HomeDrive-In TheatersWayne Drive-In Theatre - Wayne, MI

Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Wayne MI

Address: 38547 Michigan Ave
City: Wayne
State: MI
Zip: 48184
County: Wayne
Open: 1949 (5-20-49)
Closed: 1990 (7-14-90)
Capacity: 842 (1949)
Owner History: Wayne Amusements/Charles Shafer
Number of visits to this page: 28128
General Information:

Opened May 19, 1949 for Wayne Amusements, the theatre was closed and demolished in August 1990, to make way for a Ford plant, which is one of the largest in the world.

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Info Updates:
1/3/2016 - Alex Santos
The new episode of chasing classic cars on velocity had a guy named Nathan who sold the big WAYNE Drive in Theater sign to the star of the show Wayne Carini the sign is 7x22 feet x 18deep. They didn't say what was paid.
3/8/2015 - Kevin Rumpz
I worked at The Wayne Drive-In back in the late 70's while I went to Wayne Memorial HS. My boss was Mr. Hallman, and his son Mike was in charge of the ushers at the Wayne Drive-In 2. I started out as an usher and then was a ticker taker at the box office up front. I worked with some great guys, Virgil Berrian, Pat Potter, Rick Cassidy, Mark Grimm and that sweet old lady in the ticket booth and for the life of me I cant remember her name. I was my first real job and I was a blast. It's a shame its no longer there.
10/7/2014 - Work at Ford Truck Plant
We who worked at the Truck Plant next to the drive in loved it. There was a break room on the second floor that had windows that faced the screen. The electricians snuck in one day and ran wires for sound before it went to radio broadcast. Many people were late coming back from a break watching the movie. It was a sad day to see it go.
11/21/2011 - CB
Was there a flea market held in the drivein, in the daylight hours on the weekends, back in the early to mid 80s?? I vaguely remember something like this.
6/20/2011 - M.S.
In the late 70's, two friends and I tried to sneak into the Wayne Drive-In with forged manager passes. We got in but later got busted. I thought the employees were going to beat us up. However, we were turned over to the Wayne police. We thought we were going to be arrested for forgery. We each received miscellaneous non-moving violations tickets. $70 bucks each to see Anne Hall!. RIP B. W.
5/21/2010 - Vic Pastorilli
My grandfather was a baseball (Detroit Tigers) junkie who passed away this past year. Me and the wife were cleaning out his attic when we came across a stack of newspapers from every Friday and Saturday in 1990 (which we figure he had used to track and record weekly baseball stats seeing there was an abundance of writing in the stat column).

I had visited this site on a number of occasions, since I lived in Inkster as a kid and frequented the Wayne on a number of occasions, but didn't have any specific information or stories to contribute. Yet, in looking over the old newspapers I have concluded the following:

The Wayne Drive-in, a seasonal operation, began it's final (1990) season on the weekend of March 30th with all 4 screens in operation. The listed features are 1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle & No Holds Barred, 2. Hard to Kill & Tango and Cash, 3. Pretty Woman & Sea of Love, 4. Joe Versus the Volcano & Christmas Vacation. Children were still free at the venue as well as at the Ford Wyoming, which was (and still is, to my knowledge) the only multi-seasonal operation in Detroit at the time (or the only one that listed).

The Wayne's last listed features are 1. Die Hard 2 & Night Breed, 2. Days of Thunder & Another 48 Hrs. (concurrent to what another poster mentioned below), 3. Dick Tracy & Gremlins II, 4. Robocop 2 & Total Recall. Looking at the listing and papers I seemed to remember that was a real big sequel summer.

After that, and through the end of the summer the listing for the Wayne reads:

"This Theater Is Closed. May we suggest you attend one of the 5 Ford Wyoming Drive In Theaters Located on Ford Road in Dearborn".

Perhaps this suggestion was made seeing there were another SIX theaters still in operation at the time (Commerce, Ft. George, Jolly Roger, Mt. Clemens, Pontiac and the F.W.). I have to wonder if nobody, except the owners of those theaters, knew 1990 was going to be about the last year of major drive in operation in the metro area. I looked ahead to 1991 and only have found listings for the Ford Wyoming and Mt. Clemens.

