Cult Theatre Postcards: Series One, Card Number 4 – Fox Theatre

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This historic Cult Theatre Grindhouse Postcard features an extremely rare photo of the Fox Theatre. The Fox Theatre is located at 2211 Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan.

When the photo was taken, the Fox Theatre was screening “3 Karate Kung Fu Thrillers,” including Billy Chong in Super Power, Billy Chong & Carl Scott in A Hard Way to Die, and Sonny Chiba in The Killing Machine.

The Fox Theatre opened in 1928 as a flagship movie palace in the Fox Theatres chain. It is noted as the first theater designed and built to include a speaker system for sound movies. The 5,048 seat Fox was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and designated a National Historic Landmark four years later. The area surrounding the Fox is nicknamed Foxtown and includes Detroit’s major performance centers and theatres emanate from the Fox Theatre and Grand Circus Park Historic District and continue along Woodward Avenue toward the Fisher Theatre in the city’s New Center.

The theater, which was fully restored in 1988, is the largest surviving movie palace of the 1920s and the largest of the original Fox Theatres. The adjacent office building houses the headquarters of Olympia Entertainment and Little Caesars.

The Detroit Fox is one of five spectacular Fox Theatres built in the late 1920s by film pioneer William Fox. The others were the Fox Theatres in Brooklyn, Atlanta, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Architect C. Howard Crane designed the Fox with a lavish interior featuring a blend of Burmese, Chinese, Indian and Persian motifs. There are three levels of seating, the Main Floor above the orchestra pit, the Mezzanine, and the Gallery. The exterior of the attached 10-story office building features a façade with Asian motifs which, when illuminated at night, can be seen for several blocks. The Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri is its near architectural twin with about 500 fewer seats. The 10-story Detroit Fox Theatre building also contains the headquarters of Olympia Entertainment, while the St. Louis Fox is a stand-alone theatre.

The Fox Film Corporation’s patented sound-on-film system “Movietone” enabled the theater to present sound films from the time of its opening. Unlike many neighboring theatres, it operated continually until it was closed in the 1980s for restoration. However, by the 1960s, the venue was showing its age and maintenance of many key areas was deferred. By the 1970s mezzanine and balcony seating areas were closed to the public.

In 1984 Chuck Forbes, owner of the State and Gem theaters, proposed a renovation project. These plans were never fully realized, but in 1988 the theater was acquired by new owners, Mike and Marian Ilitch, who fully restored the Fox at a cost of $12 million. Their company, Ilitch Holdings is headquartered in the Fox Theater Office Building. In 2000, Comerica Park opened and helped to revitalize the neighborhood along with the construction of Ford Field in 2002.

All Cult Theatre Postcards feature vintage and grindhouse movie theaters within the United States. The series includes cinemas in major urban centers such as Downtown Los Angeles, New York’s Times Square – then known as “The Deuce,” Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore and many, many more famous cities. The movie theatres are screening cult classics, B-movies, martial arts films, horror films and more.

The time was the 1980’s and movie theaters were attempting to reinvent themselves, with smaller budgets and new audiences. Many independently owned theaters resorted to low-cost B-movies and Asian movie imports, especially kung fu films. The Killing Machine, Super Power, Billy Chong, Carl Scott, A Hard Way to Die, and Sonny Chiba.

Other movie theaters in the Cult Theatres Postcard collection include The Loew’s Theater, Rialto Theater, Anco Theater, Malco Theater, Paramount Theater, Fox Nickelodeon Theater, Luna Theater, Woods Theater, Cameo Theater, Cinema 35 Theater, Washington Theater, Capri Theater, Publix Theater, The Pussycat Theater, Center Theater, McVickers Theater, The Castle Theater, El Morro Theater, Cine 42 Theater, Stadium Theater, Empire Theater, Majestic Theater, Brauntex Theater, RKO Jefferson Theater, Times Square Theater, Liberty Theater, Roxy Theater, Embassy Theater, Strand Theater, Uptown Theater, State-Lake Theater, Los Angeles Theater, Tower Theater, Victoria Theater, Adams Theater, Chicago Theater, Boulevard Theater, New Isis Theater, Howard Theater, Academy Theater, Sam Eric Theater, Sameric Theater and more.

This vintage-style movie theater postcard item has been filed under theaters, theatres, grindhouse, movie theaters, vintage, grind house, cinemas, entertainment, collectibles, b movies, grindhouse theaters, cult cinemas, cult classics, martial arts films, movies, horror films, the deuce, hollywood, 42nd street.

These extremely rare movie theater images are officially licensed and scanned directly from the negatives or the best quality photo image available.

See full set of Cult Theatre photos at culttheatres.com.