Sunday at the Redford

The different showtimes of movies at the Redford Theatre help you experience that theater in different ways. A Sunday afternoon showing of the 1937 musical comedy Shall We Dance on August 5, 2007 added another dimension to the happy memories of visitors to the Redford.

A Friday night visit to the Redford helps you move right into the fun of the weekend, after a week at work. Walking into the theater gives you the pleasure of immediately shedding off the cares of the job, and then relaxing with another entertaining evening of organ music and classic film that’s in sharp contrast with what you were doing just a few hours before.

Fridays are usually filled with a subdued feeling of excitement, as people wind down from the week. After the movie, you drive home knowing that you’ve already gotten a lot out of your two days of rest—a feeling that continues when you wake up the next morning.

Saturday afternoons are a good time to relax in a quieter atmosphere that includes a smaller crowd with a higher percentage of older patrons. The sounds of the movie and organ seem to echo through the auditorium with a serenity that feels specially produced for you.

You can walk around the theater without running into large groups of people, and the lines at the concession stand are shorter. You get more acquainted with the Redford volunteers who work that shift. After the movie, with Saturday night still ahead, you might tune your car radio to a University of Michigan football game or Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on CBC 2.

If you want to experience the full energy of the Redford, Saturday night’s all right for moviegoing. Before the movie, the air of the theater is thick with anticipation for a night of fun, and the audience always claps loudly for the organist, movie and stage announcements.

As you settle in, the cares of the work week seem very far away, here at the center of the weekend. When you walk out, you often see people visiting with different Redford volunteers, enjoying their well-earned pride and feeling of accomplishment at another successful weekend of movies.

As you drive home, you might relax with oldies requests on WOMC or some sophisticated jazz on WRCJ. At home, you might watch some late night TV, as you try to extend the good Saturday night feeling of the Redford.

Sunday Matinee

Years ago, moviegoers on the northwest side of Detroit looked forward to Sunday as opening day for popular films that were moving from the downtown movie showplaces to neighborhood theaters like the Redford.

In 1932, Redford visitors would have enjoyed Sunday debuts of films like Possessed (Clark Gable, Joan Crawford), The Champ (Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Fredric March), and Shanghai Express (Marlene Dietrich).

Seventy-five years later, film buffs again made the Redford their entertainment choice on a Sunday afternoon. As they entered, a young lady played some pretty music on the piano in the inner lobby. Visitors got their first look at the printed schedule for the September-December 2007 season, which includes Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life.

In the theater, organist Jennifer Candea warmed up the crowd with a pre-movie concert. The atmosphere was an interesting mixture of Sunday afternoon peacefulness and Saturday night energy. Activities usually done in just the evening were held, like the 50/50 raffle and detailed stage announcements.

On the screen, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers delighted the crowd with their classy, stylish mixture of comedy, singing, and, of course, dancing. The big screen helped you more appreciate the dexterity of Fred and the radiance of Ginger. At one point, Ginger’s face filled the screen; could she have imagined that 70 years later, she and Fred would still be bringing joy to audiences?

The movie ended with an exuberant musical number that left the audience applauding with joy. No matter the day of the week, magic movie moments can always be found at the Redford.

Detroit Movie Palaces Home Page

Copyright © 2007 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.

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