Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Old dirty movie houses Previous Next
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Dialh4hipster
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Post Number: 1964
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 2:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anyone remember the old dirty movie theaters that used to dot the CBD?

What are your memories of them? What were they like?
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Jt1
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Post Number: 8577
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 2:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I enjoyed them a lot.

Sincerely,
Pee Wee Herman
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 813
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 2:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't recall the ones in CBD, perhaps I'm too young? However I do remember the PussyCat, on US 24 south of McNichols, the Irving in Brightmoor, and the Melody in Inkster. When I turned 18 I saw it as a rite of passage to attend a movie at the PussyCat. It was gross, how I made it outta there without getting gang raped I'll never know.
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Ravine
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Post Number: 802
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Help out the dope. What does CBD stand for? There was the Capri (Gratiot by 9 Mile,) the Guild (Gratiot by 6, or 7, Mile,) the Stage (Gratiot around 10 Mile.) (Yours Truly used to hitch-hike up Gratiot a lot.) I was in the Stage, once, because "Deep Throat" was the Big Deal, at the time, and I was curious about it. The Stage had a double-billing of it with "The Devil In (&?) Miss Jones" for what seemed like forever. It was very, very small, more like a screening room than a real theater. The crowd was young, maybe about college-age or slightly older than that, lots of couples. (Probably the fellas trying to give their girlfriends the idea.) The Capri was, clearly, a real theater, and probably was once home to more mainstream screenings. It seemed like mostly a bunch of older guys (you know, the "raincoat" crowd) going in and out of there. We're talking early seventies, here; I don't know how long they lasted, because I moved to the WSU area around 1975, and was no longer hitching up Gratiot.
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Cushkid
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Post Number: 70
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Central Business District
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 131
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

CBD=Central Business District.
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Douglasm
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Post Number: 789
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Cambrian....
....I believe both the Stone and the Empress ended up as dirty movie houses near the end of their respective runs, didn't they?
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Spacemonkey
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Post Number: 174
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

CBD=Colorless Butt Deadly
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Ravine
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Post Number: 804
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow!! That's right; I remember the little ads, in the Free Press' Amusement section, for the Stone "Burlesk." They sometimes mentioned someone named Yakum Yakum. I guess I remember because it's a funny name. Maybe a stripper, but probably a comedian.
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Michmeister
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Post Number: 141
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We all went to a theater on the southwest side, don`t remember the name of it but I`ll never forget the name of the movie, "On White Satin". We then graduated to a strip joint in Windsor, called "The Beanery"-Nude but not Rude! OHHH-OHHH, growing up! It seems so silly now, but then it seemed to hold some kind of importance. Wouldn`t trade the times for anything in the world.
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Ravine
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Post Number: 805
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 3:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

And thanks for the CBD explanation. I don't always keep up with all these initializations that are so popular on the "internets."
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Detroit_girl
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Username: Detroit_girl

Post Number: 81
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The sign from the Burlesk is featured on some goth band's album cover/art. I think it was the Sisters of Mercy or one of their contemporaries(maybe Lords of the New Church?) Pretty cool.
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Detroitnerd
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Post Number: 779
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was a theater on Michigan in Inkster, I think. I don't recall the glory days of downtown's blue theaters, though.
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56packman
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Post Number: 1137
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Gem used to run porno in the early 70's, the Follies burned down while running porno, the ubiquitous
"Deep" and "Devil" double feature.
There was the Studio North (now the Magic Bag) and the Studio 8 in the Green-8 shopping plaza.

she got a little too hot



put it out!
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Beavis1981
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Username: Beavis1981

Post Number: 370
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why would anyone go to these? Even strip clubs creep me out! And what perv would have a fond memory of rubbing one out? I also don't understand the rite of passage thing. I am going to save strip clubs, nudie booths, and hookers for when I am old and disgusting or just somehow become completly socially inept.
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Cambrian
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Post Number: 820
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That must be why the Yankees are my favorite baseball team.
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Beavis1981
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Post Number: 372
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"whats your favorite little rascal? alfalfa or SPANKY?"
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 821
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The funniest reference to self gratification I've ever heard was on one of TerryH's threads somebody accused him of "sitting around and roughing up the suspect"
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Beavis1981
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Post Number: 374
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

put the lotion in motion? flogging the dolphin has to be one of my favorites!
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 822
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Slappin' around the bald headed dummy"
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Beadgrl
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Username: Beadgrl

Post Number: 121
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oiling the penny whistle?

After hearing about what people do in those theatres and booths...i lost all interest in visiting them. Just rent your porn and watch it in the privacy of your own home.
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Beavis1981
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Username: Beavis1981

Post Number: 378
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

^Exactly! Or just contact your satellite provider!
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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1966
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well that was the interesting thing about it, wasn't it? There was no internet or dvd or vhs or cable tv back then.

Wasn't the theater that is now Bleu or whatever nightclub on Woodward once known for showing blue movies as well? The Fine Arts theater in a previous incarnation was one as well, right? And the National Theater?

