Old Regent Theatre
Paranormal activity began during its restoration.
Spirits still love this place of the arts; spectral theatre enthusiasts and staff as well.
The Old Regent Theatre is owned and operated by the City of Allegan, and shows recently released films every Friday through Tuesday. Free summer matinees are also offered with the help of generous, local sponsors.
“In addition to first-run feature films, the Regent Theatre offers unique films series throughout the year, made possible by generous local sponsors. The Free Summer Matinees that run during Summer Break from June-August feature free family-friendly movies on a weekly basis. During the month of October, each weekend features a different late night horror flick as part of the Shocktober! series, and the Fa La La Fridays series provides a free holiday movie every weekend in December before Christmas.”
The Old Regent Theatre is a film & non-film events theatre, with an authentic 1930s aura, inside and out. It was restored the first time in 1996, and again in 1997, in its Art Deco 1930s style, made popular at the 1925 World’s Fair. The Regent Theatre has “a cream-colored Vitrolite facade with red and green highlights. The six second-story windows have been closed up and covered with Vitrolite with abstract decoration on them.”
The “late Streamline era” marquee, is decorated with just one large white star, powered with neon and light bulbs.
The Theatre also has its original 20 x 30 screen, one of the biggest screens in Michigan; a bonus to the film lover, whether they’re watching newly released films or classics of yesteryear. In the auditorium, there are 205 comfortable seats on the first floor and another 140 in the balcony, with a total of 345 seats for patrons. The historic panels in the 345 red seat auditorium were recreated and the original 1930s red carpeting was restored.
Since 2017, the original, 1950 (now restored) Simplex film projectors been on display in the lobby. It was replaced in December of 2012 with a digital projection machine. This is the only such restored projector in the state.
The Theatre can be rented for special occasions and school activities for a very reasonable price with added perks if desired.
This beautiful Art Deco Theatre is loved by the community and hosts social events for many people looking for a unique venue. It is a beloved Allegan City treasure.
The building which houses the Old Regent Theatre has been transformed and renewed over the years to meet the needs of the community. It was originally built to be a horse livery stable back in the late 1800s. In 1902, the building was converted to become a buick garage. Seventeen years later, a real change came that would bring joy and peace to the entire community.
In 1919, the building morphed, surprisingly, into a Vaudeville Theatre and a silent movie house as well. Opening day attendees were entertained by a “live vaudeville show followed by a screening of the silent musical comedy, “Oh Boy!,” complete with full musical accompaniment in the orchestra pit of the then brand new 500 seat auditorium.”
Inspired by the World’s Fair, the Regent Theatre was given a face-lift in the 1930s. It was redone in the Art Deco style and reopened mainly as a movie theatre. New features included “the addition of the uniquely paneled interior and exterior walls, the intricately tiled lobby, and most famously, the glittering neon marquee.”
After decades of successfully entertaining the community, trouble began in the 1970s when new multi-flex cinemas popped up in the suburbs offering more than one film at a time. The Old Regent Theatre’s audience dried up enough to put the Theatre in financial chaos. One source reports that because of “a series of failed operational attempts,” the Theatre was abandoned during the 1980s, leaving a crummy shell of what it once was in its beginning.
As no one stepped forward to buy this woebegone fixer upper opportunity, it had a date with the wrecking ball in 1990. Lucky for us all, a non-profit organization, the Old Regent Theatre Company came to the rescue, and began the long process of restoring this theatre to its 1930 glory days.
The Old Regent Theatre had its grand reopening in 1996, once again showing films and hosting events for the benefit of the public. Then, in 1997, a heart-breaking disaster struck. A violent rain storm caved in the roof, ruining the inside of the theatre. The miracle was that it happened just one hour after the Regent Theatre had closed for the night, and no one was hurt.
Because of the help from various state and local grants, an unbelievably valiant community effort, and the financial support of the City of Allegan, the Regent Theatre was restored in two years, in 1999. Old Regent Theatre opened once again, much to the relief and joy of people who loved and cherished this Allegan cultural and historical treasure!
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
When an old creaky movie theater /or performance theatre building is restored or renovated into it’d former glorious state of being, spirits attached to the building can be drawn back to be active.
Stanley Theatre, NY (Spirits attached to this building were really happy to see their most beloved place in this world being restored).
Elsinore Theatre, OR (After several expensive restoration and renovation projects, the spirits of an owner and folks who loved working there, enthusiastically embraced the activities of the living).
Paramount Theatre, TX (A life’s dream restored and a beloved workplace may be the cause of very mild activity).
Old Regency Theatre, MI (After the 1990 restoration of this theatre, spirits began to make themselves known, extremely happy to see the beauty of this place once more time).
Spirits who have attached themselves to their structure over its long history, stay there even when the building is used for another business or purpose for a variety of reasons.
The Chimneys, VA (This structure was once a station on the Underground Railroad and a family’s forever home. It now has a commercial business on the first floor).
