Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale Hits Theaters Sept 15

Jamon Jordan will be joined by Motown legend Martha Reeves; the film’s Director, Aaron Schillinger, and other key contributors for the Q&A session at the Royal Oak Emagine (200 N Main Street) on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Boblo Boat and Boblo Island

Opening in theaters September 15, the filmmakers of “Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale,” the documentary exploring the rich history of Boblo Island amusement park and its ferries are inviting you out to the theaters. Following the two oldest surviving passenger steamboats in America, “Boblo Boats” is narrated from the perspective of the beloved steamboat SS Columbia, voiced by Motown legend Martha Reeves, and follows preservationists’ efforts to save her sister ship.

This film and its screening was bought to you by Jamon Jordan, the films’ producer who will be joined by Reeves and the film’s Director, Aaron Schillinger for the Q&A session at the Royal Oak Emagine on 200 N Main Street in Royal Oak, Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7pm est.

The theatrical run has expanded to more than twenty cities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, with additional screenings across the U.S. and Canada later in the fall. Currently, the film is playing at Emagine Theatres, Sperry’s Moviehouse, Celebration Cinemas and the Mariner Theater.

“My grandfather was captain of SS Columbia and I named my company Lucky Hat after an old bucket cap he used to wear. Plus, we have the voice of the great Martha Reeves in our film! I know there are boat nerds, history buffs and doc lovers everywhere, and we’ll do our best to accommodate them all. Ideally in a dark theater and on a big screen.”

Boblo Boats is narrated by Martha Reeves

“Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale,” Documentary

The film sheds light on the largely forgotten civil rights pioneer, Sarah Elizabeth Ray, who forced the integration of Boblo Island in 1945. Detroit’s Chief Historian Jamon Jordan reflects on the impact that Boblo and Sarah E. Ray had on his life. 


“I went to Boblo my whole life, two or three times a year, and I never knew that I owed the ability to go to some woman who had fought this fight for me a long time ago,” said Jordan. “This other history used to be present, but at some point, it’s been forgotten. It was not passed down in the schools, it wasn’t passed down in other forms of media. It is beginning to be talked about now, because there has been a whole generation of scholars and historians who’ve been writing about this and who have focused on this history.”

A Boblo museum exhibit inspired by the film is now open at The Mariner Theater in Marine City. The exhibit is free to the public and includes the original Boblo Bear costume, props from the film’s animation sequences and other surprising Boblo ephemera. “We are living in an era of nostalgia,” said Laura Merchant, owner of the Mariner Theater. The documentary is tapping into an audience’s desire to relive their past and happy memories, while also sharing important Boblo history they never knew about as kids.”

For more information, and to watch a trailer of “Boblo Boats: A Detroit Ferry Tale,” please visit the website:



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