Loew's State Theatre

1540 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 13, 2004 at 1:21 pm

I think that in the New York area, the Alpine in Brooklyn and the American in the Bronx are the only original Loew’s theatres still operating as cinemas. One might also consider the Bay Terrace in Queens, but that was built well after the Loew’s divorcement.

bruceanthony on August 13, 2004 at 1:12 pm

Warren the M-G-M Book states the following from 1959:
MGM-Loew’s,last of the holdouts against the government’s anti-trust action finally divided itself in March into two unconnected companies:Loew’s Theatres and Metro-Goldywn-Mayer.Six months later the latter announced its profit,$7,698,951,the highest since 1951’s total for the old company.I know Loew’s-MGM was the last major studio to comply with the consent decree due to the complicated relationship of Loew’s-MGM.brucec

Theatrefan on August 13, 2004 at 12:20 pm

Of those 51 theatres in the Metro NY area, I wonder how many are still around today operating as motion picture theaters? I’m sure quite a few have been demolished, converted to retail or, are being used as houses of worship.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 13, 2004 at 9:41 am

The U.S. government-enforced separation of Loew’s Inc. finally took effect on September 1, 1954. At that time, the newly formed Loew’s Theatres, Inc. had 51 theatres in the Greater New York area and 63 elsewhere in the USA, for a total of 114. The new production-distribution company retained the name of Loew’s Inc., and continued to operate theatres outside the USA, where the federal anti-trust decree against the company did not apply.

BoxOfficeBill on July 23, 2004 at 3:34 pm

During the ‘40s and ‘50s a family friend worked in the Loews’ business office above the lobby, and she provided us with passes for everything at the State and the Capitol as well as for all the MGM debuts on B’way. She was a very prim, church-going spinster lady, and she voiced a particular antipathy for the fleshy vulgarity of Marilyn Monroe. When “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” played at the Roxy, she proudly declared, “I’m glad I don’t work there!” and “I’m glad the State is showing a decent Jimmy Stewart picture [Thunder Bay] instead.” Barely two years later, the State played “Seven Year Itch,” with its famous billboard of MM in her wind-blown skirt covering the building’s tall façade. Our friend’s office window was just below the panties. She peremptorily took off for a three-week vacation during the film’s run.

VincentParisi on July 22, 2004 at 11:13 am

The very last hard ticket film as far as I know was Little Dorrit(I don’t remember the year) at the 57th St playhouse
The reserved seat box office windows at the State 1 and 2 and the Criterion remained closed from their last reserved seat films in ‘70 and '72 respectively until they were torn down . The reserved seat box office for the Rivoli was often used as the main box office after La Mancha closed there. You would see behind the ticket seller all the small cubby holes that used to hold advance tickets.
So Paint Your Wagon Was already gone by early February of '70. Only 3 months! Probably the last reserved seat movie I liked(though I didn’t see it until it played the Warner in '78.)

SethLewis on July 22, 2004 at 10:32 am

Young Winston and Godspell played at the UA Columbia as Advanced Ticket exclusives…The Great Gatsby was reserved seat at the Paramount daydating with Loews State, Tower East and possibly the Murray Hill

Ron3853 on July 22, 2004 at 10:29 am

I believe that the very last film to be shown in a roadshow “Reserved Seat” manner was “Last Tango in Paris” beginning in April 1973.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 22, 2004 at 10:27 am

I think the only films after that were Marooned at the Ziegfeld,Hello Dolly at the Rivoli,Man of LA Mancha and Fiddler On The Roof. I am not sure where the last two played.

Ron3853 on July 22, 2004 at 10:01 am

All 3 of thse films were roadshow films with reserved seats. After 1969 there were only a few more films shown that way, most of which played in New York City at the Criterion, Rivoli, or Warner.

ERD on July 22, 2004 at 10:01 am

I remember seeing some movies and stage shows at Loew’s State when I was very young. The theatre was very handsome and comfortable.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 22, 2004 at 8:44 am

Does anybody know if Olive, Paint Your Wagon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were shown reserved seat engagement?

William on July 22, 2004 at 8:23 am

The STate Theatre had two booths. One in the upper balcony and one in the front of the balcony like the Roxy Theatre. The front of balcony booth was put in during the later 50’s when they modernized for 70MM.

Ziggy on July 22, 2004 at 8:03 am

I saw a photograph of the lobby in an old issue of “Theatre Magazine”. The article was about the (then) new Loew’s State theatre. The lobby had an elliptical, or curved, I don’t remember which, opening looking down from the mezzanine promenade. It was surrounded by a marble balustrade, and above the lobby wall was a large mural which seemed to cover the length of the room. It was a very classical and elegant room.

br91975 on July 22, 2004 at 7:02 am

The Loew’s State closed on or sometime around February 28, 1987. One of the final two features to be shown at the State was the Richard Pryor vehicle, ‘Critical Condition’.

