Golden State Theatre
417 Alvarado Street,
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A "budget atmospheric", the Golden State Theatre originally seated 1,600. Rather than a sky with twinkling stars, the State Theatre has a painted canopy with bits of "sky" around the edges. The many coves and niches were backlit with three colors (red, blue, amber) with the upper-most coves back lit with three color neon.
The auditorium gives the feeling of being in an outdoor Spanish courtyard.
Even with the balcony divided into two theatres, the State Theatre is still largely intact. There is an immense amount of unused space on the second and third floors above the lobby.
The present Wurlitzer pipe organ was installed in 1992 replacing the original instrument removed in 1954. The organ console sits on the original 1926 hydraulic lift. The theatre was equipped with space for four organ chambers, though just two have ever been used.
Designed by the Bay Area firm of Reid Brothers, the theatre opened August 6, 1926 and was a part of the Golden State circuit. In 1967 the State was sold to United Artists. The relatively unobtrusive triplexing was done in 1976 after an unsuccessful campaign to get the City of Monterey to buy the theatre.
Through the 1990’s, there has been another campaign of various groups to convince the City to buy the State as an adjunct to its conference/convention facility. The city has clearly stated that as long as more than one organization desires to buy the theatre, they (the City) will not support either group. The only real option (should the theatre ever end its commercial status)is for the city of Monterey to own and restore the theatre as have countless other cities across the world.
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