I guess 1990 was not only the death of the Wayne, but the true death of the drive ins around Detroit.
7/2/2008 - Unknown
When I was a kid my parents use to take me here. I was really upset with fords for destroying the drive in . So many of us tried to save it but it wasn't enough. All fords could think of is a parking lot
7/2/2008 - Jake Nelson
The poster below who mentioned "Another 48 Hours" and "Harlem Nights" is dead on about this place and how it closed. I used to head down here about 2 times a month as a kid. I went to see "Die Hard" and "Coming to America" one year and a few months later went back and saw "Weekend at Bernies" and "The Karate Kid III". The funny thing was this theater was just packed to the max at that time. In fact, the only reason I went to see "Weekend at Bernies" was because "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and "The Burbs" was already totally sold out WITH a line of cars waiting, at least an hour before showtime. To find that they shut it down was a surprise. I remember one day just looking in the paper and there was a small ad listed that said "This Theater Has Closed, Please Visit the Ford-Wyoming Drive-In". I often miss that place, it was my favorite of all the Detroit Drive In's.
5/15/2008 - Patrick Supernois
I moved in to the neighborhood that was right next to the Wayne Drive-In in 1956 and quickly found out that the summer routine for most of the boys in that neighborhood was sneaking in to the Drive-In to catch a free movie. You had to wait by the back fence til just before the first inter-mission then climb over a double fence, crowded nights were the best cause there would be people from all over the drive-in walking up to the consession stand, then all you had to do was mingle with the crowd til you made it to the concession stand. There were benches on a little patio in front of the consession stand were you could sit and watch the movie. Then you had to watch for sombody that you knew that paid to get in. All you had to do then was find out what row they were in so you could tell an overzelous usher where your car was if they got to curious about whether legit or not. The movies were always double features and the first movie always replayed after the second feature was over. In 1961 my brother and three of our friends all got jobs at the Drive-In doing cleanup work,raking leaves , pulling weeds and my personel favorite (ha) polishing the brass in the mens and ladies rooms. Charles Shaefer thought it was a better idea to get some work out of us for watching the movies cause he knew we would come to see them for free anyway, The best part was that we made 50Cents an hour so we also had money to spend at the consession stand
5/1/2008 - Sean Fitzgerald
So sad to drive by where this place was. Wayne seems destined not to get it. Soon they will tear down the historic Wayne Theatre. The railroad tore down a house at Michigan and the tracks, just before the Ford Truck plant on the south side of the street. Do these people who tear these things down ever realize the irreparable damage they are doing to there communities.
4/30/2008 - Laura Peterson-Estepp
My mom, Nancy, was the manager of the concession stand for as long as I can remember. Once the drive-In closed, she became the manager at the ford and wyoming. She passed away in 1989. I have a lot of memories working the concession stand and watching the movies. I remember the boats at the wayne drive-in too. I enjoy looking at the pictures, they bring back a lot of memories.
6/25/2007 - Amber Jessamine
Hi, my grandmother managed the concession here at Wayne Drive In for a few years,before that she was at the Dearborn Drive In. I want to say early to mid 60's. I have great memories of this drive in. We would arrive every night and get the popcorn ready, make sure the coke machines were right, stack the hot dogs in the steamer and then go out to play on the playground area, I loved the boats!!! I remember the film men and the security guards. My grandmother, mother and some friends worked the concession until things got slow, then grandmother went to work at Brays Hamburgers. That was up until at least 1970. Hell I even worked at Brays for a month or so, lol then I hit the big time and went to Burger King on Ford Rd in Westland. lol.
7/2/2006 - Chris Hurley
I grew up in Wayne, and have lots of memories of the Wayne Drive IN. The first movie I remember seeing there was "Star Wars" back in 1977, I seem to recall a a Three Stooges short also played. I also remember seeing "Race For Your Life Charlie Brown" there as well. We would pop our own popcorn, us kids would put on pajamas, and away we would go. The last movies I saw there were with a group of friends in the Spring of 1990, one night was "The First Power" and another night was "Another 48 Hours" on the original big screen. At that time the drive in had four screens. Myself, three of my friends (Rhonda and Susan and Lyman) all climbed into my Ford Mustang, and I backed in, opened the hatchback, and Rhonda, Susan and I sat there, Lyman preferred a lawn chair. The second feature after "Another 48 Hours" that night was "Harlem Nights" and I remember after about thirty minutes we were bored with the movie so we left and went crusing around, ended up getting lost somewhere past Ypsilanti and 2:00 am. This was early June 1990, and what a shock it was to see the drive in close for good a month later. Glad I got to enjoy it one last time.
9/11/2004 - Eddie
I used to go there in the mid to late seventies. Nice place, good memories. I would drive my girlfriends dads Suburban with her right next to me, and have as many others as would fit out- of- sight in the back with a boat load of beer. No one bothered you as long as you behaved.
12/18/2003 - Box Office Magazine
1960 - Roy Thompson, operator at the Wayne Drive-In, has disposed of his "sideline," the Alladin Bar.
10/16/2003 - MichiganDriveIns.com
BOX OFFICE MAGAZINE ARTICLE Feb.14,1972: 1,000 CAR TWIN FOR WAYNE D-I The original Wayne Drive-In, Wayne, Mich., celebrated the opening of its new 1,000-car "twin" on Christmas Day (1971). Built on 33 acres, the complex-boasts a new centrally located concessions building, 150x125 feet, which serves patrons from both the East and West twin units. All-weather tables and chairs allow over 100 persons to be seated on the large patio adjacent to the concessions building-equipped with electric-eye doors to permit easy exit for tray-carrying patrons. The new 51x120-foot screen is by D & D Theatre Screens, while Drive-In Theatre Mfg. Co. provided the car counter system, speakers with automatic cut-offs and Circle R Heaters. Four spacious double boxoffices allow easy patron access from Michigan Avenue. The large projection room is equipped with Century 35mm projectors with R-4 soundheads, as well as Cine Focus, a film stabilizing unit (later to be connected to single-lens concept with automation system and remote controls in each projection booth). The lamphouse is Optical Radiation Corps 6,000-watt xenon system. Electro Sounds drive-in theatre sound system with Altec power amplifiers complete the first-class installation. The twin project, constructed by the Wayne Amusement Co., Inc., with Ringold Theatre Equipment as supply dealer, is owned by the Shafer Theatre family whose Quo Vadis quadruple indoor theatres in Westland offer four first-run features nightly as well as the "Over 21" restaurant and cocktail lounge.
10/16/2003 - MichiganDriveIns.com
While it might be possible that 2 of the screens from the Wayne DI might be at the Ford Wyoming DI, it is not possible for all 4 screens to be there. The original screen tower was a balloon frame with steel supports and was sheathed with asbestos panels. It would have been considered hazardous waste when the Wayne DI was being razed. Secondly the screen that was added in 1971 was built of different material and in a different manner than the screens in use at the Ford Wyoming DI. (FREDRICK R. 9-7-03)