Man, all those smaller old moviehouses seemed to be porno theaters back in the day. It was our own Times Square.

It just seemed with all the reminiscence threads going on, we might as well create a permanent record of this as well.


(Message edited by dialh4hipster on March 19, 2007)
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Beadgrl
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Username: Beadgrl

Post Number: 122
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 4:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heh..."art" theatres! Wink Wink, nudge nudge.

Some people (ala Bob Crane) had 8mm cameras and projectors in their homes.

I've heard a few stories from a friend of mine (a former DP officer in the 70's) about raids they would do on some of the "art" theatres. Talk about getting caught with your pants down!
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 823
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I remember a friend from the old days would play porno flicks in his garage while he wrenched on cars, why I don't know. But it would be humorous to see what excuses guys that were there would come up with for having to leave suddenly. "Uh-uh I gotta get up early tomorrow", or "I forgot, mom needs me to pick up something at the store, gotta go"
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Skipp
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Post Number: 119
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Knuckle Children!! Ha, thats funny to me.
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Beavis1981
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Username: Beavis1981

Post Number: 380
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

something suddendly popped up! gotta go
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Dougw
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Post Number: 1619
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Itsjeff had that great picture of the Follies theater in the CBD, with the "Deep Throat" marquee, the full Monroe block facade, the giant whiskey billboard, and the girls walking by in 70's miniskirts. He posted it a few times, but I'm not able to locate it in the archives. (same theater as in 56packman's post)
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Ookpik
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Username: Ookpik

Post Number: 144
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I remember the Capri very well. While I "may" have been in there once or twice, the real action for me was across the street. That is where the thrift store was located. I still have stuff I bought from that store over 30 years ago.
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Terryh
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Post Number: 231
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 5:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You can have anyone you want when you self gratify. The Wood-Six in Highland Park was always a kick because the strippers would do a routine on the stage and do lap dances in the dark theatre, where if the tip was right you would walk out feeling relieved. Part of the thrill was is anyone I know going to see me coming and going from this place. The sleaze factor made it all the more exciting. One of the strippers asked me "what are you doing in here"?" You don't seem like the type that would come here"
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Formerspringgardener
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Username: Formerspringgardener

Post Number: 33
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 6:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ravine - The Guild was just south of Houston-Whittier on Gratiot.

Across the street from Burke Pontiac...
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Ro_resident
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Post Number: 211
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 6:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sorry for a bit of a diversion...

In the Supreme Court decision [Coleman] Young vs American Mini Theaters (http://www.law.cornell.edu/sup ct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0427 _0050_ZS.html), Detroit's ordinance regulated "taxi dance halls".

Anyone know anything about famous/infamous taxi dance halls in or about the city? Doing some googling, it seems that they were already out of favor when the city had adopted the ordinance in the early '60s.
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Dougw
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Post Number: 1620
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 6:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Time to start an "Old taxi dance halls" thread.
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Jimaz
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Post Number: 1734
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 6:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Why would anyone go to these?

Younger folks might understandably puzzle about nostalgia over such things. The shock value of films like Deep Throat is obvious today but that wasn't the only attraction. What attracted people was that the film had "gone main stream." It wasn't unusual for even one's (gasp) parents to go see such things (gasp) together!

At that time there was a constant cultural celebration going on, a giddy exuberance over new freedoms to be enjoyed after overturning repressive Victorian attitudes of earlier decades. It was all about liberation.

I guess it was AIDS that put the brakes on that party. It's a shame. Good times.
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Irish_mafia
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Username: Irish_mafia

Post Number: 793
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 6:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wasn't there a place called the Sassy Cat on Woodward?

Did that get torn down or turn into something else?
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Beavis1981
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Username: Beavis1981

Post Number: 382
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 7:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

jimaz- The picture you painted makes sense. Couples celebrating new found sexual freedom. The picture in my head was probably the later days of these establishments- The trenchcoat/raincoat crowd/pedosmile crowd. I don't think many people would get nostalgic over the latter.
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Jimaz
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Post Number: 1735
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 8:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Beavis1981, glad to help. Sex can be healthy. We wouldn't be here without it.
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56packman
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Post Number: 1138
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 8:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Taxi" dance halls were ballroom-like (very seedy, un-glamorous large rooms) that were huge in the late twenties thru the fifties where "gentlemen" (ah-hem) could pay "ladies" (un-huh) to dance with then, that's all, just dance. They usually had a small combo that played the music and the girls would dance, and instruct men (who were usually shy, or just not smooth with the ladies) how to dance. Sort of like being able to rent rejection before you try it out for real. The gentlemen would buy tickets from the fat old lady in the ticket booth and would present them to the girls for dances. Rodgers and Hart wrote a great, lowdown song called "ten cents a dance" that summed up the whole trend perfectly--google it.
The advent of Rock and Roll killed the taxi dance girls. Young guys could just sort of gyrate around, no particular "leading" skills were required, and social mores had loosened such that it was easier to hook up with girls.

