State Theatre

Main Street and Morgan Street,
Hartford, CT 06120

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The State Theatre opened in 1926. This massive theatre, which originally seated almost 4,000 in its heyday, is just a memory now. Another lost Hartford movie palace.

Contributed by Roger Katz, Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Betty Grable’s movie career was still in low gear when she played a week’s stage engagement at the State Theatre starting September 1, 1939. Due to “live” talent costs, the State had to scrimp on film rentals, in this case with a Monogram “B” starring Frankie Darro entitled “Irish Luck”:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Betty Grable’s opening in Hartford was overshadowed that same day by Germany’s invasion of Poland, which is usually regarded as the start of World War II. By the time that the USA finally entered the war in December, 1941, Grable was on the verge of becoming Boxoffice Queen of that era.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

The seating capacity needs to be corrected. Records kept by Theatre Historical Society of America give 3,880 seats, which made the State the 21st largest movie/vaudeville theatre in the USA. #20 was the St. Louis (current Powell Hall) in that Missouri city, with 3,881. #22 was the Chicago Theatre in that Illinois city, with 3,869 seats.

DSchneebeli
DSchneebeli on July 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Wow ! The State Theater.I can’t hark back to my childhood without talking about the State, it is interwoven with my fondest of memories from my earliest recallections to the day the music died in 1960. My Father was backstage Manager and Maintainence Manager for the State from early 40’s to it’s demise in may ,1960. I spent every possible moment at the state, either backstate on the weekends or in the theater itself during the week I would help my father carry tins of film to the projection room, whick by the way was located high above the massive main floor via a catwalk in the domed ceiling.
I was always scaredd to death of that treck, but I hid my fears pretty well , as I did not want to let my Dad know. Ted and Sam Harris ran the State, myself,my brother, and 2 sisters, called them Uncle, they both could not have been more wonderful to us. (I was the youngest born in ‘47 my brother '45 and sisters were'44 and '43)
I recall on one occation My brother slammed my pinky in our backdoor and when he opened it the tip was just hanging by a thread, so my Dad ran my over to the State and Uncle Sam’s office where Her quickly got a needle and thread and sewed it back on. By the way 57 years later it still looks great. I was about 6 then. Another memory comes to mind, while Pat Boone was slotted for a weekend, He wanted to see Elvis perform on the ed Sullivan Show (in 1956) tv’s were not plentiful back then, so my father brought him to our apartment, for a viewing on our round screen Philco TV, Pat stayed for the entire performace had a few cookies and a cold drink and left with my Father to perform next door. (My sisters both thought Pat was DREAMY lol)I can close my eyes and see the backstage area, mostly painted in battleship gray(some of which was painted by yours truely) the 8 or so dressing rooms, one of which My father used as a darkroom to develope his many pics, He was an amatuer photographer also (Bill’s photo service) and That room was also used for many of the guys to just Jam. I also have great memories of those sessions. Ahhh yes the State Theater my playground growing-up. If you listen closely you can hear my Dad yelling out “5 minutes, 5 minutes till showtime…” As an aside the coffe that all the stars raved about that my father made for them was “Chuck full Of Nuts” brand LOL

BillG
BillG on October 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Hi. If anyone has any photos, newspaper ads, or other memorabilia from the 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll era, I’d really appreciate hearing fro you. Write to me at Thanks.

rvarrick
rvarrick on April 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm

DSchneebeeli,I worked at the State Theater from 1957-1960 and helped out your dad (Bill)backstage and also in the office with Ted Harris.
I still have his card from The Valley Kennels.He also worked at the Strand Theater in Hartford.Hope you read this and anyone else who worked at the State,please contact me at
Thank you.Robert Varrick

stel_oc
stel_oc on September 26, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Just wondering by chance if any of you remember John Wynn,He worked at the State back in the 1930’s, 40’s. He was my Grandfather. He use to bring my Mom and her brother there. My Mother remembers the State Well. She will turn 80 next June and would love to get more infor for her. please contact me at Thank-you

LugosiResearch
LugosiResearch on December 30, 2012 at 2:20 am

On Saturday 10 February 1951, Bela “Dracula” Lugosi presented his in person Horror and Magic Stage show at the State. Currently I am conducting research on all things Lugosi; if anyone out there actually saw this show and/or has memorabilia (poster, handbill, photos) related to this show, please contact Bill at I already have copies of the newspaper ads related to this show. Thanks in advance for any assistance!

hmorse
hmorse on August 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Does anyone remember seeing Gene Krupa at the theater? I think I was about 10 when he played there at the intermission between two movies and he looked pretty stung out – I think on heroin.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on June 21, 2014 at 12:43 am

According to David Junchen’s “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Pipe Organ” pg. 144, the State Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut originally had a Geneva theatre pipe organ, size not known or not given in the book, installed in 1926. The serial # of the organ’s blower was 19551. Does anybody know what happened to this organ and where it is today? Thanks!

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