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From Cinema Treasures
The State Theater was first operated by the Shafers in 1946 for Wayne Amusements. It was just a couple of yards away from the Wayne Theatre in which it was meant to replace. The State Wayne Theater was originally a single screen theater, later carved in 4 screens, when National Amusements operated the theater. When the city of Wayne took over the theater, they took out the 2 existing storefronts and filled them in for restrooms.
As part of the agreement when the city took over the State Wayne Theaters from National Amusements, they could not show first run movies, only sub-run. The theater also has yearly plays put on. By 2012 it was operated by Phoenix Theatres and in 2015 was playing first run movies.
From Andy Gray
This photo of the State Theatre Simplex Projectors was taken by John Colburn on 9-19-1947. The photo was found in July 2022 among Anne Johnson's photos. Anne was the widow of Albert S. Johnson Sr. - whose Johnson Construction Company built the State Theatre in 1946. Al and Anne were my maternal grandparents.
The last vintage Kodachrome slide of the theaters built by the Johnson Construction Company is of the State Theatre in Wayne, Michigan. Albert S. Johnson Jr.'s list shows this as a 1946 project, and my grandfather (Albert S. Johnson Sr.) shot a slide two years later in June 1948.
Al's slide shows the beautiful curved entrance with three pairs of the familiar art moderne style double doors in natural color. An impressive curved marquee wraps around a corner of the building and features a vertical neon "State" sign on top.
The theater stands at 35310 W. Michigan Ave and is one of a handful of Johnson-built theaters that is still open as a luxury cinema complex with three movie screens and one live performance stage.
The Cinema Treasures website offers this history: "The State Theater was first operated by the Shafers in 1946 for Wayne Amusements...The State Wayne Theater was originally a single screen theater, later carved in[to] 4 screens, when National Amusements operated the theater... By 2012 it was operated by Phoenix Theatres and in 2015 was playing first run movies."