Majestic Theatre

4120 Woodward Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48201

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Ssc48 on September 18, 2023 at 2:32 pm

So what happened with the stadium raised seating that is now behind a curtain? Is that space just not being used at all?

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on January 1, 2021 at 4:30 pm

The December 2020 issue of “Signs of the Times” has an article on the re-creation of the Majestic marquee by Spectrum Neon Co. Signs of the Times

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 27, 2019 at 7:47 pm

I could submit a page for it, but it would be very sketchy as I don’t have either a timeline for the theater or definite evidence of what the modern address would be. Perhaps Ken Roe would be able to find more information about it and add a page. I think he might have access to resources that I don’t have.

DavidZornig on August 27, 2019 at 7:28 pm

Ah, so the most recent five images in the gallery belong to the earlier Majestic at 231-233 Woodward. Do you want to just create a page for that one, and I’ll transfer the pics to there?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 27, 2019 at 7:24 pm

The Majestic Theatre that was next door to the Hippodrome was not the same house as the 1915 Majestic. The first Majestic must have either closed or been renamed by the time the new Majestic opened in 1915. As the Hippodrome opened in 1912 and lasted less than a year, closing in early 1913, the photo showing both of these houses in operation had to have been taken during that brief time.

I’ve been trying to discover if the old Majestic survived the opening of the new house, but the task is complicated by the fact that Detroit changed its addresses in 1921. As near as I can figure, the old Majestic’s address of 231-233 ended up in the 1500 block, and was just below Witherell Street. The first Majestic and Hippodrome were across the street and up a couple of doors from the Woodward Arcade, still standing at 1545 Woodward, so the first Majestic was probably at approximately 1550 Woodward. Apparently Cinema Treasures has no pages for either of them.

DavidZornig on August 26, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Above photo added to gallery with link. Appears to not work in the comments.

DavidZornig on August 26, 2019 at 2:31 pm

Link with a circa 1920 photo Majestic and neighboring Hippodrome, which I believe is the same one as mentioned on the Rogers Theatre page.

JCJohnsong on May 9, 2019 at 12:19 pm

I’ve just posted a clipping ( of what I think may be the FIRST advertisement for SAMMY DAVIS JR … from May of 1929 … which would have made him 3 ½ years old! It is an advertisement for the Majestic Theatre and Sammy is billed as “Little SAMMY DAVIS Jr., Colored Boy Marvel” I thought readers of this theater’s page would enjoy seeing it posted here a bit of ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY!

DavidZornig on April 13, 2019 at 6:05 pm

2018 story about renovation with photos.

DavidZornig on March 11, 2019 at 7:03 pm

2 sided circa 1915 postcard added courtesy Walter Jung. Address shows the pre-1921 Detroit street renumbering. Shows how drastic the facade remodeling was.

z11111 on April 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Uploaded some iPhone photos of the main auditorium in its current state. Very interesting complex.

Trolleyguy on April 9, 2016 at 12:11 pm

And they also offer bowling.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

The article Tinseltoes linked to notes that the Majestic was equipped with “…a 14 by 18 foot gold fibre screen which can be seen from every seat in the house….” The article also says that the Majestic’s projection booth was equipped with two Powers 6-A machines.

Although the Majestic had full stage facilities, it was clearly intended to operate primarily as a movie theater from the day it opened. The Moving Picture World article doesn’t even mention vaudeville, saying only that the house was presenting three shows of V-L-S-E productions on weekdays and four shows on Saturdays and holidays (V-L-S-E was a short-lived distribution combine made up of the Vitagraph, Lubin, Selig, and Essanay film production companies.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2011 at 3:06 am

You’re right, Kewpie. The 1915 Majestic always had a wide frontage, so the LoC photo depicts a different theater. Shorpy has the story on the photo you found (and includes a bonus photo of the original facade of the 1915 Majestic.) The earlier Majestic was a combination house (movies and vaudeville) opened at 231 Woodward in 1908.

I don’t know if the older Majestic is listed at Cinema Treasures under a later name, or is still missing from the database. If it’s listed under another name it would also have a different address, as Detroit changed its numbering system on January 1, 1921. I’m not positive, but I think that old address 231 Woodward ended up in the 1400 block under the new system. Here’s a page with links to information about Detroit’s 1921 renumbering.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

I should add that the photos I mentioned in my previous comment show the original architectural style of the Majestic to have been Italian Renaissance.

I’ve also had a chance to check the list of Crane’s theater projects that is included in Ms. DiChiera’s thesis, and it now seems very likely that C. Howard Crane was also the architect of the Duplex Theatre which I mentioned above. Crane was truly ahead of his time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

The Internet Archive has available a most interesting document. It is the Masters thesis of Lisa Maria DiChiera, and it is titled The Theater Designs of C. Howard Crane. Though the photos in the document were reproduced on the copying equipment available in 1992, they are clear enough to provide decent views. Beginning on page 80, there is a floor plan of the Majestic, a longitudinal section, two interior photos, and an exterior photo.

What amazed me about the photos of the auditorium is that the Majestic had only nine rows of seats in its orchestra section, and behind those were more than twice as many rows of stadium seating. So not only did Detroit get one of the world’s first twin theaters (the Duplex, also opened in 1915) but it also apparently got one of the first indoor theaters in the world that featured predominantly stadium seating.

JohnMLauter on July 27, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I know all about those sites, and I contribute to waterwinterwonderland when I have something that can be shared.
What I was and am saying is that all this site has is dead links, from people who gave up on their photobucket accounts.

Oh, and I might know one of the posters over on Detroit yes.

kathy2trips on July 26, 2008 at 2:45 am

Hi, John: You can try the WSU Virtual Motor City Site. Here’s the link for the Majestic: View link

You can also look at the archives of the website. The threads include lots of photos…some of them personal vintage shots.

JohnMLauter on January 2, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Are all photo links on this website dead ends? I have tried to look at several over the past few days and they are all dead ends. The only useful entries in Michigan and Detroit are the links to, a site I support with pictures. At least on that site you can post pictures!

sdoerr on March 13, 2005 at 8:52 am

This link will take you to a photo of the old exterior.
This link will take you to a photo of the remodeled art deco exterior.