State Theatre

39 E. Main Street,
Newark, DE 19711

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State Theatre

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The State Theatre opened in May 1929. I do not know too much about the State Theatre, except that it was closed near the end of the 1980’s. It was located at the end of Main Street in Newark, right near the University of Delaware campus. They would show revival and older films (I saw “Blade Runner” there in 1984). They showed “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” just about every weekend and “The Song Remains the Same” from time to time.

The State Theatre was torn down in the mid-1990’s (I think) to make room for a small shopping mall. If anyone has any information, it would be appreciated.

Contributed by CCF

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

everettorganist on May 17, 2008 at 6:59 am

The State was quite popular with the college students. From time to time, I remember seeing music acts being presented. (I believe I saw the Kiss Clones playing there one night. I am not certain, but I believe there was some sort of skylight system over top of the stage that had been painted black in later years.

The theatre was closed and there were two mysterious arson related fires, with the second fire creating enough damage to “justify” tearning down the popular landmark.

jordanlage on February 3, 2009 at 7:04 am

I made the drive several times down from Wilmington as a high-school student in the late-‘70s, early '80s to catch revival fare. I believe I saw A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and CASABLANCA there, as well as several midnight showings of Rocky Horror. Yeah, I remember seeing preview after preview for THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME, typical college student fare for a revival house. Was there an oculus in the facade of the theater or the interior? Maybe I’m just remembering a round art-deco mirror in the interior. I believe the State was the sole revival house in Delaware at the time ('70s-'80s).

kencmcintyre on July 5, 2009 at 9:18 am

There is another 1981 photo on this site:

mayababe1 on December 20, 2009 at 7:03 pm

My grandfather, William Clancy was the manager of the State Theatre in Newark for at least 30 years. My dad said he remembered seeing the famous cowboys of the time with their horses on stage at the State Theatre.

WilliamSpainhour on January 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

The State was built around 1935 & fitted out for vaudeville as well as movies. It was a handsome house, but lack of maintenance put it in physical decline by the Seventies. Under David Bartholomew, and then Barry Solan, it played great films through the early Eighties. There were also live stage shows, including George Thorogood several times. Through some pretty crappy real estate machinations it was allowed to go vacant & deteriorate further before being torn down. The site sat vacant for years as the “Field of Dreams” before a mini-mall went up. Another loss for Newark, which never really seemed to care about its historic buildings anyway.

ronnie21 on May 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm

clockwork orange showed here in Summer of 1980…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

The NRHP nomination form for the State Theatre says that it opened in May, 1929. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The State Theatre was built by Louis Handloff, who had operated a small theater on Main Street called the Hanark for several years. He closed the Hanark Theatre when the State opened. Handloff also bought the Newark Opera House, an 1885 theater that sometimes showed movies during the silent era.

An organization called Video Americain says that they operated the State Theatre as a repertory cinema from 1979 until mid-1986.

donharris on June 25, 2013 at 11:00 am

I fell in love with Haley Mills in 1962. I was 9 years old and she stared in the film “the Castaways"at the State Theater. What a great place to watch a Saturday Matinee. Abbot & Costello, Jerry Lewes,old cowboy movies. My dad went there as a kid too. After the movie we would go to the Delux Grill next store for a cherry soda. Newark was great back then. Fell sorry for the kids now. Can’t have memories like we did.

runusmc on July 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm

My mother and father in law met at the State Theater prior to dating. They did get married, had 6 daughters and are still married and alive as of July 5, 2014.

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