the Telenews, "Among the Headhunters" showing in color how human heads are shrunk the size of baseballs.
Telenews Theatre - From American Classic Images
From American Classic Images
Telenews Theatre - From American Classic Images
From American Classic Images
Telenews Theatre - As The Plaza From John Lauter
As The Plaza From John Lauter
Telenews Theatre - Old Photo
Old Photo
Telenews Theatre - Recent Photo
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