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The State Theater ~ State of the Art Movie House

Sat, 09/14/2013 - 10:52am

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The opening of a new movie theater is always a big news item but it was especially noteworthy for the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/state_theater|State Theater]. The State opened in the midst of World War II when Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County were focused on their role of building [http://oldnews.aadl.org/N015_0869_007|bombers] and [http://oldnews.aadl.org/node/218704|equipment] for the United States military. The building of the theater was announced in [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19401130-new_theater_planned_pg1|November, 1940] with a planned opening date of August 1941. When the theater finally opened in March, 1942, the Ann Arbor News devoted an [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-ablaze_with_radiant|entire section] of the March 17th issue to the gala event.

The section included articles on the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-butterfield__theaters_head_pg14|Butterfield Company] and its founder, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-butterfield_got_start_pg16|W. S. Butterfield.] The News reported on the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-new_local_theater-pg14|modern equipment], the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-bright_colors_pg15|modern design], the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-screen_is_newest_pg17|modern screen], even the [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-keeping_theaters_temperatures_pg18|cooling system]. The building of the State involved [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-thirty_five_different_firms_pg18|35 companies], including many local firms. To make way for the theater, [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-six_stores_moved_pg19|six businesses] were removed. Butterfield moved [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420310-majestic_theater_to_end_long|Majestic Theater] manager [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-state_manager_pg17|Larry Mull] and his [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-majestic_staff_pg17|staff] to the State.

[http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-ad_hi_neighbor_pg14|Local businesses] took out dispaly ads welcoming the State, and the PR machine of the movie studios went into high gear sending [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-state_theater_congratulated_pg18|telegrams] from stars like Clark Gable, Norma Shearer and Mickey Rooney congratulating the State. The opening movie was [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-paramount_film_pg19|The Fleet's In] starring Dorothy Lamour and William Holden. The News even reached back into their archives to recount the famous [http://oldnews.aadl.org/aa_news_19420317-opening_of_new_theater_pg14|student riot of 1908] at the Star Theater.

Grace Shackman's Then & Now article on the [http://aaobserver.aadl.org/aaobserver/18228|Whitney Theater] fills in the local theater scene. Old News had published articles on many of Ann Arbor's [http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/22840|theaters].

Comments

It's surprising to hear about celebrities congratulating a local theatre. It gives an idea of the importance of the theatre. Too bad it opened behind schedule.