Ah, the Royal. One of the rites of passage then was to sneak into the Royal and see a movie with about as much skin as a Sears lingerie ad.
The Royal was owned by Nate Swartz (at the time of this photo) who owned a whole chain of these types of entertainment establishments all the way down the I-75 corridor, ending in Florida. I recall that he was also an investor in the infamous "Sceen" drive-in located in Durand, Michigan, more commonly known as the "Durand Dirties". I saw the premier of Linda Lovelace's movie there. And yes,they did have topless woman in the concession area and 25 cent peep shows in the bathrooms, plus much more. He also owned a few sports bars in the area. After his retirement his son named one "Nathan J's" on Dort highway in Flint after his father. I went to school with his sons. My brother and I were good friends with the projectionist there. He was also the projectionist at the capital and Palace theaters in downtown Flint and also the "WEST SIDE" drive-in on Corunna rd. in Flint township. We always watched the movies from the projection booth. "I miss you Mike if your still around". I still have a photo of you and us on my living room wall. Back to the Royal. Two of my in-laws worked there in the late 60's early 70's. I had to stop in there one evening on the way to Hurley hospital, when my brother in-law got shot through the leg at Industrial and Selby st. on the north-end. His mother was not very thrilled about this visit. "We could always find trouble in Flint". My own mother saw Gypsy Rose Lee there back when it was called the "Rialto". I also notice "Marshall Music" across the street. Spent many hours there. Many good people worked there. They were the distributors for the famous "West" amps, built originally in Flint, Michigan by our own Dave West. The factory that I visited for warranty work on our West equipment back then was located in Lansing, Michigan. Dave West was, and still is a great guy. He is still making amplifiers. This is one great photo. A picture "IS" worth a thousand words.
Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.