State Theatre

453 Northampton Street,
Easton, PA 18042

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DavidZornig on March 26, 2018 at 5:58 pm

Summer 1969 photo added credit Joel J. Reisteter‎. Beneath the State Theatre marquee.

kencmcintyre on September 3, 2009 at 6:48 pm

The appearance isn’t scheduled until January 9, but the NAACP wants it canceled now.

kencmcintyre on September 3, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Here is a September 3 article about an appearance by Glenn Beck at the State:

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on January 12, 2009 at 8:15 pm

A 1996 view of the State Theatre in Easton.

TheaterBuff1 on May 7, 2008 at 10:51 pm

I don’t know if it was ever true, but years ago when Pinder was dropped from the Moody Blues, I remember the rumor circulating at the time was because he was bald. And after Pinder’s departure, the Moody Blues sound was never quite as great, as innovative. The 1970s, unlike the ‘60s, was when the music industry suddenly turned very cutthroat, since by that point it became ALL about money. You can really see that transition vividly if you watch the movies WOODSTOCK and MESSAGE TO LOVE: THE 1970 ISLE OF WIGHT CONCERT back to back. At the 1970 Isle of Wight Concert, when the Moody Blues debuted “Nights in White Satin” for the first time — at least, to a mainstream audience — they and all the other acts were perfectly willing to do the show for free, while the concert promoters tried to turn the event into one big rip-off. And the audience kept being told, “The artists won’t perform unless you pay up,” making the artists look like they were the guilty greedy ones. From the artists’ viewpoint it must’ve felt pretty terrifying. For imagine if you will, you’ve created this music, it’s your creation, but you can’t perform it for free if you wish to because of the contract you’ve been signed to. It must’ve felt like they were suddenly living under slavery. Add to this that the Isle of Wight Concert itself took place on public trust land, meaning it was illegal to charge people money to see concerts there. But….it was the ‘70s meets the '60s, and the Moody Blues, along with the other artists, had little choice but to handle it as graciously as they could. And they did a beautiful job of it. As Ray Thomas told the audience that night, grateful for how much it appreciated their never heard before songs (at least mainstream-wise they had never been heard before), “Nights in White Satin” being one: “What you’ve given us tonight, you can’t put a price on that!”

As for YouTube, since I’m using dial-up and have yet to find a way to download videos from there so I can watch them off line at their right speed, nonetheless I probably have those Moody Blues rock videos you’re referring to on VHS. I know somewhere in my old stash of tapes I’ve got a psychedelic version of them doing “Nights in White Satin,” plus old b&w footage of the original 1965 Moody Blues doing “Go Now.” And where I was growing up I had never heard the Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” till 1972. I’m a bit stunned to learn only now that those songs were five years old by that point!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 7, 2008 at 8:11 am

Thanks, LM! 1967 – that must be one of the first rock videos ever. The Beatles did a few around that time too (“Strawberry Fields Forever”).

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 7, 2008 at 4:15 am

As far as I know, “Nights in White Satin” is part of every show the Moody Blues give. The woman who plays the flute in place of Ray Thomas is quite good, too. What bothers me most is that Mike Pinder left the group under bad circumstances so none of his compositions are ever performed anymore, and he wrote a lot of my very favorite Moody Blues songs. Oh well.

TheaterBuff1 on May 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

To be sure, when it comes to seeing a movie like SPARTICUS, that is definitely the kind of theater you want to see it in! At the same time, when it comes to seeing a group like the Moody Blues perform live, a theater no less than this will do! Which leads me to wondering if any efforts are being made so that it can present both motion pictures and live presentations? And I’m not talking about anything tacky or make-shift when it comes to a fly-up or retractable screen, but something very professional and compliant with William Howard Lee’s masterful architecture.

Meantime, to Bill, I’m sorry to hear Ray Thomas is no longer with the Moody Blues. The flute solo he does in “Nights in White Satin” is one of the most memorable I know of and what I wouldn’t give to have been there when they performed this live for the first time at the Isle of Wight Concert! Imagine hearing that song for the first time live! But hearing them do a seasoned version of it live at the State — assuming that was still in their repertoire — must’ve been pretty memorable, too!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 6, 2008 at 9:36 am

Wow – I knew movies would look good in there! How wide was the screen? From the width of the proscenium it looked to be as big as the Ziegfeld’s, or even bigger.

