Pandora Theatres 1 & 2
8790 S. Telegraph Road,
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The Taylor CInema 1 & 2 was an operation that launched in 1973 and ran for about ten years under the name Pandora Theatre at its end. The theatre building still stands looking much like it did when it opened at Telegraph and Haskell near Wick Road. It started life with Jerry Lewis Cinema signage ready to launch in 1972 with a hopeful, “coming soon” on its attractor. Features would likely have been “Willy Wonka” and “Fiddler on the Roof". But the cinema never launched under the Jerry Lewis banner.
Nicholas Fileccia is typical of many Jerry Lewis Cinema franchisees lured by the 1970/1 advertisement campaign announcing Network Cinema Corporation’s one-button automated theaters. Fileccia had neither theatrical operation experience or any track record in running a business. But he invested money in a Jerry Lewis franchise in 1971. The theatre structure was completed in 1972. But the corporation was providing no help in getting the theater completed for its grand opening.
As lawsuits were piling up in late-1972 against the circuit for price gouging, lack of support, and inflated claims, the Taylor franchise continued to languish though signage promised “coming soon” with Jerry Lewis’ likeness. 1973 brought Jerry Lewis parting ways with the dying concept and Network Cinema’s bankruptcy. On April 5th, 1973, Network Cinema’s phones were disconnected. Fileccia - like many franchisees in 1973 - would either have to launch as an independent or just never open the location.
This Jerry Lewis signage was stripped from the building’s front and its street attractor now called the Taylor Cinema 1 & 2 and finally launched December 25, 1973 with the sub-runs of “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". The latter was paired with “Charlotte’s Web". The theatre closed December 23, 1976 likely opting out of a lease after three years of operation.
The theatre reopened as the Pandora Theatre 1 & 2 on January 6, 1978 under new operators who had recently operated the Summit / Pandora Theatre in downtown Detroit. The Pandora left at end of lease on July 1, 1977 after an audacious Grand Closing week-long celebration replaying its biggest hit, “2001: A Space Odyssey” which it lovingly presented in its original Cinerama roadshow concept complete with “ultimate light show".
The Pandora Theatre 1 & 2 was home to weekend Arabic and Hungarian language films and continued with regular Hollywood fare through October 8, 1981. The theatre continued with Hungarian films. The final listings at the theatre are on April 3, 1983 with “A Vereb is Madar” and “Kölyök” although the theatre may have made it to the end of 1983 to fulfill a 10-year leasing agreement.
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