Oakdale Theatre - Hazel Park MI

Address: 877 8 Mile Rd
City: Hazel Park
State: MI
Zip: 48030
County: Oakland
Owner History:
Theater Type: Neighborhood House
Number of visits to this page: 16791

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:

I am using the address of the building that is on the NW corner of 8 Mile and I-75, as that is pretty much the exact spot the old theater building stood.

Source: Tom Cooley

Located on the northwest corner of 8 mile and Stephenson Hwy/Oakland Ave in Hazel Park, next to Oak gas station on the corner. There was also a dance hall located upstairs next to Dr office next to theater. I would go to Oakdale every weekend, saw all the classic creature features from the fifties there (too many to name). A couple of my cousins, lived on Oakland and Winchester (first block south of 8 mile) used to work there also. Have many many memories of that theater.

Source: Andy Gray

My uncle's list of Johnson Construction Company theater jobs indicates two projects associated with this theater. One job was simply identified as "original" and the second job was completed in 1947. My grandad Al Johnson left behind just one Kodachrome slide with a street view of the theater taken in December 1949.

It's a great time capsule view of suburban Detroit life during that era. The theater features three pairs of classic red "Johnson doors," an ornate marquee and a prominent vertical "Oakdale" sign. To the left of the theater are a "Hall for Rent" and a Five-and-Dime store. Across the side street to the right is a drug store and a gas station. The slide also shows several old cars and trucks.

Source: Andy Gray - July 2022

This B&W image, with “Hazel Park” written on the back in Al Johnson’s handwriting, shows is an earlier image of Oakdale Theatre than the two 1948 Kodachrome slides that I submitted earlier. This photo shows the theater with two films released in 1937: “Heidi” starring Shirley Temple, and “Sophie Lange Goes West.” The vertical Oakdale sign and six art moderne front doors are the same as in the 1948 images, however the marquee is of an older design compared to the streamlined marquee in the 1948 images.

Al Johnson Jr.’s list of Johnson Construction Co. theater and drive-in projects listed two Oakdale Theatre jobs: an “original” and a “1947” project. The release date of the two films in this earlier photo leads me to conclude that the “original” project that Johnson Construction Co. completed was done in or just before 1937.

One more thing: to the left of the theater in the 1937 image is what looks like a sign for an “Oakdale Inn,” which is missing from Al’s later images.

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Info Updates:
1/3/2012 - Carl Dahlke
In the early 40's it took 11 cents for us kids. I missed a saturday and it went up to 14 cents when I went back. Thats inflation for you. Locations are confusing. It was at 8 mile and Stevenson which becomes oakland when you cross 8 mile. both of which became I-75 sometime in the 60's I lived on George st from 1935 to 1955. A great show. I remember a group of high school band members playing on the sidewalk the day the war was over. It was a great day.
1/25/2011 - Al
Great seeing that photo. We lived on Muir St directly behind the theatre and across from the parking lot. Our family moved there in 52 and stayed until roughly 77. Me and my friends spent many a day either at the theatre or playing ball or flying kites in their giant parking lot. The Oakdale property was a big part my life growing up.
5/9/2009 - John
Nice to see this on the internet, but it stated it costed .25 cents to get in but it really only cost .15 cents if you were 12 or under and .50 cents if you were over 12 years of age. I know because my mother sent me and my brothers there almost every Saturday.......what a deal! Also it was on the corner of 8 mile and what is now I-75
6/12/2006 - Gene Whisnant

This picture of the theatre brings back a lot of memories. My family moved to this area in 1950, from Arkansas. I would go to the theatre twice a week with my brother every time the movies changed. the tickets cost $.15 for kids, & $.50 ea for adults.

In 1959 we moved to the house right next to the theatre parking lot & I would help change the marquee with my friend Harold Borden. I started working there as a doorman, & also cleaned the theatre after school. The doormans job paid around $.35 a hour.

It got to be a rough theatre with the poolhall just across stephenson hwy. the Detroit gangs hang out over there, but we never thought much about it at the time. The Saturday, & Sunday matinees would be packed with Over 800 kids when a Elvis, or Scary Frankenstein movie was showing.

Oakdale Theatre - Courtesy Al Johnson
Courtesy Al Johnson
Oakdale Theatre - Courtesy Al Johnson
Courtesy Al Johnson
Oakdale Theatre - From Al Johnson
From Al Johnson
Oakdale Theatre - Oakdale Theatre Hazel Park Mi 1937 As Johnson Photo
Oakdale Theatre Hazel Park Mi 1937 As Johnson Photo
Oakdale Theatre - Vintage Shot
Vintage Shot
Oakdale Theatre - 1957 Aerial Photo
1957 Aerial Photo
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