Miracle Mile Drive-In - Michigandriveins.com


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Miracle Mile Drive-In Theater
Pontiac Michigan
Michigan Drive-In Theaters - Michigandriveins.com
Name: Miracle Mile Drive-In (Pontiac)
Address: 2103 S. Telegraph Rd. Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
County: Oakland
Open Date: 6/30/60
Close Date: 1986
Status: Demolished, vacant lot, ramps remain
Car Capacity: 1,600
Screen Count: 1
Owners: Elton & Marjorie Samuels - National Amusements
Submit: Info On This Drive-In
Notes: n/a
Miracle Mile Drive-In

Miracle Mile Drive-In Theater
History & Comments

News Article: The New Miracle Mile Drive-In at Pontiac, Mich., 25 miles north of Detroit, has incorporated a number of "firsts" in it's construction, and introduces a new architectural design in theatres - the "galloping roof" is the adequately descriptive name for it. This feature, widely adapted in various types of building in the past few years, has a light, airy effect, and is thought by some to be of Japanese or Italian inspiration. It appears on the principal structures, aside from the screen tower, at the Miracle Mile. The drive-in was erected by Elton L. and Marjorie Samuels on a 32-acre site at a cost of $648,000. Samuels has been in show business in the Detroit area for 28 years, and is the owner of the Pontiac Drive-In at Pontiac, the Waterford Drive-In at Waterford - rated as the second oldest outdoor theatre in Michigan - and the Jackson Drive-In at Jackson.

The Miracle serves as an anchor for the 52-store Miracle Mile Shopping Center in the southwestern outskirts of Pontiac. The theatre plays on a Pontiac first-run basis. The drive-in has a capacity of 1,550 cars, with room to expand to 1,800. There are 25 ramps, the first about 100 feet from the screen tower and the 25th 1,100 feet away. The projection building is located about 400 feet from the tower, and houses three projection machines, two of which are capable of handling 70mm prints. The drive-in is the only outdoor theatre in the state equipped for 70mm projection. Like everything else at the drive-in, the screen tower is jumbo-size. The tower is 85 feet high and 140 feet wide, and it took 86 tons of steel and 328 cubic yards of footings concrete to erect it. The screen takes in the full width and height of the tower facing. At the rear of the screen face are six eight-foot supporting pylons which comprise the essential supporting structure. The pylons are finished in three colors-blue, orange and pink-and are flooded at night to provide an impressive appearance from the highway. The screen structure also serves as a storage vault and a garage for utility trucks and tractors used by the theatre, as well as providing housing for the water system which is serviced by a 135-foot deep well.

With its extensive acreage, the drive-in has been designed to provide a maximum of efficiency in operation. Particularly impressive is the expansiveness of the entrance and exit area. A two-lane roadway for both entrance and exit IS provided, running in 900 feet from the highway. The two roads are parallel, separated by a ten-foot island with standing hooded lights, and run straight from the road at 90 degrees for about 700 feet, then turn at rlght angles southward for about 200 feet to reach the boxoffices. The theatre is located a considerable distance off the road itself, providing holdout space for about 300 cars at peak hours in full safety. The theatre will also have a separate entrance and exit direct from the shopping center, and close to the boxoffice, still to be constructed. At the entrance is what is said to be the largest sign ever installed at a Michigan drive-in. It is 33 feet high by 37 feet long. The attraction board provides for five lines of interchangeable lettering, using three-dimensional lettering in red and green.

The two double boxoffices, each serving two lanes of cars, provide the keynote of the theatre as the patrons enter - with four gables or "galloping roofs." These are outlined in white flasher lights. The boxoffices, of masonry construction, are painted yellow with orange trim, while the lower parts of the four eye-catching gables are painted in a variety of colors. Each boxoffice has its own planter The boxoffices are of the self-serve type - the customer reaches to the cashiers window with his change and to pick up his ticket, and no car hops are required. One man is stationed on duty as a traffic director. At the west side of the boxoffices is a two-story structure, also with gabled roof, matching the boxoffice construction. The lower floor houses the room for the ushers, a stockroom, and some utility controls, while the upper floor serves as the managers office, and is called the "Pilot House" as it is possible to see out over the entire theatre with the exception of the front of the screen. The "house" has clear glass windows along the entire front and most of two sides. It has light bleached mahogany paneling, with masonry on the sidewalls finished in light apple green.

