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The address is in dispute somewhat with this one. I am using 23025 Van Dyke as a Detroit Free Press Article from 1973 indicates that was the address of the roller rink which we know is the same place. Most articles and documents say the building was on the corner of 9 Mile and Van Dyke. That address doesn't exist of course but Google Maps takes you right to the intersection of 9 and Van Dyke. The final note on that is a post from Ross Quinlan who worked for the post office right nearby. He also states it was a Van Dyke address.
This place began as a theater and was eventually converted to a roller rink in 1961. That lasted until 1986. As the roller rink, it also hosted live music. In fact many big bands of the 80's performed there including The Pretenders, John Lydon (Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols), Rick Derringer and Pat Benatar to name a few. It was eventually demolished and there is no trace of it today. That corner is totally re-built now.
From Andy Gray
Here are three photos that my Grandfather (Al Johnson) apparently took, which I found last month among his papers. His handwritten notes are on the back of two of them.
Today we'll look at another former Warren movie house called the *Motor City Theatre, *which stood at 8120 E. Nine Mile Road. My uncle's list shows the* Motor City* as a 1939 Johnson Construction Company project.* *My grandfather Al Johnson's slide, taken in August 1948, shows a relatively large entrance with four sets of double doors and an immense vertical *Motor City *neon sign above the marquee. The 1948 film "Alias a Gentleman" with Wallace Beery, and the 1937 Western *"Rustler's Valley" *were showing at the time.
In the same building, a drugstore can be seen to the left of the theatre. The visible sides of the building facing the two streets are done up in a nice art moderne or art deco style.
The *Cinema Treasures *website provides this brief history: "The Motor City Theater opened in 1939 and closed around 1960. A year later the building was converted into the Motor City Roller Rink. The building was demolished in the 1980’s and replaced by a strip mall."