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Wayne Drive-In Theatre - From American Classic Images
From American Classic Images
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Screen And Entrance From F Ryan
Screen And Entrance From F Ryan
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Marquee From F Ryan
Marquee From F Ryan
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Marquee And Entrance From F Ryan
Marquee And Entrance From F Ryan
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Aerial From F Ryan
Aerial From F Ryan
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Marquee From F Ryan
Marquee From F Ryan
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - From American Classic Images
From American Classic Images
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Concession - Photo From Rg
Concession - Photo From Rg
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Wayne Neon Sign
Old Wayne Neon Sign
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Projectors - Photo From Rg
Projectors - Photo From Rg
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Screen - Photo From Rg
Screen - Photo From Rg
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Snack Bar - Photo From Rg
Snack Bar - Photo From Rg
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Aerial Photo From Whit Whitworth
Old Aerial Photo From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Sign From Whit Whitworth
Old Sign From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Sign From Whit Whitworth
Old Sign From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Sign From Whit Whitworth
Old Sign From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Coming Soon Sign From Whit Whitworth
Old Coming Soon Sign From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Coming Sign Soon And Speakers From Whit Whitworth
Old Coming Sign Soon And Speakers From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Speakers From Whit Whitworth
Old Speakers From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Driveway Lights From Whit Whitworth
Driveway Lights From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Change Machine From Whit Whitworth
Old Change Machine From Whit Whitworth
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Now Part Of Ford Plant - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Now Part Of Ford Plant - Photo From Water Winter Wonderland
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Sign From Alex
Sign From Alex
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Topo
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Old Aerial
Old Aerial
Wayne Drive-In Theatre - Wayne Doa 7-14-90
Wayne Doa 7-14-90
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