Meanwhile, I’m curious to know if the Loew’s State (or the Rivoli or Warner Twin/Strand, for that matter) were ever modernized or if they, save for their twinnings, mostly retained their original architectural design. The only view I’ve ever caught of any part of the interior of Loew’s State was a brief (but unrevealing) glance of of a section of its lobby in the Robert Evans documentary ‘The Kid Stays in the Picture’.

Ron3853 on July 22, 2004 at 5:10 am

I lived in NYC from 1985-1990 and from 1995-1997. The only time I got to see a film in Loew’s State was in the fall of 1986. The film was “Star Trek IV.” I think the theater closed soon afterwards.

SethLewis on July 22, 2004 at 2:00 am

What’s historic about this is seeing the nice long runs good audience pictures would get…The Chinatowns and Longest Yards…Pictures had legs then
There were still some good bookings into the late 70s – I was there for an odd double feature in the early 80s..When did the State Twin actually close and what was the last attraction?

Ron3853 on July 21, 2004 at 6:31 pm

Listed below are the first-run films and their opening dates which played Loew’s State 1 & 2 after it was “twinned” in 1968 up through December 1975. Research is from microfilms of The New York Times and Variety. Dates listed are the Wednesday of the week that the film first opened.

State 1
01/01/69 Oliver!
12/17/69 Gaily, Gaily
01/07/70 Without A Stitch
03/18/70 The Boys in the Band
06/17/70 On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
08/26/70 The People Next Door
09/16/70 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute)
11/11/70 Threesome
12/02/70 The Student Nurses/The Love Doctors
12/16/70 Love Story
06/23/71 Le Mans
07/28/71 Billy Jack
08/11/71 The Omega Man
09/29/71 The Skin Game
10/20/71 T. R. Baskin
11/24/71 Man in the Wilderness
12/15/71 $
01/19/72 Straw Dogs
03/15/72 The Godfather
06/14/72 The Burglars
06/28/72 Prime Cut
08/02/72 The New Centurions
10/18/72 Lady Sings the Blues
11/01/72 The Valachi Papers
12/20/72 The Getaway
03/14/73 Lost Horizon
05/23/73 Let the Good Times Roll
07/04/73 Oklahoma Crude
07/25/73 Badge 373
08/01/73 Maurie
08/15/73 Enter the Dragon
10/17/73 The Way We Were
12/12/73 Papillon
03/27/74 The Great Gatsby
06/19/74 Chinatown
08/21/74 The Longest Yard
10/16/74 The Odessa File
12/11/74 The Godfather II
03/12/75 Funny Lady
08/13/75 Farewell, My Lovely
10/15/75 Rooster Cogburn
12/24/75 The Hindenburg

State 2
01/01/69 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
05/07/69 Death of a Gunfighter
05/28/69 Once Upon a Time in the West
06/18/69 Mackenna’s Gold
07/23/69 Castle Keep
10/01/69 Change of Mind
10/15/69 Paint Your Wagon
02/04/70 The Looking Glass War
03/18/70 The Liberation of L. B. Jones
04/22/70 Hi, Mom!
05/27/70 Beneath the Planet of the Apes
06/24/70 Kelly’s Heroes
07/22/70 You Can’t Win ‘Em All
08/12/70 Lovers and Other Strangers
10/07/70 Monte Walsh
10/28/70 The Owl and the Pussycat
02/03/71 Doctors’ Wives
03/10/71 THX 1138
03/31/71 Flight of the Doves
04/14/71 My Secret Life
05/12/71 10 Rillington Place
06/16/71 The Anderson Tapes
08/04/71 The Love Machine
09/15/71 The Steagle
10/06/71 The French Connection
12/22/71 Dirty Harry
01/26/72 X Y and Zee
03/15/72 The Godfather
08/02/72 Super Fly
12/20/72 Up the Sandbox
01/31/73 Shamus
02/28/73 The Thief Who Came to Dinner
03/21/73 The Five Fingers of Death
05/16/73 The Day of the Jackal
07/25/73 The Mackintosh Man
08/16/72 Enter the Dragon
09/19/73 Hit!
10/17/73 Charley Varrick
11/21/73 Ash Wednesday
12/19/73 The Sting
02/13/74 Crazy Joe
02/27/74 Man on a Swing
03/27/74 The Great Gatsby
06/19/74 The Terminal Man
07/18/74 My Name is Nobody
10/16/74 Airport 1975
12/11/74 The Godfather II
02/12/75 The Stepford Wives
03/19/75 The Four Musketeers
04/16/75 Capone
05/21/75 Lepke
06/11/75 Night Moves
06/25/75 The Drowning Pool
07/23/75 W. W. and the Dixie Dancekings
08/07/75 The Devil’s Rain
09/17/75 Bang
10/01/75 Framed
10/08/75 Mahogany
12/25/75 Hustle

Unfortunately, I do not yet have a week-to-week listing for New York City for these years—only the first-run films with theaters and opening dates. The films listed above are only first-run bookings for State 1 & 2—they do not include reissues and what is probably many cases, moveovers from one auditorium to another. Even after being twinned, Loew’s State continued to get the Times Square booking for many big pictures, until 1975 when Loew’s opened its new Astor Plaza around the corner on 45th Street.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 17, 2004 at 12:39 pm

The original State lobby was not especially large or ornate. I don’t think that Thomas Lamb had much free space to work with in order to get over 3,000 seats into the auditorium. After you entered from the street, you were quickly at the rear of the auditorium.