Brumder Mansion, WI (This Victorian, Arts and Crafts building has been a family home, a speakeasy, a boarding house, a parsonage for Our Saviors ELCA, a home to the outreach ministry of Next Door Foundation, and a bed and breakfast with a theatre in the basement. Spirits here have come from each of its uses during the eras).
The Broadway, Chicago, IL (The building originally started out as part of the Buena Park hotel as a horse shoe-shaped ballroom, used as a speakeasy as it was hidden behind a real store front. It became storage for other stores which occupied the storefront area, fell into disuse but was never ignored by the spirits who loved this space).
The Old Regent Theatre, MI (The spirit or spirits who call The Old Regent Theatre home, could have come from any time in its history; the livery stable period, the buick garage period, the vaudeville era at the Regent, as well as from the Regent Theatre run by various managerial teams from 1930, up until early 1980, when it closed).
People who loved their professions while alive, sometimes aren’t ready to retire just yet and continue on as best they can in spirit form.
Tampa Theatre. FL (The spirit of projectionist Foster Finley is thought to be haunting the Regent Theatre).
Pittsburgh Theatre, PA (A popular actor, John Johns still loves to try to be involved, even as a spirit).
Boulder Theatre, OR (The spirit of Manager George Paper still is doing his job with enthusiasm, as well as supervising in the theatre cafe named after him).
Old Regent Theatre, MI (The spirit of a welcoming presence has been noticed in the lobby. He or she does not let the fact that he or she is in spirit form stop them from fulfilling their duties of hospitality. It is suspected that this spirit is Francis Falk, who worked up to his death in 1999. He had many jobs. He ran concessions, did cleanup, was in charge of maintenance, was the ticket-taker and of course was the projectionist).
People who once found theatres as a place of escape and solace and peace, may still do as spirits order to calm their restlessness as they relive their fond memories and continue to enjoy the new shows presented by living thespians).
Kansas City Music Hall, MO (While most spirits who enjoy this space are model spectral guests, there are always some troublemakers).
Cincinnati Music Hall, OH (Spirits love to appear in their finest as they attend the concerts and performances here, which helps them calm their restlessness).
The Paramount Theatre, TX (They are a gentle group who act like polite guests who just don’t pay for their seats).
The Old Regent Theatre, MI (Actors who don’t want to leave the stage just yet).
(Movie enthusiasts who once found solace and peace here, or a distraught business owner who lost his shirt in his failed theatre enterprise in this building may all find peace and feel better watching the living and reliving their own memories of good times; as they try to work through their restlessness).
Favorite places in this world are sometimes hard to let go of. Spirits like to remember the good times they had while alive.
Signs of Unseen Presences
Cold spots have been noticed and recorded.
Unseen presences have been felt by sensitive people.
The Spirit of Francis Falk
Many think that the spirit of Francis Falk still enjoys doing all his duties.
The marquee will be turned off by an unseen presence.
Footsteps are heard on the upstairs wooden floors when no one living is up in that area.
This spirit still likes to supervise in the projection booth and to relive his great memories he had there).
Personal interactions with Falk
Patrons and employees have felt a friendly cold hand on their shoulders.
For chuckles, Falk is thought to be the jokester who blows his warm breath on the backs of the living.
Employees have felt a touch/flick of their hair that reminds them of Falk, who used to do this when he was alive.
The image of Francis Falk was seen in the projectionist booth window by the new projectionist and Theatre manager the day following the memorial service of Falk.
A shadowy apparition has been seen in the projection room.
A visitor saw a group of apparitions dressed in 1800s costumes practicing on the stage.
Staff and patrons have had personal experiences inside the Regent Theatre and have seen the shadowy apparition as well. Lucky visitors also have caught a glimpse of spectral thespians rehearsing on stage.
Recent investigation reports released by the West Michigan Ghost Hunters Society show that the Old Regent Theatre is haunted.
An investigator with the West Michigan Ghost Hunter’s Society was in the Theatre lobby when they felt touch of a cold hand of an unseen presence, which backed up the personal experiences of visitors and staff.
As hard evidence, West Michigan Ghost Hunter’s Society also caught three revealing photos catch paranormal evidence on film.
Yes Indeed! Sometimes it is hard for spirits to give up the jobs that they loved while alive. A conscientious former projectionist is still working, not letting the fact that he is in sprit form stop him!
Other spirits who have a connection to this theatre are still here as well, especially in the lobby area. Perhaps the spirit of a former Theatre owner is still here, welcoming patrons as they arrive, although this could be the spirit of Falk.
Apparently, there are a group of thespians who are not quite ready to give up the stage.
211 Trowbridge Street,
Allegan, Michigan 49010.
The Old Regent Theatre can be found in south central Michigan in the city of Allegan, which straddles the allegan River which runs around and through it. Four major highways can take the traveler to Allegan; 40, 89, A37 and 222.
In the old downtown section, one finds the theater’s street, Trowbridge Street, which is just one block north and to the right of Hubbard Street, between cross streets Chestnut Street and Locust Street.
“The Old Regent Theatre is owned and operated by the City of Allegan. Showing recently released films every Friday through Tuesday.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr
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