Annex Theatre

8990 Grand River Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48204

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: United Detroit Theaters

Architects: John Adolph Emil Eberson

Styles: Atmospheric

Previous Names: Riviera Annex Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Annex Theatre, Detroit - floor plan

The Annex Theatre, or Riviera Annex Theatre, as it was called when it first opened February 4, 1927 with Conrad Nagel in “Tin Hats” and Ted Meyn (creative humorist) on the stage. It was designed by John Eberson to accommodate overflow crowds at his Grand Riviera Theatre (later called just the Riviera Theatre) up Grand River Avenue.

It could seat 1,824, and was designed in an Atmospheric style, matching the original Riviera Theatre’s design. It also contained a Robert-Morton 3 manual 13 ranks organ and a small stage, which most likely was never used.

In an unusual layout, this one-floor theatre contained something called a "mezzanine lounge". Some believe that the original design for the Annex Theatre called for a full balcony, but it was never added. In another quirky move, Eberson had the projection booth placed at the rear of the orchestra seating under the sweeping main twin stepped stairway leading up to the mezzanine level.

The Annex Theatre closed its doors in either late-September or early-October 1950 due to declining attendance. United Detroit Theatres gave up their lease on the closed theatre on January 2, 1952. In 1954 the Robert-Morton organ was removed and installed in the Powderhorn Park Baptist Church, Minneapolis and the theatre was demolished in 1954 for a parking lot.

The site is today occupied by a school of cosmetology.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

sdoerr on November 8, 2004 at 5:30 pm

This link will take you to a photo of the Riviera and the Annex.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 18, 2004 at 2:31 pm

The opening date of the Annex Theatre was 4th February 1927.

Divinity on December 19, 2004 at 2:43 pm

So much detail was put in the rear of the auditorium. What a tragedy.

Russr on August 30, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Actually, the Annex Theater in Detroit had to have been demolished in the mid 50’s. I was born in l945 and went to the Riveria Theater almost every Saturday, standing in the long line with my cousins and paying the quarter to get in. The Riveria had two concession stands (one in the balcony).

We moved from Detroit to Dearborn Heights in l958. But I can remember being a kid about 10 or 11 and standing near the about half of the Annex as the wrecking ball hung by. I was amased at the balcony boxes all around the remaining Grand River side. It reminded me later of Ford Theater where Lincoln was shoot. My only regret was that I never went inside the Annex when it was in operation.

One more tidbit before I shut up. South on Grand River on the other west side was a little second rate theater called “the Victory”. They showed movies for NINE CENTS (That’s right). I remember seeing the original War of the Worlds there. It was near the old Stark Hickory Ford Dealership.
Russ Rheaume ()

carismith on January 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

My Grandmother Laurine Bowen White was the Manager of the Rivera Theatre. And my mother Patricia White and aunts Sue and Faye also worked for the theatre along with my uncle Richard. Before it became a motion picture theatre they hosted Broadway musicals like “My Fair Lady” with Judi Garland. I know that the first time my mother ever met Jerry Lewis, she accidently walked into his dressing room to find him in his boxer My mother Patricia said she the theatre was her second home, she spent so much time there. She worked the concession and whatever else my Grandmother needed her to do. When my grandmother was alive, I remember her telling stories about Miss Judy Garland, and other actors like Jerry Lewis. I have told my mother of this site in hopes she can tell a few stories and share some old memories. Now that she see’s my comment she probably will.

rivest266 on November 3, 2015 at 4:53 pm

February 4th, 1927 grand opening ad in photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 4, 2023 at 11:43 pm

According to the June 21, 1952 issue of Boxoffice, a contract to demolish the Annex Theatre had just been let by the city. The house had been closed for about a year, and was to be replaced by a parking lot.

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