Recreational facilities are extensive. The playground, 50 by 100 feet, is located between the projection booth and the concession building - an unusual location, which has brought much favorable patron comment. It is convenient to both children and the public, being close to the middle of the theatre. Positioning here has an added profitable effect - it increases the concessions business. With a patio located in front of the concessions stand, patrons can sit here and see their youngsters at play while they enjoy the picture. The playground is equipped with twelve pieces of equipment, including swings, slides, merry-go-round, and the like. The attractive concessions building is 100x70 feet, and uses the galloping-roof feature, with 11 gables. This architectural feature, a sort of projecting eave, has been called "neo-Gothic" when used in church design with an arch construction. Each gable is painted in multicolor; the whole effect is called "dazzling" by observers. The exterior of the concessions building is of masonry construction, painted in turquoise and orange. It has two attached wings at the rear, housing the mens and womens restrooms, and screened by an open masonry structure giving a trellis-like effect. The womens restroom has 10 standard lavatories and 10 French-type urinals, while the mens room has three lavatories and 12 urinals. This large provision for patron comfort is an important feature of this big drive-in. The restrooms have floors of terrazzo. with walls of ceramic tile for easy maintenance. The ladies room has two well-lit vanities and a large davenport. with furnishings in a gold tone.

In the concessions area, patrons are serviced by a 100-foot counter, with five complete self-service stations - each with its own cashier. In addition, there is a large specialty counter at the front-center of the building, designed to serve customers on the patio through a window counter arrangement. The specialty counter serves chili, pizza, snow cones, sandwiches, and specialty drinks such as lemonade. The regular station counters serve the fast moving items - such as popcorn, candy, coffee, hot dogs and soft drinks - no hamburgers. The specialty counter handles mostly items which are slower moving and require preparation time. A boiler room is installed in the rear section of the concessions building, with three furnaces - two for the concessions area and one for the restrooms. These are gas-fired and provide heat for year-round operation of this important facility. Boxoffices are separately heated by gas units - one furnace heats the office building and another the projection booth. The entire theatre area is enclosed by cyclone fencing. An important control feature is an inter-communication system of the latest design installed by Michigan Bell Telephone Co. has five stations - in each box-office, the theatre office, projection room, and concessions stand, allowing easy communication and control of operations. National Theatre Supply Co. had the contract for equipping the theatre.

CREDITS: Architect: Robert Snyder Associates - Attraction board: W. Horstman - Changeable letters: Bevelite - Concessionaire: L&L Concessions - Intercommunications: Michigan Bell Telephone Co. - Heaters: Eprad - Lamps: Ashcraft Super Cinex - Projectors: Bauer U2 70-35mm, Simplex XL 35mm - Playground Equipment: Miracle - Outdoor seating: American Seating Co. - Sound: Simplex XL - Speakers: National Theatre Supply (Boxoffice Magazine 10/60)

News Article: Redstone has started construction on a three-auditorium theatre on its property adjoining the circuit's Miracle Mile Drive-In at Pontiac. (Boxoffice Magazine 5/12/69)

Status: MIRACLE MILE -- S Telegraph Rd, Bloomfield Hills -- Lost in the late 80's. (Evil Sams Drive-In Theatre Guide/Fredrick R. 1996)

Update: The Miracle Mile was not replaced by an indoor theater, is was simply demolished. The vacant lot remains behind a mall. (Michigandriveins.com 1/02)

Update: I am submitting pictures of a ticket stub from the Miracle Mile Drive-In Theatre in Pontiac, MI. The ticket stub was recently found under the backseat of a 1967 Pontiac GTO (bought new by my parents) that I am having restored. I don't know the specific age of the ticket. However, my parents moved to MIchigan in June/July 1968 and the GTO was regulary driven until approx. 1975 before being stored. The actual size of the ticket stub is 2"x7/8". (Scott DeRaad 11/21/04)

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