State Theatre

929 College Street,
Bowling Green, KY 42101

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195161 on January 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Hello Bill and Mike,Sorry i haven’t responded sooner,I have been a little busy,just not getting a lot done.Was reading your last message and it brought back some more memories of my time at the STATE.When “The Graduate"came out we got to run it because of the seating capacity,it was one of the few times we got to run a grade A movie.We ran it for three weeks and it was a sellout everynight.I had to thread the projectors pretty much in the dark because of having to keep the projection booth door shut due to people sitting in the balcony.It presented a challenge but i enjoyed doing it.

BillScates on January 16, 2013 at 10:03 am

I’m sure you’re right Larry. When I think back, I have to reference the time I spent in the Military (Apr 64-Sept 68). Much of that time was spent in a fog anyway and I had little contact with folks in BG. As I mentioned before, my Dad left Martin Theatres for a while to work for Cresent Amusement Co. (the previous owners of the BG theatres.) That would have been sometime around ‘62 or '63 (I was away in college.) I don’t know exactly when he came back with Martin’s but I do remember he worked for a few months managing theatres in Columbia, TN before coming back to BG as city mgr. but I’m not sure what year that was. I do know it was before I got back stateside because when I returned in '68, I managed the Riverside Drive In for him while I finished up at WKU. I believe Happy was still managing the State at that time. I left BG again in '70 but came back after Happy died to help Dad out and managed the State for a couple of years. That would’ve been around '73 or '74. Two movies that I remember presenting during that time were “Jaws” and “The Exorcist”… both sold out the house and lines extended around the corner and down 10th street! That’s best record my memory allows. Later, in my career as a teacher, I encouraged students to keep a daily journal because I had always wished I had.

195161 on January 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Mike,Bill was right,we used the old carbon arc lamps.Although i must correct him on something,Happy was already Mgr. of the STATE before the Martin Twins were opened.I know how it is to have a clouded memory because i’m not sure about the months,although i do remember working the door in the winter,having to break the frozen letters from marquee.The first movie i ran on my own was Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”,what a way to start!I’ll write about some more of my memories later,got to sign off for now,Take Larry Cassady

BillScates on January 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I remember Happy Hardcastle well. He was assisant mgr at the Capitol when my uncle John lived and worked the projection booth there for many years. Timelines have faded a little in my memory but when Cresent Amusement Co. sold to Martin Theatres my dad went with Cresent for a couple of years to manage the Cresent Lanes bowling. He came back to Martin’s as city manager when the Martin Theatre opened in what was then the “new” mall. I believe it may have been during that period that the Capitol closed and Happy came to the State. Happy probably knew more about the projection booth than anyone. We were never sure that breathing all that acetone glue didn’t contribute to his latter health problems… great guy.. I actually remember when his hair was “blondish” but for the last 40 yrs of his life it was snow white. I believe at the time Larry worked there, they were still using the old carbon-arc lamps. I want to think the projectors were RCA but my memory is foggy on that. They were later replaced with Xeon lamps and platter systems but I believe the heads were retained at least for a while.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on January 14, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Larry, Do you remember what projectors you had?

195161 on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I remember the STATE Theater quite well,I was fortunate enough to be able to work there from 1966 thru 1967.I started at the door then to running projectors.Happy Hardcastle was the Mgr.I have a lot of great memories of my time at the STATE.Larry Cassady

BillScates on July 19, 2012 at 12:55 pm

The State Theatre opened in 1949 on the site of the old Diamond Theatre. It was operated at the time by Crescent Amusement Co. (of Nashville, TN)and was sold along with the Capitol and Princess Theatres to Martin Theatres (Fuqua Industries,) in 1961 pursuant to a federal antitrust lawsuit. It was aquired by Carmike Cinemas in 1982 and closed shortly thereafter. My uncle, J.P. Masters managed the Capitol Theatre and my dad, William F. Scates managed the State from opening day until he retired as city manager for Martin Theatres in Bowling Green in 1978. I grew up in the three magnificent Bowling Green theatres and knew every corner of each. I started working in the State Theatre’s concession stand at age 12 makeing 25 cents/hr and held every job in the theatre, (including manager when my dad became city manager,) until I went off to college and later military. The comment about the ‘10’ marquee and ‘lazy manager’ is unwarranted. At that time theatres were struggling with overhead and marquee letters that were broken were hard to replace. I well remember planning how we could scrimp together enough letters, broken pieces of letters (and/or numbers used for letters,) to get the next marquee up. The marquee letters, like downtown theatres, were dying on the vine and along with them the downtowns of small towns. Sad.. No days like the ‘heydays’!

