Varsity Theatre - Detroit MI

Address: 1721 Livernois
City: Detroit
State: MI
Zip: 48209
County: Wayne
Open: 1936
Capacity: 1496
Owner History: United Detroit Theatres
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 9210

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: Annie Bussinger

My brother, sisters and I grew up on Stoepel near Grove st. We saw many movies at the Varsity theatre. This was the 60's and seeing Batman on the big screen in 1966 really stands out in my memory. Right around 1970, the Stoepel gang were still going to the Varsity, but not for movies. It was vacant by then and we sat in the seats and talked about the movies we had seen. 13 yrs old and crying for the old Varsity. Our father grew up in the same house in the 1930's and 40's and he had fond memories of the Varsity.

Info Updates:
6/25/2013 - Loretta A
I know it didn't close in 1960. I saw Westside Story 1961. Gypsy and Splendor in the Grass there. Yeah I liked Natalie Wood lol.
12/18/2008 - GMAN
I agree with they previous poster: The Varsity was definitely open as late as '64. I saw "A Hard Day's Night" there too. Soon afterwards, they switched over to foreign films, and "art films" as they were called. The place was long gone by the late 60s. Good memories.
4/30/2007 - GaGaary Cocozzoliry Cocozzoli
The Varsity was open as of late 1964. I specifically remember seeing "A Hard Day's Night" and "Blue Hawaii" there and that would have been late 1964. It was a fairly nice second-run house and I attended the theater several times throughout my youth.
8/17/2006 - Greg Steinmayer
The Varsity was kiddy-corner from the University of Detroit at McNichols (6 Mile) & Livernois. During the time I attended U of D (1979-85) the theater, which was tightly boarded up but still had its marquee, was torn down (along with the entire block of buildings on Livernois) to make way for a new McDonalds restaurant, which we at the university greatly appreciated!
8/2/2006 - JerryD
The Varsity closed in 1960 or 61. The seats in the Varsity came from the Fisher Theatre when they remodel in the late 50s. Im not sure why the Varsity closed, lease problems, the boiler needed replacing or what ever the cause. Gil Green was the DM for UDT when it closed. Maybe it closed due to the limited parking available.
12/9/2004 - Debbi
For a time, in the 1950's and 1960's, the Varsity was one of the few 'art' movie theaters in Detroit. They showed foreign films, avant-garde films, and movies that you couldn't see anywhere else. I remember going there several times, with my parents - probably 1959 or 1960. I may have been there in 1965, to see a little independent film called 'The Incredible Goldstein' (listed as 'Goldstein' on IMDB) . . . but my memory is hazy, maybe it was at the Studio North. The chain of Studio theaters took over the 'art' theater niche in the mid-1960's.
10/22/2003 - Marshall
Dont forget the varsity theatre in Detroit, located on Livernois and McNichols near U of D. I went to many Saturday matinees there for 25 cents. Used to buy root bear barrels fro the machine. I think it finally closed sometime in the 60s.
Varsity Theatre - 1936 From Ira Gray (newer photo)
1936 From Ira Gray (newer photo) © 2024 Over 72,624,439 Served