Adams Theater

44 Adams Avenue West,
Detroit, MI 48226

Unfavorite 9 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

edlambert on November 8, 2017 at 7:40 pm

The Adams never screened a film in MGM Camera 65, the first of which was “Raintree County.” MGM did not release this film in 70mm format. “Ben-Hur” was the other film from MGM in the Camera 65 process, and it was screened at the United Artists Theater. I suspect that the full Todd-AO screen at the UA was not used because the aspect ratio of the film, at 2.76:1, was wider than the Todd-AO aspect ratio. If the full width of the film was screened, then the upper part of the screen had to be masked, much as was done in neighborhood theaters when a CinemaScope film was screened. The film process subsequently was renamed Ultra Panavision 70. Later Cinerama productions used this process.

DavidZornig on October 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

A link with 11 photos of the Adams Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm

In 1963 the Adams Theatre was taken over by a syndicate of three exhibitor groups, consisting of Irving and Adolph Goldberg’s Commumity Theatres, Wisper & Wetsman, and the Sloan family’s Detroit Suburban Theatres. The house would be operated by the Goldbergs.

The Adams was extensively remodeled later that year. The $250,000 project was designed by architect Ted Rogvoy. An article about the project (not illustrated, unfortunately) appeared on this page of the January 12, 1964 issue of Boxoffice.

rivest266 on November 5, 2015 at 1:31 am

Everything is new! reopening ad from May 2nd, 1935 in photo section.

AndrewBarrett on June 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

According to Mr. David Junchen’s “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Pipe Organ”, pgs. 165 and 167, the Adams theatre had a 3 manual, 28 rank Hillgreen-Lane theatre pipe organ (opus 518) installed in 1918, at a cost of $5,400. This organ had a 5 horsepower blower, serial #9354. Does anyone know where this organ, or its parts, are located today, or what happened to it?

Twistr54 on June 10, 2010 at 8:05 am

View link

New photos I took on May 29 2010. of what was there, the empty lot across the alley, the supported front ofthe fine arts building…

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 26, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Image showing just how far gone the theatre was:

View link

Twistr54 on November 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm

new scaffolding covering the theatre fascade
View link


JohnMLauter on June 5, 2009 at 8:40 pm

well, I’m going to go ahead and disagree with that statement, the theatre was last used in 1988, and sat vacant and unused. Ilitch bought it in the mid 90s, and it was probably well on its way to being a wreck by then. I have said repeatedly that if you are going to save a theatre you have to use a theatre, and in our city, with all of the fine theatres that have been saved there was no obvious market for the Adams. The place was kind of plain when new, cobbled in the 1940s in an attempt to modernize, the exterior got the Community theatres “shiny stone wall” treatment like they gave the Redford, both in 1963 and I’m afraid that If an old theatre was going to go, this one was the best candidate. I fear the United Artists is next, and there isn’t enough money anywhere to save that one, and again, how is it going to be used, to earn its way. The UA was much more impressive than the Adams, but that poor place never stood a chance after AAA (auto insurance co.) stripped the theatre as they were building their surburban office center the would move to, vacating the UA building.

sdoerr on June 2, 2009 at 10:57 am

It’s still unfortunate as this was a working theater when Ilitch acquired it

sdoerr on May 1, 2009 at 12:38 am

The Adams is coming down this month, followed by the Fine Arts Building.

drb on April 9, 2009 at 7:20 am

Here’s a page of photos:
View link

kathy2trips on January 19, 2008 at 1:16 am

Evidently, Detroit had quite a flourishing and influential entertainment industry going in the early 1900s. A very interesting article on John Kunsky can be found here:

sdoerr on October 13, 2007 at 11:52 pm

Scaffolding erected in front of the Adams Ave facade of the Fine Arts Building, thus I have reason to believe demolition of the Fine Arts should commence soon. Time will tell if the Adams will join the Fine Arts in the landfill.

sdoerr on September 24, 2007 at 5:08 am

Nothing has really changed from the info I posted April 13, 2007.

All I have heard is that bids have been taken for demo contractors for the Fine Arts (and I presume Adams). No visible changes to the theater or Fine Arts.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 22, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Any news on the Adams SNWEB?

DonFoshey on August 27, 2007 at 10:31 am

Thanks. What a tragedy (one of so many) that this beautiful theatre is gone. It’s kind of a “kick” to see that the lobby is still there, though I understand it is not publically accessible.

sdoerr on August 27, 2007 at 8:55 am

Don, the Oriental was also known as the RKO Downtown and is located on this site at this link.

DonFoshey on August 27, 2007 at 8:15 am

The recent Preservation Wayne theatre tour featured the lobby of the Oriental Theatre (Detroit) for the first time. I don’t remember an Oriental Theatre (not surprising, given that the auditorium was supposedly torn down in the early 1950’s, and I’m not quite that old yet), but I looked for info on this site and it’s not listed here either.
Supposedly it was on or near Adams St., west of the Adams Theatre and the lobby was saved because it was part of an adjacent office building, but the auditorium et al were demolished for a parking lot in 1953(?).
Anyone have any info on this?

sdoerr on April 19, 2007 at 7:38 pm

Time may be running out for the old gal, as the adjoining Fine Arts is set to come down anytime soon, as demolition was approved.

This means that the Adams lobby will go, and presumed skywalk & tunnel will be sealed up, essentially leaving the auditorium, to meet her fate sometime in the feature.

sdoerr on December 15, 2006 at 6:56 pm

In reply to LuisV, nothing has happened.

The theater is pretty much doomed no matter what happens to the property because Ilitch is marketing only the Fine Arts and not the adjoining Adams. Why? Because he don’t wan’t any competition for the fox, same story with the United Artists, it will most likely go no matter what also.

In addiition to the theater being doomed, I ahve my doubts on the Fine Arts Building as well. The whole thing is collapsing inwards, the structural support system of the building is severly damaged, I doubt it is fixable. They announced a structural analysis of the building back in January, I sure hope it is going well. I want teh unique facade saved if anything.doubt if it

LuisV on September 19, 2006 at 5:35 pm

So it’s been 9 months since the Press Release outlining Detroit’s renaissance. Has anything happened?

sdoerr on March 19, 2006 at 5:37 pm

The badly composed website at the link most recently posted blames the closure on the Hudson’s closure. This is incorrect. This was due to the declining of the area with the crime (articles posted about) ultimately closing it.

Much of the information at the above link is outdated, and the forum is nothing but a zoo.

beardbear31 on March 19, 2006 at 5:32 pm

another view of the Adams Theater can be seen at