IanJudge on July 17, 2004 at 12:17 pm

Does anyone know of an online source to see the old seating layout or floorplans for Loew’s State, or any of the other famous Times Square theaters? Can one of the great members who give so much incerdible info to this site describe the lobby layouts and so forth of the State? I have seen pictures, but can’t put them together to make a cohesive idea of what it was like.

Ron3853 on July 11, 2004 at 8:29 pm

Listed below are the films which played Loew’s State from 12/16/59 to 12/31/68 when the theater opened up in it’s new “twin format.” Research is from microfilms of Variety and The New York Times. The dates listed are the Wednesdays of the film’s opening week, as most films in that era opened on that day, unlike the Friday openings that occur now.
12/16/59 Ben-Hur (6th week – eventually played 74 weeks!)
04/26/61 Gone With the Wind
08/23/61 The Honeymoon Machine
10/04/61 DARK
10/11/61 King of Kings
03/07/62 The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
04/11/62 All Fall Down
05/09/62 The Horizontal Lieutenant
06/13/62 Lolita
09/26/62 A Very Private Affair
10/31/62 DARK
11/07/62 Mutiny on the Bounty
07/31/63 DARK
08/07/63 Jason and the Argonauts
08/28/63 Wives and Lovers
10/02/63 The Running Man
10/23/63 Lawrence of Arabia (pop prices)
11/20/63 Under the Yum Yum Tree
12/25/63 Love With the Proper Stranger
03/11/64 Becket
09/23/64 Of Human Bondage
10/07/64 Fail-Safe
10/28/64 The Americanization of Emily
12/23/64 The Pleasure Seekers
01/13/65 Baby, the Rain Must Fall
01/27/65 Dear Brigitte
02/10/65 Sylvia
02/24/65 Lord Jim
06/23/65 Von Ryan’s Express
08/25/65 Morituri
10/06/65 The Agony and the Ecstasy
03/02/66 The Oscar
05/18/66 Lady L
06/22/66 Born Free
07/27/66 Assault on a Queen
08/24/66 Walk, Don’t Run
09/07/66 Fantastic Voyage
09/28/66 The Bible
11/01/67 Cool Hand Luke
12/20/67 Doctor Dolittle
08/21/68 The Legend of Lylah Clare
12/11/68 Oliver -State I
12/18/68 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – State II

During this time the State exclusively played many of the various “roadshow” pictures that were released, with regular first-run releases sandwiched in between. In the early 60s, theaters which played big roadshow presentations would often go “DARK” for a week before the premiere for cleaning and installation of new projection equipment.

bruceanthony on July 11, 2004 at 3:43 pm

Here are a few films that played Loew’s State from the New York Times movie adds.

Nov 1953 How To Marry a Millionaire
Mar 1955 Blackboard Jungle
Jun 1955 The Seven Year Itch
Mar 1959 Some Like it Hot
Nov 1959 Ben Hur
Dec 1970 Love Story
Oct 1971 The French Connection
Mar 1972 The Godfather
Dec 1973 The Sting
Dec 1976 King Kong
Dec 1977 Saturday Night Fever
Jun 1978 Grease

Loew’s State was one of the most successful movie palaces in Times Square up until it closed and was torn down in the 1980’s.It was Loew’s flagship after the Capitol was torn down in 1968. It maintained its first run status and didn’t suffer a decline like the Rivoli,Criterion,and Warner. It was the largest grossing theatre in Times Sqaure from 1968 until the day it closed.brucec

HomegaMan on June 22, 2004 at 9:34 am

I go to the “new” State theater that shows second run features and Indian movies for $5. The last film I saw there was the modern day classic “School of Rock” with Jack Black.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 19, 2004 at 7:38 am

Loew’s State did not normally play foreign-language films, but they did run the Italian TOMORROW IS TOO LATE in 1952 in a subtitled print to enormous business (Variety: ‘Tomorrow’ Smash 45G). It was a lovely but now forgotten movie featuring Pier Angeli and Vittorio De Sica and dealt with the sexual awakening of adolescents. The movie went on to play art houses around the country, and in a dubbed version was even shown at drive-ins.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 19, 2004 at 6:58 am

This theatre should really be listed as Loew’s State as it was never operated by any other company and also Marcus Loew’s personal favorite of all his theatres. He had his office in the adjacent Loew’s HQ building, and dropped into the State several times a day to make sure that everything was running smoothly and to watch some of the vaudeville acts.