Born in 1924, I remember the beautiful Strand/Michigan Theatre. On that stage a magician asked for a red-haired boy to help. My brother, about 12, called out “Here I am” and ran onto the stage. After the trick, he gave Carlyle the white rabbit and it peed on our hands, and we ran home to show our folks.
Later W.J.I.M. radio broadcast the “Uncle Howdy’s Kiddies Jamboree” on Saturday mornings. Talented kids sang and danced on that stage.
When the curtains separated, we could see the Pathe World News and laugh at Adolph Hitler. After the coming attractions, the main feature started. We saw Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby and other great movies in early color as “Gone with the Wind,” starring Clark Gable.
I saw the owner, Mr. Butterfield, form long lines from the box office to the doors and the beautiful winding stairway to the balcony. His nephew was in my class at Central High School. My friends carried flashlights and ushered folks to a seat. Anyone could go in in or leave or stay over (“this is where I came in”).
When that beautiful organ played and raised up by the stage is another memory. That organ was saved and is at the Opera House in Grand Ledge.
I have fine memories of that arcade and theater.
It is a shame many attempts to save it were unsuccessful.
Now after 100 years, I urge Lansingites to take notice of that facade you mentioned in your story!
Kathleen Graham Kehren
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