Thursday, September 17, 2009

Inside I.M.A. Auditorium


The late, great I.M.A. Auditorium frequently comes up in comments from readers who remember everything from dances to Alice Cooper concerts. I just realized I have some interior shots of I.M.A. by Mary Fisher, who has provided numerous other great images of Flint. The photos below are from the 1979 G.M.I. graduation ceremony.




43 comments:

  1. IMA Audutorium. Site of my 1st concert: "Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band", Fall 1976. I was 14, my buddy was 14, and our mothers dropped us off and picked us up. Too Funny!!

    I also recall this was my first experience with being sold concert drugs. In the restroom there was a guy wearing a long black trench coat. He opened both sides a la the classic flasher, and hanging inside were pills, weeds, liquids, dots of all colors and varieties. At the time I wasn't a drug user...that would come about two years later.

    Ah...such great partial memories.

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  2. How about the Jimi Hendrix show at the IMA on March 24th, 1968? Soft Machine, The Rationals and The Frut Of The Loom (who I believe opened up with a song called "Blow Me...") were also on the bill.

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  3. I remember seeing my Dads name on the wall listing all of the WWII veterans . It was awesome as a child and I wish I knew what happened to that wall and the placques when it was torn down...

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  4. Former Flintoid Martha Manwaring apparently has tons of backstage pictures from the mid 70s of Black Oak Arkansas (Jim Dandy!), Rush, Alice Cooper and the like from her days as an intrepid Carman High School news photographer. She told me her school issued press pass was all she needed to get a close up of Geddy Lee's handsome visage!?!

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    1. Lets see those pics.. that would be awesome!

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  5. Saw Leon Russell and the Pointer Sisters there. He never left the set once. Great show worth every penny. Saw Homer and Jethro at the Flint Sports and Boat Show in early fifties. Saw Spike Jones and The City Slickers featuring George Rock on the trumpet and Doodles Weaver singing "Beetle Bomb". A big hit in the late forties. ELO, but don't remember much that night....unclebuck

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  6. I was also always thrilled to see my Dad's name on the WWII wall. Memorable visits to the IMA were for the annual Shrine Circus and the occasional Globetrotters game. I talked my Dad into taking me to a big time wrestling show featuring the Sheik, Dick the Bruiser and Crusher Cortez. The highlight for me was a fight that broke out between two women a couple of rows below us. At an early sixties hot rod show I was fortunate to get a "Rat Fink" t-shirt personally autographed by the one and only Ed "Big Daddy"Roth. Ah the memories of that place.

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  7. One doesn't need big name music groups to have fond memories of the IMA. Also think of the Shrine Circus visits each January from the late 50's through at least the mid 70's when I finally left Flint for other places.

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  8. Here are a couple of other names of people that I got a chance to see at the old IMA that will probably bring back a few memories for everyone:

    Yes (when Rick Wakeman still was on keyboards)

    Jethro Tull

    I can even remember seeing Cheech and Chong at the old IMA.

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  9. Oh the memories; Bobo and his talking horse in the late 40's and who can forget the late great Boxcar Willie in the early fifties (before he went main stream). And talk about proud, my dad was a reserve cop who was able to fast track us thru the traffic snarl each year when the circus came to town.

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  10. Ahh...many fond memories of the "Old" IMA.....Shrine Circus, Car Shows......and concerts in the late 70's

    my first experience with a power hitter, looked like a big plastic mustard jar, take the top off insert the herbal stick, light put the lid back on and squeeze....worked like a fogger

    my first concert...Foreigner...then

    Heart, REO, Santana, and others i cant remember for some reason

    i remember also the old army stretchers used to carry out those who were out of it....scores of teens passed out in the hallways
    ahh the memories

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  11. I saw the Harlem Globetrotters with my grandparents at the IMA.

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  12. The first real act I saw there (not counting the yearly Shrine Circus visits) was the one and only "Johnny Ginger".

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  13. I saw Jock Leslie Bill Eddy and several other Flint boxers there.Flint was quite a fight town in the late 40's.

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  14. I played in the Bentley band at the IMA for a Jimmy Carter appearance the night before he was elected President.

