Follies Theatre

1 Cadillac Square,
Detroit, MI 48226

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Architects: Fuller Claflin, Mortimer L. Smith

Previous Names: Family Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Follies Theatre

Built within the former Kirkwood Hotel on Cadillac Square, the Family Theatre opened on May 3, 1909. It began to screen films five years later, starting with the comedy "Tillie’s Punctured Romance". The Family Theatre, designed by Fuller Claflin, could seat 943.

After decades as a popular first-run house, like so many other theaters, the Family Theatre switched over to pornographic features in the 1960’s, and created quite a stir, not so much for its films, but because it didn’t change it’s wholesome-sounding name. However, it did soon change its name on June 2, 1967, to the Follies Theatre.

On July 26, 1973, during a screening of "Deep Throat", the Follies Theatre caught on fire. However, as they fled the burning theater, some customers actually stopped at the box office to ask for their money back!

The shell of the theater was demolished a couple months later.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

sdoerr on April 13, 2004 at 3:07 pm

Pictures of Fire and Aftermath including the Deep Throat on the marquee: 1, 2, 3

kencmcintyre on April 19, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Here is a larger version of the LOC photo:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2011 at 5:33 am

The building that was converted into the Family Theatre was built in 1872-73 as an office and commercial building. Despite conversion of the upper floors into a hotel in 1880, then back into offices, then back into a hotel again in the 1890s, and finally the gutting of much of the interior for conversion into the Family Theatre in 1909, the facade remained essentially the same for decades. The original architect of the building was Mortimer L. Smith. The building’s history is told on this web page, where it is listed as the Second Williams Block.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

rivest266 on November 7, 2015 at 3:36 pm

June 2nd, 1967 opening as Follies in photo section.

dallasmovietheaters on November 1, 2019 at 6:34 am

July 26, 1973 was the date of the fire which ended the building.

Kris4077 on November 1, 2019 at 9:17 am

Sounds like somebody didn’t like the kind of movies this theater was showing so they had it torched.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.