Loew's State Theatre

152 S. Main Street,
Memphis, TN 38103

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Iceberg on June 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm

I’m unsure exactly when Elvis worked as an usher at the Loew’s State. I’ve seen varied dates for the two instances he worked there. However, some sources give the times as Sept. 1950 and June 1951. If those are correct, it’s interesting to note what was showing at the theater while Elvis worked there. 1950: Friday—Sept.1—Last Day—SUMMER STOCK Starts tomorrow—A LIFE OF HER OWN Friday—Sept. 8—Starts tomorrow—LOVE THAT BRUTE Friday, Sept. 15—THE MEN {plus Pete Smith’s Football Thrills) Friday, Sept.22—THE SLEEPING CITY Friday, Sept. 29—SADDLE TRAMP. Starts Thursday: THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS There’s two things to note in the above. THE MEN was Marlon’s Brando’s first movie and maybe the sort of thing Elvis imagined himself doing as an actor. THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS was a Mario Lanza movie produced by Joe Pasternak and directed by Norman Taurog. If Elvis saw this movie, or at least the trailer and posters for it, he saw his basic movie future as this pictre was not too far afield from the bulk of the Elvis films. In fact, SPINOUT. produced by Pasternak and directed by Taurog, played its first Memphis run at the State in 1966. I don’t have the listings for June, 1951, but I may enter them here at a later time. I would like to know for sure what the actual timeframes of Elvis' two rounds of employment were. As I said, the info above may not be from one of the actual times he worked there, but some sources cite it as one of the two.

vastor on June 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

A new night photo of the State has been posted.

vastor on August 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I have seen several Loew’s State and Loew’s Palace programs due to be processed shortly at Memphis and Shelby County Room Memphis Public Library and Information Center

vastor on March 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

This message refers to the photo with the curved marquee and the “Bijou” sign to its left.

The film on the Loew’s State marquee is “The Price of Redemption” released in September of 1920. It was a drama set in India, released by Metro Pictures (not Metro Goldwyn Mayer, too old), six reels. Above the film title is “Twenty Movie Stars.” It is possible that this film did not play in Memphis when released; the State opened October 7, 1920, so it could have played in 1921 when the Bijou was open. No Christmas decorations so this wasn’t a Christmas Parade.

Cast Cecil, Edward as [Govind Singh, the Rajah] Higby, Wilbur as [Colonel Dering] Lytell, Bert as [Leigh Dering] Moore, Michael D. (I) as (as Mickey Moore) [Billy] Morrison, Arthur (I) as [Colonel Desmond] Stevens, Landers as [Richard Willoughby] de Courelle, Rose Marie as [Ayah] Madison, Cleo (I) as [Anne Steel] Owen, Seena as [Jean Dering]


vastor on February 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

The new photos are after 1920, first marquee; after 1929, first marquee and vertical; 1956, second marquee; 1968 (Memphis Riots) altered marquee and second vertical (altered).

michaelkaplan on June 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Here’s a link to a remembrance and photo of Loew’s State Memphis: http://www.memphistechhigh.com/memphis/memories/state.html

TLSLOEWS on May 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Marcus Loew was born on this date in 1870.

TLSLOEWS on December 1, 2009 at 11:05 am

Well Elvis worked there and was fired from there I have heard, by old time manager Mr. Grooms I think was his name.

RHicks on August 18, 2006 at 9:34 am

Demolition of the State may have started in 1971, but most of it took place in the first part of 1972.

The last movie shown there was definitely WUSA. It was showing when it closed for the last time in October, 1970.

The last movie shown at the Warner was “Coogan’s Bluff.”

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 25, 2006 at 8:24 am

PC, I was never in the Loew’s State, but know it was very similar in style (Thomas Lamb’s “Loew’s Anywhere Adam”)to the Loew’s Palace around the corner on Union. The LP had a faux fireplace in the women’s smoker. There was a steam radiator behind a grill, then grill fit inside what normally would be the firebox, a traditional mantle finished out the effect. The mantle found its way into a friend’s dining room shortly after the LP was torn down.

It’s nice to know that the State was similarly equipped.

PineCabn on April 25, 2006 at 6:33 am

I thought that “WUSA” was the last movie shown at the Warner. I remember there being fireplaces (faux I’m sure) just outside the seating area. Hey, I’m old, maybe I was at the Lowes State, but I was there the last night for one of them.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on May 8, 2005 at 2:02 pm

Norman, I have to agree with you about Memphis' which of the big 4 theatres in downtown Memphis was the finest. The Loew’s State with its half-block long lobby and its Thomas Lamb “Adam” auditorium was a masterpiece. The Orpheum is bigger and possibly richer, but the Loews State was a masterpiece. And to think, the lot sat there empty for 30 years. Tears over spilled milk, I know, but none-the-less, a sad loss.

The Memphis Public Library has a couple of vaudeville programs from this theatre and photos of it being torn down.

Backseater on October 17, 2004 at 10:08 pm

I saw many movies at the State while attending Southwestern at Memphis (“Rhodes College”—gag) in the early 1960s. I partiularly remember Bob Hope in “Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number” (boy, did he!) and Jane Mansfield in “Primitive Love” (Primitive was right!) Then I graduated and went off to the AF, and when I returned to Mempho in 1973 it was gone. There was another theater next door called the Strand that played mostly porno in the late 60’s and it was gone too. Ah, memories.

recorder on July 24, 2004 at 3:40 am

The LS was owned by the Loew’s theater chain until 1964 when it was sold to Gulf States Theaters, who owned it for the last six years of its existence. When it was sold in 1964, the word “Loew’s” on the front of the marquee was covered over, probably with plywood and painted yellow to match the rest of the sign, so that only the word “State” still showed, obviously somewhat off-center.

The last film to play there was “WUSA” starring Paul Newman. The wife and I saw the next to last film “The Watermelon Man” starring Godrey Cambridge.

It’s too bad that someone with sufficient funds, like Elvis Presley, couldn’t have saved this theater. We always thought it was the most beautiful downtown, even though the Orpheum, called the Malco when we knew it after the local theater chain of the same name, is very nice and still exists primarily for stage productions.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on March 2, 2004 at 9:46 am

The Loew’s State auditorium was built into an older warehouse which fronted Second Street. Second Street wasn’t a suitable address for such a prestigious theater so Loew’s aquired a single storefront on Main Street which aligned with the warehouse/auditorium on 2nd. Unfortunately, there was an alley between the two building which the City of Memphis would not allow Loew’s to close off. The solution? The storefront was gutted and turned into a lovely half-block-long lobby which ended in a single grand stairway. This stairway rose to a level high enough to allow a bridge over the alley and entered the auditorium at balcony level.

When the LS was not at peak capacity, the sign on the stairs said “downstairs closed” instead of the usual “balcony closed” so familiar to those going to the movies in the 1960’s.

The State had a vaudeville stage and pit. The hall was never renovated during its life and so retained all it’s Thomas Lamb “Loew’s Adam” decor to the end.

The first organ in the Loew’s State was a Moller. It was replaced by a Wurlitzer in the mid-1920’s. The 2 big Loew’s theaters in downtown Memphis were under construction at the same time and both the Mollers and the Wurlitzers were consecutive opus numbers.

There are photos of the Loew’s State and some vaudville “playbills” in the archives of the Memphis Pubilc Library.

William on December 5, 2003 at 4:43 pm

The Loew’s State Theatre seated 2566 people.

ctaras on January 14, 2003 at 12:51 pm

Loew’s State was demolished in 1970-71…not 1964. It remained in operation until just before its demolition.