When you see a theater like that it’s hard to believe anyone would even think of tearing it down, but of course we all know it happens all the time.

PeterApruzzese on May 6, 2008 at 8:35 am

My mistake, it was 1993 that we were at the State. It was about to be shuttered when we came to town… :)

PeterApruzzese on May 6, 2008 at 8:33 am

Hey, Bill.

We briefly ran classic films here when Nelson was involved with the place in 1991. You should have seen Spartacus, it was only 35mm but looked great!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on May 6, 2008 at 5:10 am

Justin Hayward is still the lead singer. Other original members are John Lodge on bass and Graeme Edge on drums. The band has four other members: a flute player (replacing Ray Thomas), a second drummer, and keyboard players. They put on quite a show, too!

Here’s their official site:

TheaterBuff1 on April 28, 2008 at 1:12 am

The Moody Blues — one of my favorite bands of all times — are still around, still going? How many of the original members are still with them, if any? Is Justin Hayward still the band’s main lead singer? You might also want to make mention of this great experience you had last night at the following CT link —

For in my response to that Australian chap’s inquiry I failed to make mention of the State Theatre.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 27, 2008 at 10:15 pm

I saw The Moody Blues in concert last night at this incredibly beautiful theater. It must’ve been amazing seeing widescreen movies here back in the ‘50s and '60s – the proscenium space is huge!

drumrboy36 on August 23, 2006 at 1:09 am

I was in possession of the celing medallion from the State Theatre ticket booth…..removed in the early 1980’s when theatre was in danger of demolition. Someone gave it to me years later. I just mailed it back to the director of the theatre and hope that they install it back where it belongs.

JimRankin on August 9, 2006 at 10:04 pm

Hello, TheatreBuff1 and all others: I am sorry if it seemed as though I was “jumping on you” in my comment above. The comment was not directed to you or anyone else specifically. It was a Warning to all, and the reader is free to accept or reject it as he sees fit. I stand by the Biblical basis of what I said, the example of King Saul conjuring up the “spirit” of Samuel not withstanding, since this was an example of DIS-obedience to God’s Law and is a negative example not involving any supposedly immortal soul, but that is beyond the scope of this forum, and I will E-mail you privately about that.

My comment said nothing about awards, and if they choose to give such in a former manager’s name, more power to them. As to seeing supposed “tongue-in-cheek humor” in the ornamentation, that is the privilage of any observer, for beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as we have all been told since childhood. The particular image posted by ‘agilitynut’ that you refer to is not of creatures “pawing” something, but is a formalized representation of an idealized Coat-of-Arms according to the art and traditions of Hearaldry. Books on the subject of Heraldry are at libraries and would explain that the two fantastical creatures are “Chimeras” shown in what is called the “rampant” position, figuratively supporting the “Escutcheon” in the center. Far from being a jibe at European history, the artists were trying to convey the regal traditions they sought to adduce to the handsome STATE. (Other elements in that design —the vegetable pendants and the two flaming urns— are artists' liberties and not true to Heraldry.) Heraldric forms have often been used in theatre ornamentation, especially in Spanish or ‘Mediterranean’-themed buildings. I find that polychromed spandrel panel a handsome ornament there.

In life, one step often leads to another, and while I doubt that anyone at the STATE will seek to communicate with the “ghost”, there is the danger that the naive and beguiled will conclude that showing interest in such “jokes” is harmless when in fact it may be construed as an invitation to dangerous demons. Some “jokes” can exact a price far higher than one intends!

TheaterBuff1 on August 9, 2006 at 6:10 pm

Jim, I just knew — I just KNEW! — I was going to hear your commentary on that last post I made on this State Theatre page! So it’s great to hear from you again, my man, and hope you’re doing well since the last time we corresponded!

