Spartan Twin

Frandor Shopping Center, 3131 E. Michigan Avenue,
Lansing, MI 48912

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Spartan Twin 1967

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The Spartan Twin (named for the Michigan State University Spartans) opened in October 1967 and was located in the Frandor Shopping Center, not far from the west edge of the MSU campus.

The original two auditoriums were simply decorated in a contemporary style with large screens. The signs posted during construction indicated that the theater was going to be operated by Fox Eastern Theaters, but it opened as a National General operation. Later, management passed to the Mann Theater chain and finally to UA.

At its opening, it was a state-of the-art house and may have had 70mm capability; films such as “Patton”, “2001”, and “Brainstorm” played there.

One of the auditoriums was halved in the 1980’s. During that decade the theater lost its allure concurrent with the growing shabbiness of the Frandor Shopping Center as a retail center. In addition, the same forces that led to the closure of the theaters in downtown Lansing and East Lansing, especially the growth of muliplexes in the malls east and west of Lansing coupled with the many films available to MSU students and staff on the campus, undoubtedly led to its closure in February 1994.

After closing as a theater, the building was converted to a commercial children’s playspace. It was then razed and a chain drugstore occupies the location now.

Contributed by Christopher Walczak

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 26, 2005 at 6:03 pm

The comments at the Water Winter Wonderland site indicate that one of the auditoriums was split making this theater a triplex. Read about it here.

IsrvChrist
IsrvChrist on October 30, 2006 at 11:18 pm

The actually closing was in Feb. of 1994.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 11, 2009 at 4:12 am

The theater was designed by Drew Eberson.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

This theater should be identified as the Spartan 3, as it was a triplex in its last years, with Spartan Twin as an aka.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2010 at 9:35 am

The exact opening date for the Spartan Twin was October 11, 1967, according to an item in Boxoffice of October 30. Operator Fox Eastern Theatres was a subsidiary of National General Corporation. The Spartan East originally seated 1,000, and the Spartan West 650.

The larger auditorium was slated to show first-run fare, opening with “A Rough Night in Jericho,” while the smaller Spartan West would be used for road shows, and opened with “The Taming of the Shrew.” The star-studded opening of the Spartan Twin was studded solely by actor Chill Wills. There’s no word on whether Lansing has yet recovered from the excitement. Chill Wills survived for another eleven years.

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