Punch and Judy Theater

21 Kercheval Street,
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48236

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Punch and Judy Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Punch and Judy Theater, opened in 1930, was designed by Robert O. Derrick in Colonial Revival style, looking more like a Virginia country manor than a movie house. The theater seated around 740 and contained an organ, a balcony (which originally had a higher ticket price than the orchestra seats).

After it was closed as a movie theater in 1977, the Punch and Judy Theater was almost purchased by a church, which ended up being turned down by the city due to zoning laws. Later the same year, plans were made to turn the old movie house into a venue for live stage shows and concerts, but in December of that year, the city threatened to cancel a concert at the theater due to supposed safety code violations, then made the new owners sign an “anti-smut” agreement in early-1978. That same year, the Punch and Judy Theater turned to repertory films, but still the city continued to squelch the theater’s operation by banning “ticket lines of 50 or more persons” outside the front entrance.

In 1988, the beloved theater was gutted and converted into offices, though its quaint Colonial American exterior remains relatively unaltered.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

RobertR
RobertR on November 26, 2004 at 6:34 pm

What a beautiful building and theatre, the city council should be shot.

BobBetke1
BobBetke1 on December 27, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Actually I was part of the management of the Punch in the late 70’s.
We had plenty of bands play there with out any problems.
It’s where The Rocky Horror Picture Show was shown at midnight every Friday and Saturday.
Also, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell used the theater to show a rough cut of “The Evil Dead"
to potential investors.

scottmichaels
scottmichaels on January 16, 2009 at 12:32 am

Hey brooklynbobby – I was an usher at that time, under Mr. Etter. I think I remember you, before the Shaker tenure, which all but ruined the place.

I’m still pals with Marianne as well, from the concession stand.

Nice to see you still boppin around. BTW the screening of the first Evil Dead was called Within the Woods. I still have my ticket stub. All the best.

seenoevil
seenoevil on March 4, 2009 at 8:38 am

DearlyDeparted,

I’d be really interested in asking you about seeing ‘Within The Woods’

Could you send me over an email to rob@breakawayfxDOTcom (replace DOT with . just to stop spam)

Hooligan
Hooligan on June 30, 2013 at 4:01 am

Born in 1965 & living on Fisher Rd in Grosse Point until moving overseas in 1972, I have vague recollections of seeing several movies at the Punch & Judy. Perhaps one of the only reasons I’ve remembered it’s name after 4 decades is because the name was pretty unusual.

Movies I vividly remember seeing, and probably saw at the Punch & Judy, include now-classics like Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, The Phantom Tollbooth, and ??

It’s disgusting that Grosse Pointe Farms city council seemed to want to bring an end to the structure being used for performances which potentially create such happy memories. There’s got to be more to that story, as I’m sure the council members also had fond memories of the place.

I can see how the stereotypical fans of the Rocky Horror Picture Show aren’t exactly the type of people that snobby Grosse Pointe may have wanted.

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