Loew's State Theatre

1540 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Ziggy
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
/ /68 CLOSED FOR TWINNING
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
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
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.

jays
jays on March 18, 2004 at 11:23 pm

the current new Loew’s State is a terrible substitution for the original which is the same stunt they pulled on the Loew’s Orphuem, uptown.

jays
jays on March 18, 2004 at 11:18 pm

Richard would it be a problem for you to e-mail me those pictures becuase I can’t find them anywhere especially those photos of house 2 I would appreciate it only if you could or would at

dickdziadzio
dickdziadzio on March 18, 2004 at 8:15 am

I photographed the upstairs #2 house in color just before it closed.
I also have interiors of many other long gone Manhatten houses that I sent to this web site 2 years. Maybe they can be put on site soon.
Interestly on this theatre, when they twined it back in 1968 the 3 70mm Norelco projectors went from the Balcony cut booth (from
the 1959 remodel)downstairs to # 1 house. The upstairs #2 house got all its equipment (Century 70mm) from the just torn down Capitol.

joemasher
joemasher on March 18, 2004 at 5:27 am

You can get photos of most any theatre from the Theatre Historical Society of America. See them at www.historictheatres.org

jays
jays on March 17, 2004 at 11:58 pm

I didn’t really get to enjoy this theatre that much I saw “Star Trek4” and Eddie Murphy’s “Golden Child there and it became one of my favorites I loved that big entrance and marquee that graced the base of the scyscrapper just as I was waiting for the weekend to see the film "critical condition” with Richard Pryor it closed down on me with the tittle still on the marquee i was sorely dissapointed as I made this theatre my second home I mean I would sit back and get lost in that canervous theatre 2 upstairs which was the former balcony. I would sit in this theatre during intermission and imagine my self on that screen. I missed this theatre so much I watch them demolish it it was like losing a love one. For a coulpe of weeks from the 46th street side I watched in horror as my favorite section of this thetre was being dismantled. does any body got any interior shots of this theatre or know of any links that show interior or exterior of this this theatre. I had a picture of this cinema on that I got from an old photo site of times square but i lost it. It’ll be greatly appreciated.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 3, 2004 at 12:53 pm

As a child I remember walking in front of the theater on the way to the Christmas show at the Music Hall. It was about to premiere Dr. Dolittle with Rex Harrison on a reserved seat engagement. They had the Pushmi-Pullyu costume in a case by the entrance and across the street facing the theater was a spectacular, block long sign above the Astor and Victoria theaters anouncing the film(you can see part of the this announcement in the background of Sweet Charity as Shirley Maclaine is bouncing on a bed in the window of the Castro Convertible store.) I remember long lines constantly in front of the State I for Love Story and The Godfather(which played both theaters.)I did not enter the State until Lost Horizon. I found the State I large with a low ceiling and a not so very big screen at the end. The tearing down of this building was a great loss for New York at the time and no one even so much as sneezed.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 3, 2004 at 8:47 am

Loew’s State first opened on August 9th, 1921, presenting four complete shows per day of vaudeville and a feature movie. Black-face entertainer Frank Tinney and comedian Lew Cooper headed the first stage bill of nine acts, with Metro’s “A Trip to Paradise” on screen. It was built on the site of the famous Bartholdi Inn, which was demolished to make way for the theatre and the adjoining office building that became the executive headquarters of Loew’s, Inc. and had the address of 1540 Broadway…In 1958, Loew’s closed the State for a drastic modernization, reducing its seating capacity almost by half to 1,885. It re-opened on March 28, 1959 with the exclusive world premiere engagement of “Some Like It Hot” and went on to enjoy success in the 1960s with reserved-seat road shows like “Ben-Hur.” In 1968, Loew’s decided to twin the State top and bottom, and later sub-divided it even more before selling the theatre and office building in 1987 for demolition and re-development. A clause in the sales contract required that a replacement theatre for the State should be included in the new construction, but it was another nine years before that happened due to delays in constructing the office tower and finding tenants for it and the retail stores at its base.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on August 12, 2002 at 11:49 pm

The design of Loew’s State Theatre was used for Philadelphia, PA’s Fox Theatre at 16th & Market Streets.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 11, 2001 at 2:04 pm

Loew’s State was designed by Thomas Lamb in the Adams style. For many years, it was the most famous vaudeville theatre in the USA except for the nearby Palace.

The movies shown at the State were always secondary to the vaudeville program and for the most part were “move-overs” from the Capitol, Paramount, or other Broadway houses. In 1946, vaudeville was finally discontinued at the State and it became a first-run theatre, mostly for MGM product until the studio and Loew’s circuit were “divorced” by Federal decree.