Review: Redford Theatre

Detroit, Michigan has been a very hard-up town for a long time now.  Many people do not want to go there for really good reasons, with a high crime rate, police taking hours to respond, low income, and an overall hard-up feeling to the city with businesses closing down and unemployment going up. What type of business could be worth going into this city?  Well there are some big places that have managed to keep going downtown, it’s nice when you can find that diamond in the rough that is surviving these hard times.

 

For my family, we have found something that has been getting us to go into Detroit a little bit more recently.  The place is called the “Redford Theatre”, an old theatre that sits in Detroit with a Japanese decor, a big stage with red curtains normally covering the screen besides for show time, a balcony and different events going on every weekend.  With ticket prices usually being just $5 per person, this is a place worth checking out for anyone in the Detroit area.

I have been to a few different shows at the Redford Theatre, from one where they played old cartoons, another that was a night of the Three Stooges and most recently we saw the movie “Munsters, Go Home”.  Each of these shows start off with someone playing the organ up in front of the crowd as people choose their seats.  The organ is the original one put in the theatre in the 1920’s, and is one of only two theatres in Detroit with it’s original organ.  My personal favorite time with the organ being played from the three times I’ve come to this theatre was when we came for the old cartoons, the person playing the organ picked music that people who love cartoons would know and enjoy including a lot of Disney music.

“Munsters, Go Home” was an interesting event.  They brought in Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster, as a guest at the theatre.  They sold photos and other memorabilia that Butch would sign.  If you brought your own item in for an autograph it was $15.  You could get your picture for free with with Butch if you paid $20 in merchandise at his table.  This gave the event a little bit of a convention feel, having a guest there charging for autographs and photos.

Something else that gave that convention feeling was the Munster Dragula coffin car that sat parked outside.  This car is not the original car from the movie.  It was made for this event, and took only 6 weekends to put together. People could get their picture with the Coffin Car for a small fee.  At some conventions, like Motor City Comic Con they do this with old TV show cars.

After taking in these two attractions it was time to go in and find a seat.  You can either go up stairs to the balcony or choose a seat on the main floor.  Most of the good seats are taken early, as people enjoy hearing the organ be played.  Once it’s time for the show, the organ lowers and the spot light goes onto the stage as we get an introduction to the movie or programs that are going to be played for us that night.  If there are guest, they too will come up on stage and say a few words.

Butch Patrick did come up on stage, saying how he enjoyed working on The Munsters and how if you have questions for him, to fill out a question card.  Those cards will be used at intermission as he will come back on stage at the end of intermission and answer some of the questions to everyone.  With that, the show was started and the crowd got to enjoy seeing this old movie back on the big screen.  For some of us in the crowd it was our first time seeing the film, while others remember the movie coming to theatre back in the 1960’s.  The crowd all gets taken into what they’ve come to see, as there’s a lot of laughter heard through the movie.

Intermission people have the chance to use the restrooms, get more autographs, fill out the question form, and enter the 50/50 raffle that’s held with every show.  It’s also a chance for the organ to be played again.  I find the intermission as a nice bit of a break, to talk with those around me or just enjoy the music.  Near the end of Intermission the organ is lowered again, and the speaker comes out to share the results of the 50/50 raffle where people do win some money.  They then share the upcoming events and let their guest come on stage to speak again.

I really enjoyed Butch coming on stage to answer those questions.  People asked some really cool questions, such as if Butch remained friends with the cast of the Munsters once the show was over, about his age now and when he worked on the Munsters, how tall Fred Gwynne really was, and how long it took to put on their make up. Butch seemed to enjoy answering the questions, as he at first did not stay in touch with the cast till they got older and started to go to autograph shows together.  He’s in his 50’s now, and did the show when he was 11 and 12.  Fred was around 6 ½  feet tall, which worked with how short Butch is.  It was only one hour for Butch to get into his make up and they only did the show three days a week.  For me, this was almost like a panel at a convention though a bit shorter.

My favorite question though was about something fun that cast did together that was not on the screen.  His answer was about a time that Fred took them out, all dressed up in the Munster Koach for a ride out of the studio.  The Munster Koach was not licensed and this was before the show was known.  He seemed amused saying that it was a fun ride.  Once Butch was done sharing his stories, the movie was started back up.

 

With each of the showings that I’ve attended at the Redford, fans linger and talk to each other afterwards.  It’s got a very friendly feeling all around for people to relax as they get ready to leave.  I know my family will keep an eye on their future events for more that peak our interest.  And, of course, when I find something worth sharing, I spread the word to anyone who is interest.  Here is the Redford’s website.  If you’re in the area, or coming to Detroit at some point in the future, please do check out their events going on.  You may see something worth checking out.

Entertainment Earth

 


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