"Ten cents a dance" music by Richard Rodgers,
lyrics by Lorenz Hart


(verse)I work at the Palace ballroom, but gee that palace is cheap
When I get back to my chilly hallroom, I'm much too tired to sleep
I'm one of those lady teachers, a beautiful hostess you know;
One that the palace features, at exactly a dime a throw.
(chorus)Ten cents a dance, that's what they pay me
Gosh how they weigh me down.
Ten cents a dance, pansies and rough guys, tough guys who tear my gown.
Seven to midnight I hear drums, loudly the saxophone blows,
Trumpets are tearing my ear-drums, customers crush my toes.
Sometimes I think, I've found my hero
But it's a queer romance;
All that you need is a ticket,
Come on big boy, ten cents a dance.
Fighters and sailors and bow-legged tailors
can pay for their tickets & rent me
Butchers and barbers and rats from the harbour
are sweethearts my good luck has sent me
Thought I've a chorus of elderly beaus
stockings are porous with holes at the toes
I'm here till closing time
Dance and be merry it's only a dime
Sometimes I think, I've found my hero
But it's a queer romance;
All that you need is a ticket.
Come on, come on big boy, ten cents a dance.

(Message edited by 56packman on March 19, 2007)
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Ed_golick
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Post Number: 579
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 9:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was the last projectionist at the Capri before the city of East Detroit claimed eminent domain and tore it down for a strip mall. My friends thought I had the best job in the world, but for me, the novelty quickly wore off. I was told to shut the projectors off and turn on the house lights every night at 11 PM sharp, whether the film was over or not. It was quite a sight looking at the house thru the projector port when the houselights suddenly came on. Luckily I never had to mop up the main floor.
When the theater was finally shuttered we were not allowed to take anything from the premises. The building was bulldozed with the seats, projectors, fixtures and everything else intact. I would have liked a few souvenirs from the old building. One day while I was snooping around I discovered the equipment used to retrofit the projectors to show 3D, from when they showed "The Creature From The Black Lagoon" in the 50s.
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3rdworldcity
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Post Number: 562
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 9:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Ten Cents A Dance". Rogers & Hart may have written it but Doris Day owned it. Her rendition from the movie "Love Me Or Leave Me" (w/ James Cagney) about the travails of a dime-a-dance girl is one of the best movies of all time in my opinion.
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56packman
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Post Number: 1140
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Love me or leave me" was a biopic about Ruth Etting---seek out her recording of "ten cents", she delivered it as only one who had walked at walk could, more so than Doris Day, who did try--but was still Doris Day!
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3rdworldcity
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Post Number: 563
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 10:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Listened to 'em both (many times) and DD wins hands down in my opinion. Being "still Doris Day" is/was not a bad thing. Etting's version in my opinion is less permeated w/ sadness than DD's and it's a very sad song, as you know. Thanks for posting the lyrics.
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Fury13
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Post Number: 1445
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 11:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Sassy Cat was/is at 3929 Woodward (the building still stands, vacant). That one is a 19th-century building that was remodeled into the Garden Theatre about 1918. In the late '50s, it became the second incarnation of the 509 Club, a nightclub featuring live music, notably R&B (originally located at 509 Woodward, hence the name). In 1962, it became the Village, a teen dance club where local acts like Gino Washington, Billy Lee (Mitch Ryder), and Nathaniel Mayer performed. It seems to have morphed into the Sassy Cat porno house in the '70s.
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Fury13
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Post Number: 1446
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 11:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ironically, the Follies was formerly the Family Theatre.
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Rhymeswithrawk
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Username: Rhymeswithrawk

Post Number: 462
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Posted on Monday, March 19, 2007 - 11:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anyone remember the old dirty movie theaters?

You mean my grandfather's living room?
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56packman
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Post Number: 1144
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 - 10:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Porno house in Inkster was the Melody, which ironically was built by the Walt Disney company in 1940. They attempted to build a chain of theatres like the other producers. The anti-trust act of 1949 killed the business of movie companies owning the outlets, and the Melody became just another local movie house.
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56packman
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Post Number: 1145
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Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 - 10:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the late 70's I did occasional work for a friend who serviced movie theatre equipment. We were in a lot of Detroit and area theatres to remove equipment before demolition (lots of them) but one summer ('78 I think) we replaced a series of movie screens in porno houses. We would begin work after midnight when the "show" closed. When we replaced the screen at the Studio North in Ferndale we took the old screen off of the frame, dragged it outside, laid it out in the parking lot and began rolling it up, starting a one narrow end and rolling it up for transport. Just as we got to the last part of the roll up, these two young drunks came stumbling out of the coney island next door to the theatre, saw us rolling up this white thing about 16 feet long, 10 inches in diameter. They looked at what we were doing and said "If we help you lick it can we help you smoke it?"

the thought of a doobie that big cracked us up.

One thing you never want to see: an old porno house with the lights all the way up!
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Plymouthres
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Post Number: 17
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 9:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Doesn't anyone remember the Mel?

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