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  15. Grandad took me to my first concert there, Johnny Cash in the mid 60s.In the 70s Carl Casper custom auto shows, Golden Gloves, Circus,
    Blue Oyster Cult, Robin Trower, Van Halen. In my early teens we used to skip school and take money out of the water fountains out front to buy baked goods at a nearby bakery.

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  16. Remember seeing Joanie Weston and the San francisco Bay Boomers skate at the late and great IMA.

    Plus, Many Rock & Roll shows from 1971 through 1975. Potlicker and Swish showed up and video taped of the day the IMA came down. BOOM. We talked to other old hippies that had stories of the the old days and shows at the IMA. Many Alice Copper shows Smokin OP's Black Oak, J. Giles, Mountain and more.

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  17. Hey Swish, do you remember summer back in 72, the STK show? A band named Julia warmed up Humble Pie, and they played their 'I Don't Need No Doctor' set, and they warmed up a home boy, Bob Seger with Teegarden and Van Winkle. They did the 'Smokin' O.P.'s' set along with some old and new stuff for that time.

    Julia finished their set with 'Sweet Judy Blue Eyes' and they nailed it. Comes to find out Bob hooked up with them later and formed 'The Silver Bullet Band'. History was never this much fun at Flushing High School.

    Other great shows that I remember were, Alice Cooper when Micky Dolen came stunbleing on stage and Alice pick him up. Ted Nugent, Golden Ear Ring, Joe Cocker, Joe Walsh, Johnny Winters, Rush, Robin Tower, ELO, America, and many others. I remember the NO SMOKING signs way up High in the building, it was a good place to lay your coats.

    But, the biggest hit that I remember was on that snowy morn of the implosion, and the roof hitting the ground. With in a few minutes the building was reduced to a pile of brick, rubble, and dust in the wind.

    Ya hey! I remember that day, I still have the video we made and I remember we passed one around and held it in until nothing came out, such good finish.

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  18. Barry (toughman8xchamp@aol.com)January 25, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    I remember watching the Golden Gloves at the IMA. In 1972 (I think this was the year) they let juniors fight in the Golden Gloves so I was able to fight and win! The most vivid memory of the Golden Gloves is the cloud of smoke that formed during the night. It was like a nuclear mushroom cloud. I am sure that was real healthy for all of us kids that were fighting!

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  19. Barry -- think about the smoke that hung over the crowd at the IMA during the Cheech and Chong concert....it might not have been nuclear but the smoke blew more than a few people away, if you catch my drift.

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  20. I saw many shows over the years... Black Sabbath/Ten Years After/Uriah Heep (twice) /Amboy Dukes/Rush/ELO twice (once with Roxy Music)/Frampton/Seger (w/Steve Hillage)/Nazareth (w/Golden Earring)/probably a couple more

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  21. i wish i could have seen hendrix..

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  22. Just a great place to hang out as a teenager, no violence, just great fun listening to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, "Bob Seger System, MC5, Mott The Hoople, New York Dolls, Iggy, David Bowie, Joe Cocker and many more. Nothing but clouds of smoke that would make ya choke, but not croak.

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  23. The IMA is where the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus used to be when I was a kid growing up in Flint. The implosion of the building is one of the saddest things. Flint used to be one of the best places to live and I'm so glad I spent my early childhood there.

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  24. Gingersgems -- If my memory serves me correct it wasn't the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Circus that came to the I.M.A. (they were too big of a circus and only toured the major cities like New York, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, L.A., etc)-- but I can't remember the name of the Circus that the Shriners right now.

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  25. The names of all the vets were (last time I remember) in front of the durand hotel. At the point where saginaw St makes that sharp turn

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    1. I was at the Hendrix show. Great opening acts, except Soft Machine,
      A bloody bore.

      Henrix did not like the audience yelling for Purple Haze. "That song would be
      more of a drag for me than you" After 4 or 5 tunes he blew out his amps.
      Did not return to the stage and listened to a 20 minute drum-bass solo.

