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Kiddie New Year's Eve Party at Michigan (December 1957)

December Looking Back: 1931 1932 1946 1956 1957 1981 1982

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The King and the Mockingbird bring animated holiday fun to the DFT on December 19-21 and 27.
James Stewart discovers that It's a Wonderful Life at the Michigan on December 21.

Join Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen for a White Christmas at the Redford on December 19 and 20.

 

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Looking Back

June 1932

Step back in time to see what area movie theaters were presenting in June 1932. Film titles are linked to the Internet Movie Database.

For more information about these theaters, see Cinema Treasures or Water Winter Wonderland.


As the Great Depression continued, the Redford and Michigan in Ann Arbor tried new ways to pull in crowds. The Redford started presenting live plays on Sundays, along with movies. Plays also were staged at other neighborhood Publix Theaters (Annex, Alhambra, Ramona). The Michigan lowered the highest ticket price for its regular shows from 50 to 40 cents, and cut the adult price for the Saturday morning children shows from 30 to 15 cents.

"A new dispensation in things theatrical began at the Redford Theater Sunday afternoon with the opening performance of a three-act comedy, presented by living actors of excellent gifts in a temple heretofore devoted to the magic shadowshapes of the cinema," wrote Russell McLauchlin in the June 6, 1932 Detroit News. This Thing Called Love featured Emily Ross, a star of Detroit Civic Theater productions at the Bonstelle Theatre.

On the Redford screen, Paul Muni, George Raft and Ann Dvorak starred in the gangster drama Scarface. Patrons marveled at Tarzan the Ape Man (Johnny Weismuller) and also enjoyed a "Big Surrounding Show." Robert Montgomery appeared in But the Flesh is Weak and Letty Lynton (with Joan Crawford). Other leading ladies included Claudette Colbert (Misleading Lady) and Joan Bennett (The Trial of Vivienne Ware). As the Republican presidential convention debated Prohibition, moviegoers watched The Wet Parade, with Walter Huston and Jimmy Durante.

At the Michigan in Ann Arbor, Greta Garbo graced the screen in As You Desire Me. Stars of the recent hits All Quiet on the Western Front (Lew Ayres) and Frankenstein (Mae Clarke and Boris Karloff) lived in a Night World. Some pre-Production Code spice seasoned the titles of Sinners in the Sun (Carole Lombard and Chester Morris) and Merrily We Go To Hell (Sylvia Sidney and Fredric March). Ruth Chatterton, star of the late 1920s and early 1930s, tried to boost her career with her first Warner Brothers movie, The Rich Are Always with Us.

In Detroit, the United Artists Theater closed for the summer on June 8 (with the last showing of As You Desire Me), and re-opened on September 1 with White Zombie. In the June 19, 1932 Detroit News, a note at the end of the "Selected for the Children" movie list read: "Pictures shown in downtown theaters do not commence neighborhood runs until 28 days later."


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This web site is not affiliated with the Detroit Film Theatre, the Michigan Theater, or the Redford Theatre.

Web site copyright © 2014 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

Launched November 25, 2005.

Last updated November 30, 2014.

Graphics courtesy of Christmas Graphics Plus, Free GIFs and Animation, and 123GIFS.

Videos courtesy of YouTube and Turner Classic Movies.