State Theatre

703 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Showing 101 - 125 of 129 comments

kencmcintyre on October 8, 2005 at 2:36 pm

The USC Digital Archive says the theater in this picture was on the southwest corner of 7th and Broadway. Wouldn’t that be the State Theater? The website says it is the Pantages.

View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 18, 2005 at 12:35 pm

Here is an old postcard of Broadway in the 1930s showing Loew’s State on the left and the Palace on the right.

William on April 13, 2005 at 8:12 am

To answer Barton’s post from August 12th 2004.

The current Orpheum Theatre is the three Orpheum to operate in the city. The one that your friend played was the old Palace Theatre just down the street on Broadway.

Senorsock on February 26, 2005 at 8:29 pm

The balcony is impressive here and reminiscent of the Orpheum. The church has replaced all the seats in this theater and has built a large alter on the stage. Up at upper balcony level, portions of the roof have crumbled, but most of the theater seems intact. The projectionist booth has been boarded up and the figurine that sits above the stage (I forget what kind it was) has also been covered up and not removed. You can see where the old second entrance was walled up long ago.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 22, 2005 at 7:26 pm

That’s right. I forgot about the porn era.

I checked the L.A. public library data base, and there is a card referencing a 1990 issue of Southern California Quarterly (the publication of The Southern California Historical Society) which mentions an Empress Theater in Los Angeles, but the card gives no indication of where exactly it was, or when it existed, or if it was an earlier name of some theater already listed here. The magazine itself is undoubtedly available at many L.A. area libraries, though. I think Alhambra’s library used to have a subscription to it, back in the days when I often went there.

The L.A. library database also has a card for a book about Covina which mentions an Empress Theater opening in that city in September, 1911.

Manwithnoname on February 22, 2005 at 6:19 pm

Joe, the Mayan ran English language porn flicks in the ‘70s. By the way, was there ever a theater in the L.A. area called the Empress?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 22, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Don S: The Belasco never ran movies. That’s why it isn’t even listed on this site. You’re right that the Mayan is still standing, but being below Olympic Boulevard, it’s kind of out-of-the-way for a major downtown theatre. That’s probably why William didn’t mention it. Its days of showing English language movies are so far in the past that I don’t even remember them. By the time I first saw the place, shortly after 1960, it had already become a Spanish language house.

DonSolosan on February 22, 2005 at 3:11 pm

“Of the three main theatres along Hill Street only the Warner Downtown still stands.”

The Mayan and Belasco are on Hill Street, and are still standing.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 20, 2005 at 7:49 am

I see on the ‘offical’ photo taken during construction (posted by J.F. Lundy July 18. 2004) the the architects credited are Weeks & Day – Reid Brothers.

Manwithnoname on February 20, 2005 at 7:19 am

My previously important and insightful post seems to have vanaished so here it is again: A photo of this theater is on the DVD of “The Beach Girls and the Monster” displaying a double bill of that film and “War of the Zombies”. You just know that show filled 2300 seats nightly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2004 at 5:08 am

I saw English language movies at the State many times in the early-mid 1960s. At that time, the only big downtown theaters regularly showing movies in Spanish were the Million Dollar, United Artists and California. Even most of the small theaters on Broadway were still showing movies in English.

My copy of the Los Angeles Times movie listings of February 10th, 1971, shows English language movies playing at the following Broadway theaters: Cameo, Roxie, Tower, Arcade, Los Angeles, Palace, and State, plus the Warrens (Warner Downtown) on Hill Street and the Olympic on 8th Street. With the exceptions of the Cameo, Arcade and Roxie, all these theaters were showing new or recent mainstream Hollywood films. Spanish language movies were being shown at these theaters: Astro, Broadway, Globe, Orpheum (American movies dubbed into Spanish) Rialto and United Artists. The Million Dollar had a “Call theatre for program” notice, but the movie was undoubtedly in Spanish, that theater having shown no English language movies at all since at least 1960.

A copy of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section has listings for only eight Broadway theaters, and none on any other downtown street. Of those eight, the Million Dollar was showing movies in Spanish, the Orpheum was showing a double feature of recent American releases dubbed into Spanish, the Rialto, State, Tower, Los Angeles and Palace were all showing triple features of action or horror movies in English, and the Cameo was showing four features of the same sort of fare, in English. Apparently, the market downtown for movies in Spanish had just about collapsed by that time.