      Was a great day of music nonetheless

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  26. The money invested into making Auto World would have been better spent keeping the I.M.A open

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  27. Does anybody know what smash hit was performed LIVE for the very first time at the IMA? It was Don McLean's "American Pie," performed solo with Don and his acoustic as the opening act to Blood, Sweat, and Tears. I think the year was 1971 or 72. He had the whole place singing the chorus by the time he was done. Great memories.

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  28. My Dad was a stagehand who worked at the IMA from the early 50's until it closed. He would always bring me, my brothers and sisters to see the Shrine Circus (I believe that Circus' actual name was The Royal Hanneford Circus). When we were quite young Dad would bring us backstage before showtime, where we would pet the elephants and be entertained by the clowns. We saw the Ice Capades every year, too. We also had the pleasure of seeing the Harlem Globetrotters, Golden Gloves, Wrestling, the Sports Show, the Custom Auto Show, the Christmas Show, and many Travelogues. As we reached our teen years, our tastes naturally changed. In about '67 two of my sisters saw The Supremes and their opening act, Little Stevie Wonder. I turned 13 in 1970, and I caught a lot of great shows over the ensuing years: Jethro Tull right after they released 'Benefit'; Deep Purple; Robin Trower; Frank Zappa; George Carlin; Blue Oyster Cult; The New York Dolls w/ opening act Kiss, and many others. Yeah, the place got a little smoky back then. Vinnie's Bowling Bar was around the corner, and we'd often start or end the night at that fantastic little dive.
    I haven't lived in Flint for about 30 years, but I have such fond memories of the town... It was a sad day when the IMA became Autoworld, and when it was demolished a few years later.

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  29. I grew up in Flint and remember seeing (at a very young age) Gene Autry and his horse Champion at the IMA. My most memorable concert was in 1958 with Danny and the Juniors, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis (all on stage that same day) along with others. I was right down in front and still couldn't hear the singers because of the screaming fans. But I loved every minute of it. First time I realized that the performers were wearing eye make-up...what a shock to a 12 year old boy.

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  30. Blue Oyster Cult + Thin Lizzy
    http://www.thinlizzyguide.com/tours/dates/1978/780911.htm

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  31. Saw my first concert at the IMA. The "Guess Who" from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Great concert! They had a string of hits which included American Woman.

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  32. I think the first concert i ever attended at I.M.A. was Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. It must of been 1971 or '72 because we were dropped off and picked up by my buddy's parents. I was on the Uriah Heep website(they list all of their concerts from the start of the band) but Flint isn't listed. Does anybody remember seeing U.H. and D.P. at the I.M.A.or am I mixed up?

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    1. Yes I saw both bands there but can't remember if it was on the same night. Could very well be.

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    2. DP played IMA on 31 March 1972 (without Ritchie, he was ill; support: Buddy Miles and Nazareth) and on 8 December 1972 (support: Fleetwood Mac and Dick Heckstall-Smith).

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  33. Does anyone remember if Joan Baez and Bob Dylan played together at the IMA in the early 60s, maybe '65. I saw a folk concert there and can't remember the details. If so contact me at rscottenglish @gmail.com

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  34. I saw Montrose, Van Halen open for Journey in about 1977. 7.50 a ticket! Van Halen blew journey off the stage.

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    1. yes…it was VH, Montrose, & Journey. It was VH first American tour. The drummer for Montrose's Open Fire tour that eve was Steve Smith, who eventually joined Journey. And Journey just came out w/Infinity…and featured new singer Steve Perry. what a night!!

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  35. Life long memory: looking down from the balcony,on black quintet I white suits washed blue by the lighting and singing. "Mood indigo"

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  36. "Mood Indigo" in 1940

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  37. I remember Billy Cobham, BTO,Black Sabbath,ELO,James Gang,Roxy Music, J. Geils, Frank Zappa, Uriah Heep, as welll as the annual Shrine Circus, Harlem Globe Trotters, Car shows, and Wrestling with Dick the Bruiser, Bulldog Brower, the original Sheik,and ........I forget! What a great venue, what a great loss. Remember a Zappa concert in Saginaw where the cops were dragging (literally) away anyone who lit up a joint, and thinking how much more fun the I.M.A. was.

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