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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Theatre Comique: 1910

Theatre Comique: 1910

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1910. "Theatre Comique." Bring the kids! 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Clear Boots

Someone else must notice the blurred figure of a man on the left (top hat and all) standing on the sidewalk. Camera mishap? "ghost?" Why are the boots clarified while the body and head remain blurred?

[When you're walking, your feet are the only parts that stop moving forward, if only for a fraction of a second, each time you make a footfall. - Dave]

Also on the bill

"Self Explanatory Animated Pictures"

Motion pictures *and* live entertainment? A true multimedia experience!

All the while being "High Class", with "Courtesy and Refinement."

More Entertaining Surroundings?

If I could go back in time, I think I'd rather grab a stogie from the shop on the far right, and then walk into the door on the far left.

At least a dollar

was required in some places to avoid being classified as a vagrant. My father worked for a large plumbing company in the late 20s and 30s and was sent all over the country. He always carried one Morgan silver dollar at all times. In fact, he carried it for so long that it wore slick with just a trace left of the liberty head. I foolishly traded it at the bank for a newer one back when you could do so. I never thought about how it likely kept him from being arrested as a vagrant.

Zee high class theatre!

Theatre Comique is French for "Funny Theater"

One might guess that using the French spelling make it look like a high class act?

Broadway, Detroit style

According to Craig Morrison's 2006 book "Theaters" (published by the Library of Congress and W.W. Norton), this place was at 1249-1251 Broadway (presumably using the post-1921 building numbering system). Designed by locally-born theatre architect C. Howard Crane, it was initially named the Crystal Theatre when it opened in 1905, but reopened at the Comique in 1908. The location is now a small parking lot, beneath the People Mover and next to a suit store called The Broadway.

Above All

It's all HIGH CLASS !

Beckoning Theater Front

but it is the bar next door that must been a work of art, what with the beautiful stained glass windows. The back bar which I can just visualize had to be a classic of the period.


Best show in town ... for the money. Translation: "Hey, whaddya expect for five cents?"

This Week's Bill

  • Smith & Adams: A Scream.
  • The Great Shomers: Equilibrists Extraordinary. Physical Marvels. (possibly William Eugene Shomers and Frances Mae Hatfield.)
  • Billy Hines: A Top Notch Comedian.
  • George Deonzo: (possibly of the Deonzo Brothers, famous Barrel-jumping acrobats.

1249 Broadway

The Theatre Comique, whose roots in Detroit go back to 1849, was renamed the Comique Theatre when it started showing motion pictures around 1920.

Over nine hours for a nickel!

What a steal! Where else can one hang out for that long in an enjoyable atmosphere and not be called a wayward vagrant. Years ago an unemployed friend of mine was picked up for vagrancy charges when he was simply standing on a city street for too long and it seems they determined he was a criminal because he had less than 40 cents in his pockets and no job. Why, this nickel would have bought him over a week of shelter and amusement, not to mention being entertained by the Great Shomers (and avoided a police record) all the while. Youse guys got a lotta class! As an aside, I'm pretty sure that leaving several baby strollers unattended on the sidewalk today would mean they would be long-gone when the show was over. What can we get for a nickel today? Not even a postage stamp or a gumball. We ain't got no class.

For my 5 cents

Can I stay as long as I like? Oh wait.

I can't remember

the last time I caught a show with some extraordinary equilibrists.


Courtesy and refinement! Safety and comfort! Those other joints make you choose.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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