State Theatres

Indianola Road at Highway 101,
Eureka, CA 95501

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The State Theatres triplex, now closed, was adjacent to the also-closed Midway Drive-In. Located on Indianola Road, it was part of a three-theater complex run by Redwood Theatres Corp. (owned by the Mann family). The three theatres in this complex were the Midway, the State, and the Eureka Theatre.

The largest theatre was #1 (in blue, on the left side), theatre 2 was yellow, and theatre 3 was green. Theatre 3 was the smallest of the three.

The entryway had a flush-with-the-wall payphone in the lobby and a couple videogames on the right side, between theatres 2 and 3. The doorway to the projection room staircase was down a hallway between theatres 2 and 3, just past the videogames.

The maintenance closet (janitor’s closet) was to the right of theatre 3, by the front entrance.

The front wall of the State Theatres was all glass. When you walked in, you veered left to theatre #1 or right to #2 and #3. The island-style snack bar, which sold hot dogs, popcorn (with "Whirl" butter-flavoring), candy products, and coke products. Past the snack bar on either side were wall-mounted shelves containing condiments and napkins. The entrance to the snack bar was a door on the right side of the bar, to the left of the entrance to theatre 2.

The ceiling in the lobby was the full height of the building, 2 stories. Hanging over the ticket counter was an Italian-crystal chandeleir made of interlocking c-shaped pieces of crystal than hung from the ceiling down to just above the heads of the ticket sellers.

Employees used to wear green and white smocks (almost like long shirts with ties) but later changed to black and white. Employees at the snack bar were required to keep a running total of a customer’s purchases in their head, and be able to give the total on demand. Employees were tested by “mystery shoppers” for the company occasionally, and reports were issued on their performance. Benefits included being able to eat all the popcorn and Coke you wanted and any hot dogs that hadn’t been sold, but you had to use a regular cup/bowl as inventory was kept by cup/popcorn container.

Employees could also go to any movie free, and bring with them one friend and as many family as they wanted all at the same time.

If there was a shortage of employees at any of the three theatres, employees would be “shared” from theatre to theatre within the chain. Maintenance in 1985-1986 at the Midway and &State (respectively) was the job of Kevin Johnson and Kent Chapman; snack bar workers at the Midway and State were Tina (Choi) Johnson at the Midway, Karina (Cantu) Chapman, Debby Eiers, and Mike Lewis at the State.

Currently, the State Theatres building is owned by Ron Harris (owner of Rainbow Mini-Storage in Humbold County). Original plans prior to his ownership included using the theatre as a homeless shelter. Mr. Harris may turn the site into a mini-storage facility, but it may be knocked down for that to happen.

The only pizza company that would deliver to this theatre (to feed the employees) was Red Baron Pizza in Eureka, across the street from the Eureka Theater.

The projectionists' names were Corky and Dennis in 1985-1986.

The roof of the theatre has an S on it that is only visible from the air.

Cleaning that chandeleir was a full-day project and took two people, a massive ladder, and nerves of steel. It was last done in 1986. Unknown if it still exists, but doubtful.

Contributed by Karina Chapman

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

juliagreen
juliagreen on May 23, 2010 at 10:32 pm

When was this built?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Karina,I know you guys had deal for free pizza.Heavens knows as long as I had movie passes i never paid for Pizza and even had deal with Mcdonalds.Good managers should always take care of the crew.Plez don’t tell me you bought the PIZZA.

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