Monterey’s State Theatre Being Sold

posted by tomdelay on August 13, 2004 at 1:37 pm

MONTEREY, CA — The 1926 Golden State Theatre is in the process of being sold. The new owner, who is from the Los Angeles area where he has owned a recording studio, expects to own the theater sometime in mid-to late September 2004.

Immediate plans call for the balcony triplexing (added in 1976) to be removed, allowing the auditorium to return to one space. New seats on the main floor, and possible some in the balcony will take place as well.

Plans call for classic and some first run films, silent films using the theater’s Wurlitzer organ, live events on-stage, conferences, and use by the City of Monterey as an adjunct to their conference center (which is just two blocks from the State).

The Golden State Theatre opened on August 6, 1926 with 1600 seats. Various plans for the State have been launched over the last 15 years but none came to pass, thankfully. Once the property has passed to the new owner, more information will hit these pages.

Comments (8)

GaryParks on August 13, 2004 at 9:36 pm

As I too have been involved with the State Theatre for over a decade, I would simply like to add my hurrahs for this new development. These plans fully respect the theatre’s history and aesthetic integrity, while providing practical plans for its continued operation.

sdoerr on August 14, 2004 at 12:55 am

Yes this is great news. At first reading the story I was thinking I’d see another demolition when the owner purchased it. This is great, not only running it as a theater, but having it to a one screen, and even the organ! We don’t see anything like that now days, so this is great news! Good luck to the new owner.

Edward Havens
Edward Havens on August 16, 2004 at 3:17 am

Back in 1989, I trained as a theatre manager at the State and its sister theatre, the Regency. And although I am no longer in the theatre game, and live in New York City now, I would make a trip to Monterey to see a restored single screen State theatre.

BradHarlan on October 17, 2004 at 7:18 pm

I’ve been out of town for two weeks, and the changes wrought in the meantime are stunning. The first of the two balcony theatres is almost completely dismantled, and the back row of the upper balcony now shows the excellent sight lines the original configuration afforded. Carpet selection is being made, “new” lobby furniture has been bought, and the original balcony chandeliers have been purchased from a preservationist and await refurbishment. (Iron and mica: beautiful!)
The 1970s lobby box office has been demolished, new seats for the ground floor have been located, and city officials have already been taken on a tour to rave reviews.

I hope Monterey knows how lucky it is to have a sensitive and dedicated private owner bring back the Golden State Theatre to its rightful place as a community performing arts center!

tomdelay on October 18, 2004 at 2:45 am

I could not agree more with “Mr 50s” more. It is more and more interesting each day as the balcony opens back up to its original size. The room acoustic ain’t too bad either! The organ really likes having more space to speak into.

I do hope the city of Monterey, et al, realizes what a bargain this is for the community at-large.

The theatre very nearly was trashed by a plan from a group in 2001 that would have cut holes thru walls in the lobby, added ADA restrooms in spaces that would have required re-spacing the lobby stairs (and ruined the original iron-work along the stairs), destroyed the backstage, cut holes thru walls to the mezzanine that would have obliterated original wall sconces, etc. Yes, the city is lucky in more ways than one, to say nothing of the historic State Theatre being saved from unsympathetic architectural “improvers”.

lstard on October 26, 2004 at 10:36 pm

I know the fellow who purchased the theater and he will dedicate his life to its restoration. We are proud of him. He’s smart, sensitive, tireless, and this is his dream project. When it opens, if you’re local (or not) please attend events there and tell your friends about it. Thanks for the kind words. LD

Citytourist on December 10, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Hi guys I am doing research into the new IMax threatre in Monterey and would be most grateful if anyone that has any information on this project being carried out by Bella Media could contact me …


tomdelay on December 11, 2007 at 2:17 am

Have no idea. They were advertising for a manager a few weeks ago.

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