4809 W. Fort Street,
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Firms: Graven & Mayger
Styles: Spanish Renaissance
When it opened September 23, 1927, the Hollywood Theatre was Detroit’s second-largest theatre seating well over 3,400 patrons. It was built for the Cohen Brothers at a cost of over $2 million and was situated nearly a mile west of the long-established downtown entertainment district, Grand Circus Park.
The architect, Charles N. Agree, together with associate architects Graven & Mayger, designed this huge theatre in the Spanish Renaissance style complete with a large balcony, stage, and orchestra pit, as well as a Barton organ which was opened by organist Bob Clarke. Its lobby was 60 feet tall, and the entire interior was full of multi-colored marble, gilded plasterwork, and valuable artwork.
Its facade, with twin minaret-looking towers, soared over Fort Street, and it originally had a large vertical marquee. Its standard original marquee was intricately decorated with a rainbow colored neon-lit swirling pattern.
The Hollywood Theatre opened with the picture "Alias the Deacon", and for its first few years of operation, featured the Hollywood-Sunnybrook Orchestra, led by Sammy Diebert.
Due to its somewhat out of the way location, as well as its never jumping on the widescreen boom of the 1950’s, the Hollywood Theatre really never was very popular. It turned to a double-feature program in the 1940’s and 1950’s, in order to stay afloat, but this still made little difference. Its last two films were "The Flesh is Weak" and "Blonde Bondage" in 1958.
Sadly, this largely forgotten treasure was razed in 1963 to make way for a parking lot.
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