But the Corwins maintained a first-run or second-run policy at most of the surviving big theaters on Broadway and at the Warrens as well, clear through the 1960s. The Globe began showing Spanish language movies before the end of the decade, and the Palace did for a while, but then returned to second-run Hollywood films. The Orpheum began running mostly American movies dubbed into Spanish (or sometimes subtitled in Spanish) about the middle of the decade, and kept that policy pretty much until it closed. Interestingly enough, in the early 1980s, the Palace went back to a first run policy for a while, but ended it after a Laemmle fourplex opened on Figuroa Street near the Bonaventure Hotel.

But I do remember the Broadway theatres of the 1960s as mostly still being fairly popular, well-maintained houses showing first run American movies. The serious decline in their fortunes didn’t set in until the 1970s.

Mark1 on August 12, 2004 at 5:16 am

Yes! Los Angeles is lucky to have so many great theatres still standing — in New York, most are gone. What a waste if the L.A. movie palaces are eventually lost!

About 1970, I drove an elderly ex-vaudevillian down Broadway in L.A. because I remember them saying they had played the L.A. Orpheum in the 1920’s. So, I drove past the new Orpheum and pointed it out. They said, “That doesn’t look anything like the Orpheum I played. That’s not the Orpheum.” At that time I didn’t know the Palace had been the Orpheum, and just thought their memory had failed them.

bruceanthony on August 10, 2004 at 1:50 pm

Loew’s State was the most successful movie palace on broadway. It was located on the busiest intersection and was home to M-G-M films until the early 1960’s. Loew’s State reverted to spanish and then back to english a few times.The United Artists was the least successful movie palace on the street. It was closed many times and would reopen until it went Spanish language and then became a Church. The Orpheum and United Artists are the best maintained movie palaces on Broadway. The Los Angeles is the most beautiful and is begging to be restored. If I had to pick one theatre the City of LA should put money into it would be the Los Angeles. A lot of location filming keeps the Los Angeles going and the bills paid. It still irks me today that the City of LA poured a great deal of money into converting a bank into a theatre on Spring St downtown in the 1980’s only to go bust when they had the Palace on Broadway which would be a superb legit house for the spoken word.Its time that the City of LA start focusing on Broadway and Spring St instead of Bunker Hill.brucec

William on August 10, 2004 at 12:47 pm

The Broadway Theatre District changed alot during the early 60’s. Many of the once major chains that operated these houses, would soon drop them from their rosters.

In 1955, Metropolitan Theatres operated:
Orpheum Theatre
Palace Theatre
Newsreel Theatre (aka: Tower)
Rialto Theatre

While in 1955, Fox West Coast Theatres operated:
Los Angeles Theatre
Globe Theatre

RKO Theatres had the Hillstreet Theatre.

Stanley Warner Theatres Corp. operated the Downtown Theatre.

United Artists Theater Circuit operated the Loew’s State Theatre &
the United Artists Downtown Theatre.

Paramount Pictures Theatres Corp operated the Paramount Downtown.

But by 1960, Metropolitan Theatres along Broadway would look like:
Orpheum Theatre
Palace Theatre
Hillstreet Theatre added
Newsreel Theatre
Rialto Theatre
Globe Theatre
Olympic Theatre added
Downtown Theatre
Broadway *added

In 1962, they added the Los Angeles Theatre from Fox West Coast Theatres.

And by the end of 1963, they added the State and United Artists Theatres to their listings.

They would later add the Million Dollar Theatre, Roxie, Arcade and California, Cameo to their Downtown Los Angeles operations.
The Cameo and Tower Theatres would be sub-leased to Pacific Theatres for a time in the 80’s and then to return back to Metropolitan Theatres till they closed them.
With a large Spanish speaking population in the area. Metropolitan Theatres tried different formulas till they found which one work best for the size of the theatre. Like the State Theatre, it turned Spanish language for a time. By that time the Paramount Theatre was being razed and the Hillstreet Theatre would be soon closing. The State Theatre would be the biggest theatre along Broadway and at the busest intersection in the city at one time. It became a major action house from that time till it closed to become a church.

Mark1 on August 9, 2004 at 8:03 am

William, did it quickly convert back to English-language or what? I remember it showing English-language films (and saw many there) up till at least 1970 or 71. I remember that that this time there were several theatres showing Spanish-language films, and these theatres included the Orpheum, United Artists, California, Million Dollar, and others. The Warren, Los Angeles, and State showed English-language films, as did the Tower when it changed to films after a remodelling. Most of these were very beautiful theatres.

