Christmas in the 1940s

The 1940s was a Golden Age for Christmas movies. It just seemed the right time for holiday movies, with World War II over and the post-war Baby Boom under way. Area moviegoers have a wonderful opportunity this year to see many of these holiday classics on the big screen.

Already, film fans have enjoyed Christmas in Connecticut (1945) at the Michigan Theater and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) at the Penn Theatre. And the Redford Theatre has shown a modern classic that is set in the 1940s—A Christmas Story (1983).

You’ll have two more chances to see It’s a Wonderful Life—on December 14-15 at the Redford, and on December 22 at the Michigan. The unique settings of these two movie palaces will make this film two different experiences. So why not see it twice, just like in the old days when it was continuously shown on television?

The Michigan also will help moviegoers discover a Christmas movie that was completely new to me—It Happened On Fifth Avenue (1947), showing December 16. A fan of this film has created a web site for it. After reading how hard it was for this fan to see this movie anywhere, you’ll feel privileged to be able to see it on the big screen.

The Holiday Classic Movie Series of the Michigan ends on December 23, with Miracle on 34th Street (1947). With Christmas only two magic days away, you’ll be deeply warmed by the holiday spirit as you laugh along with others at this popular comedy.

The Penn Theatre’s holiday movies continue on December 13 with Bells of St. Mary’s (1945), with Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. And the Penn will help you hold on to the Christmas feeling for a couple of more days on December 26-27 with The Bishop’s Wife (1947), starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven.

So make plans to enjoy a holiday classic at the Michigan, Penn and Redford. And you’ll have the bonus pleasures of the model train set at the Redford, the peacefulness of Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth, and the towering Christmas tree in the spacious Grand Foyer of the Michigan.

When you’re not experiencing Christmas in the 1940s at these movie houses, you might switch on your T.V. for film fun from the same era. AMC is showing Christmas Eve (1947), with George Raft, while TCM is screening Holiday Affair (1949), starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh.

And in February 2008, you can hear Judy Garland sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). The Redford is showing this romantic comedy on February 15-16 as a Valentine’s Day treat for its patrons.

Detroit Movie Palaces Home Page

Copyright © 2007 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.


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    2 Responses to Christmas in the 1940s

    1. Laura Barnes says:

      I agree with you 1940’s Christmas movies are awesome. I love “It’s A Wonderful Life” I’ve seen it so many times and I never get tired of it. I even met Zuzu (Karolyn Grimes) at the Redford a few years back. It was an exciting night meeting her because I love the movie so much.

      I’m also please to see you mention the Penn! A great place to see a film too.

      Lastly, I love the front page of your web site. Having photos of the places you feature is very nice. However, the DIA really needs a marquee to dress things up a bit. (ha-ha) It is such a beautiful theater on the inside and it has always been a mystery to me why they don’t have a cool marquee.

    2. Administrator says:

      Thanks for the nice comments about the photos. I was waiting for the DIA renovation to finish before posting any photos so that the DFT would look as good as the other theaters. It’s interesting how each theater uses arches in its designs, both inside and outside the theaters.

      Also, I saw The Bishop’s Wife at the Penn, and there was Karolyn Grimes again, as the daughter of David Niven and Loretta Young. The movie also had Bobby Anderson, who played the young George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life.

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