cdelgado6 on December 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Seeing that picture makes me sad. I loved the State Theater

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 13, 2010 at 2:19 am

Marilyn Dee Casto’s book “Actors, Audiences, and Historic Theatres of Kentucky” says that the Diamond Theatre opened in 1921.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Someone could have done a much better marquee than what that picture shows with “10” on it.Pity to have a marquee that nice and a lazy manager running it.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Jan 1 1969 THE STATE was playing “KILLERS THREE” rated M.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on March 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm

There’s a page on facebook “Bowling Green Since 1950, Kentucky”. One of the wall photos is of the State with the commenters saying the first movies they saw there or date memories.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 28, 2010 at 12:31 am

There’s a Boxoffice item of July 10, 1948, saying that the Crescent Amusement Company’s Diamond Theatre in Bowling Green was to be enlarged and remodeled. The manager said that the building would be extended by about 65 feet. Boxoffice of February 5, 1949, said that the Diamond Theatre had been closed for extensive remodeling.

The December 3, 1949, issue of Boxoffice announced that the State Theatre had opened. The item claimed a seating capacity of 1,400 for the expended house (probably an exaggeration.) The item noted that Crescent Amusement Co. also operated the Capitol and Princess theaters in Bowling Green.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on April 7, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Paper has been off the windows for a bit now. No new signs up.

Wildcat59 on April 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I can confirm that the State Theater was operating as a movie theater into the early 80’s. The last movie that I remember seeing there was Friday the 13th. That was not released until late 1980 if I’m not mistaken.

The theater was converted into a Church in the mid-80’s.

I remember thinking that if I had been able to choose which theater to remodel (State or Capitol) I would have chosen the State. I remember the State being a much more beautiful theater than the Capitol. That may just be my memory playing tricks on me though.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on January 4, 2008 at 11:58 am

Windows still papered over. You can still see the filled in penetrations for the PK housings for the neon for the E of the State on the big vertical sign out front.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on December 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm

For Sale sign is down now. Windows are papered over.

kencmcintyre on November 27, 2007 at 7:50 pm

The church is also putting on concerts in the theater building:

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on November 27, 2007 at 6:46 pm

The Daimond belonged to the Crescent Amusement Co that
had its offices at 416 E. Main from about 1911-1960.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on November 26, 2007 at 10:58 am

I’ll defer to your knowledge. I got my info from a sheet where the open/close dates seemed to be in five year chunks. I personally don’t know when it officially closed. I’m trying to get people I know to add their info (which is more first hand, like yours) about this place.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on November 26, 2007 at 7:01 am

Mike, well, I know it was operating as a movie theatre at least in 1980, maybe a little bit later, so the 1975 date is suspect.

Mike Richardson
Mike Richardson on November 25, 2007 at 7:26 pm

From What I’ve been able to gather, The State was called the Diamond. At 8 PM on Friday evening 28 July 1922, the Bowling Green Business University held commencement exercises there. I was told the Diamond was destroyed by fire (1955?) and rebuilt as the State opening in ‘61 closing in '75. It was then rented by the Fountain Square Church in '85. The State was run by Martin Theatres from '64 until its’ end.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on March 15, 2007 at 11:19 am

LM, yes that is the place, even says so in the realestate listing. If I’m not mistaken, the vertical sign is visible in the photo all the way to the right. However, a capacity of 485 must be a typo. I’d expect it to be more in the neighborhood of 1000.

kencmcintyre on March 15, 2007 at 10:22 am

I have the Diamond as the Fountain Square church. Perhaps the Diamond was an aka for the State at some point.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on October 25, 2006 at 3:16 am

I attended Western Kentucky University from 1980 to 1982 and this was the closest theatre to the campus: an easy 10 minute walk from the top of “the hill.” The last film I remember seeing at the State was “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (the Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange version). My memory of the building is not sharp, but I recall it being in good condition, a long, sloped floor lobby, streamlined, curving walls and a dark, cool interior.

The only thing that really stands out is a ridiculous detail: the marquee was an asymetrical triangle, one long face and one short face. College street is/was one-way and the long side faced the wrong way. On-coming traffic only saw the short side and the somewhat abbreviated text.

The State does stand on Fountain Square which is one of the loveliest public squares around. The other theatre on Fountain Square, the art deco style Capitol, (q.v.) has been beautifully restored.