William on August 4, 2004 at 10:45 am

It was the first to convert to Spanish films in 1963, under Metropolitan Theatres. But as Metropolitan took over other theatres from other chains. Like the Los Angeles from Fox, United Artists and the State from UA, Warner Downtown from Warner and the Hillstreet from RKO. Once they found which house did well with Spanish films vs. English films. The State theatre was built at the busiest cross streets in Los Angeles. When it closed it became a church. The people that took the lease over had been leasing the Million Dollar Theatre. The State was always a good action/horror house for the company. And ran most of the time as a triple bill
house. The United Artist Theatre was many a Spanish house till it became a church. The Los Angeles Theatre was a action house and ran double feature action/horror mix. The Orpheum Theatre ran English films with Spanish subtitles on a double feature bill. The Hillstreet Theatre only lasted till around 1963 and was english features. With the theatres along Hill Street being just one block west of Broadway. People tended to stay on Broadway to see movies. Of the three main theatres along Hill Street only the Warner Downtown still stands. The Hillstreet was just built one block to
far west from Broadway to survive. The Warner only made it into the 70’s as an action house and then Metropolitan Theatres closed it. It became a church for a few years and then closed and opened as a jewelry mart. They once had a Burger King in the basement area of the theatre. No one was ever given a chance to run the Paramount Downtown Theatre, Paramount closed and was torn down. The theatres that became churchs were The State, Million Dollar, United Artists and the Tower. The small Olympic Theatre on 8th Street, around the corner from both the Globe and the Tower Theatre and the once standing Hillstreet Theatre. Did well with Spanish features but they tried budget admissions and the theatre failed. It closed soon after that.

Mark1 on July 26, 2004 at 7:02 am

The main comments about this theatre are wrong. It was still showing English language films up to the 70’s. Some films I remember there were “The Legend of Lylah Clare”, “Two Mules for Sister Sara”, “What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice”. It was the Warren that became a Church, before it became a jewelry mart.

jflundy on July 18, 2004 at 4:56 pm

A 1921 Photo of theater under construction.

jflundy on July 10, 2004 at 8:22 pm

A circa 1950 photo of this theater is available at this site.

JimRankin on May 25, 2004 at 5:08 am

This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also show in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

MagicLantern on May 18, 2004 at 3:39 pm

Always fun to wander into this theatre during the Los Angeles Conservancy’s “Last Remaining Seats” Broadway tour on Sundays, but they’ll chase you out right quick if you let slip that you aren’t really there because of the Jesus. It’s in beautiful shape on the inside, though…this may also be the same Iglesia Universal outfit that runs the old Granada Theatre on Avalon Boulevard.

William on May 17, 2004 at 11:09 am

Fox West Coast Theatres and United Artist Theatres had partnerships in ownership in select theatres around the country. Like the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood was owned by Fox West Coast Theatres (Wesco) and United Artists Theatres, till Joseph M. Schenck (President UA Theatres) sold his companies interest in the Chinese to Fox (Wesco). Joseph M. Schenck was also the Executive Head of Production at 20th Century Fox.

Loew’s Theatres was one of the last theatre chains to comply with the anti-trust decree. They did so sometime in the early to mid 50’s.

Fox West Coast Theatres operated in the 40’s in the Downtown Los Angeles area.

Loew’s State Theatre (First Run District)
Los Angeles Theatre (First Run District)
United Artists (First Run District)
Orpheum Theatre (First Run District)
During the 30’s they operated these theatres in the Downtown Los Angeles area.

Loew’s State Theatre
Palace Theatre
Tower Theatre
Cameo Theatre
United Artists Theatre
Criterion Theatre
President Theatre

Metropolitan Theatres pickup the leases on many of the Broadway theatres when other major chains left the Downtown movie district area for Hollywood, Beverly Hills areas.

William on May 17, 2004 at 9:09 am

Loew’s Inc. operates several theatres in association with United Artists Theatre Circuit and Fox West Coast Theatres (Wesco).
During the 30’s The State (LA) and Warfield (SF) was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres. In the mid 40’s United Artists Theatre Circuit directly and through subsidiary companies is financially interested in the theatres listed below.
Chinese (Hollywood) with Fox West Coast Theatres
Four Star (Los Angeles) with Fox West Coast Theatres
Loew’s State (Los Angeles) with Fox West Coast Theatres
United Artists (Los Angeles) with Fox West Coast Theatres

You will see United Artists Theatres had theatres in Inglewood, Pasadena, Capital(in Glendale), UA Long Beach, UA East LA (Alameda) and a few others. These theatres were operated by Fox West Coast Theatres (Wesco).

RobertR on May 17, 2004 at 7:52 am

Two comments about your post Warren. I noticed it odd in the second marquee photo from 1955 its says The State and not Loews. Was Fox west coast now the owner? Also why did the Capitol not have the Loews name on it until later on? I would think they would be proud of one of New Yorks great palaces.