Meantime, I didn’t know about the warning you posted at the Cinematour forum till now, only that you had posted a comment here at the State Theatre page back on June 10, 2005 combined with my remembering the religious beliefs you hold. And only after I posted what I did did it then cross my mind, uh oh, Jim’s going to jump on me for that! So in preparation I discussed the matter with my brother who’s a real scholar when it comes to the King James, and he said to tell you that in Samuel I that King Saul conjured up the spirit of Samuel, plus there are other instances where ghosts are spoken of in the Bible, and they’re not always bad.

As for me, although I’ve always had a curiosity about ghosts — and seriously, what human being doesn’t? — I’ve never actively sought out proof of such, only tried to find rational explanations for occurances I thought might’ve been such. As you can see in the questions I posted above regarding Freddy. For seriously, what am I going to do with a ghost, Jim? For my interest is in the State Theatre and its beautiful design, while at the same time I was curious what caused some to believe it’s actually haunted by the ghost of J. Fred Osterstock, a former manager, or who many now refer to as “Freddy.” As you likely know, the State Theatre now has an annual award named in his honor — that is, in honor of its former theater manager, now deceased, who had been very dedicated to his craft — and I see nothing wrong with that whatsoever, anymore than if we were talking about the Oscar here, the Emmy, the Tony or what have you. For the award is not named for the ghost but the former and very dedicated manager, that’s how I see it. The “ghost” bit, is just a touch of humor. For all throughout the theater’s over all design I see a lot of tongue-in-cheek humorous touches to it. On the one hand the theater was designed to look very regal, but it’s done in a way that’s just a tad slightly comical, as if to say William Harold Lee and others who were involved in its design were having a bit of fun with it at the same time to show that they weren’t taking themselves too seriously. For don’t you pick up on that when you visit the photo link Agilitynut gave us back on August 5, 2006 and look particularly at the middle photo he has for the State Theatre of the motif to the theater’s frontside depicting those phoenixes (or whatever they are) pawing that coat-of-arms? It’s impressive art on the one hand — looking very British or European — yet there’s a distinctive air to it of Americans poking fun at that sort of thing, too. And it’s the same with the ongoing joke about Freddy, that is Freddy the Ghost, I feel. It’s just an ongoing joke about a ghost nobody truly believes exists, nothing more. Not this people going there to specifically communicate with the dead as you suggest.

JimRankin on August 8, 2006 at 6:25 am

All this talk about “ghosts” in theatrs may make it seem ‘cool’ to speak of one, but do read my WARNING in my comment at the link below, please, so as to save yourself possible pain!
View link

TheaterBuff1 on August 7, 2006 at 6:52 pm

Will do, while I have no plans of getting up to Easton, PA anytime soon. Meantime, it would be interesting to learn just how many of the older theaters are haunted — or at least alleged to be haunted — by spirit presences similar. For seriously, talk about dedication to the craft!

TheaterBuff1 on August 6, 2006 at 4:28 pm

Really great photos of a really great theater, guys! But, uh, any that prove once and for all that there really is a spirit wandering around inside that beautiful theater by the name of “Freddy”? Or is that just one of those things you have to go there firsthand to see? And have either of you ever seen him? on August 5, 2006 at 1:24 pm

and a couple more photos at my website (thanks Lost Memory — damn, you’re fast!):

TheaterBuff1 on November 16, 2005 at 8:47 pm

I must have looked and relooked at that photo at the top of this webpage at least a million times now, but have yet to see anything that could even remotely fit the description of a ghost named “Freddy.” I even copied the photo and cropped it down to just the part where the ghost is said to be standing and enlarged it full screen on my computer. Yet even then there was not the slightest indication of any sort of spirit being there, in black & white or otherwise. Sure is a beautiful theater though!

teecee on August 31, 2005 at 5:44 am

A Marr & Colton organ was installed in this theater in 1926, probably as part of the aforementioned remodeling.

JimRankin on June 10, 2005 at 9:31 am

Recent color photos of this theatre can be found on the site: “America’s Stunning Theatres” by photographer and stagehand Noah Kern at: Comments and information may be left there without registration; such can be public view or only to Mr. Kern. Scroll down the page to find the name, and then click on the sample image above it to be taken to the page of photos of it.