Douglas Auto Theater
From 1955 until 1985, local movie-goers could watch their favorite films from inside their automobiles at the Douglas Auto Theater, located at 1900 Douglas Avenue. Albert W. Ochs built and managed both the Douglas Auto Theater and the Portage Auto Theater (5528 Portage, Portage Township) until they were purchased by a Detroit-based firm, Butterfield Theaters Inc. in 1961.
While the theater grounds and large screen no longer exist, its neon marquee, comprised of both a Model T and a modern car, proudly hangs in the Henry Ford Museum, a donation from Kalamazoo College in 1987. The theater’s luminous sign, the last vestige of a once booming form of entertainment in post-war America, was produced locally by the Mullholland Sign Company.
Written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library Staff, July 2021.
“Drive-in Theaters Here Purchased”
Kalamazoo Gazette, 14 March 1961
“Kalamazoo Signs That Surely Shined: The Mulholland Sign Company”
museON, Winter 2017
Henry Ford Museum