Shortly after World War II, three Dearborn brothers bought a vacant parcel to build a drive-in theater. Local groups opposed them, fearing such a place would elicit “immoral behavior.” But the Clark family persevered to see its movie palace become a Metro Detroit mainstay, hosting celebrities, rock stars and a never-ending line of families with kids in footie pajamas. A handshake transferred ownership to movie magnate Charles Shafer and his business partner, Bill Clark, who expanded the theater to a massive nine screens. But blockbusters and hordes of teens couldn’t mitigate the effects of Detroit’s decline, auto company bankruptcies and Michigan’s economic malaise. Despite it all, the mighty Ford-Wyoming kept the movies showing, bringing a bit of Hollywood glamour to the gritty Motor City.
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