Loew's State Theatre

1540 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Loew's State

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Loew’s State Theatre opened on August 9th 1921, with vaudeville and movies, and the adjoining office building that became Loew’s headquarters.

Many World Premieres were hosted here including “The Three Musketeers” on October 20, 1948. Loew’s State Theatre was closed in 1958 for modernisation. The theatre reopened on March 28, 1959, with the World Premiere engagement of “Some Like It Hot”. The theatre was very successful in the 1960’s with reserved-seat road shows such as “Ben Hur”.

World Premiere’s of 70mm movies at the Loew’s State Theatre included “Ben Hur”(November 18, 1959 and played for 74 weeks), “King of Kings”(October 11, 1961), “Mutiny on the Bounty”(November 8, 1962), “Becket”(March 3, 1964), “The Agony and the Ecstasy”(October 7, 1965), “The Bible in the Beginning….”(September 28, 1966) and “Paint Your Wagon”(October 16, 1969 in Loew’s State 2). In 1972, “The Godfather” had its World Premiere here.

Partly due to the loss of Loew’s Capitol Theatre, Loew’s twinned the State Theatre. The balcony overhang was extended to create State 1 (1,172 seats) in the downstairs auditorium, State 2 (1,214 seats) used the upper portion of the original proscenium arch, was designed in a more ornate fashion, and had some original side wall and ceiling decoration visible. The theatre reopened December 1968, with “Oliver” in State 1 and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” in State 2.

The Loew’s State Theatre closed February 19,1987.

In the 1990’s the State Theatre and the adjoining office building which had been Loew’s headquarters were demolished and replaced by a Virgin Megastore. A replacement four-screen multiplex, the Loew’s State 4, opened in the basement in 1996, but closed in 2006 after the opening nearby in W. 42nd Street of two stadium seated megaplexes; the AMC Empire 25 and the 42nd Street E-Walk(13-screens opened by Loew’s in 1999 and operated by Regal since the AMC-Loew’s merger)

Contributed by William Gabel, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 505 comments)

davidcoppock on August 22, 2017 at 4:25 am

Is this the theatre Elvis Presley worked at(as a usher?) before he was famous?

davidcoppock on August 22, 2017 at 6:57 am

Thank you very much!!

vindanpar on November 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm

Paint Your Wagon is another film that should have been shot in 70MM. As in Camelot Truscott’s wonderful work never got the photography it should have. In Cecil Beaton’s diaries he talks about the opening night world premiere at Loew’s State, how dreadful the film is and fleeing at intermission. Actually the complete roadshow film is very entertaining and the stereophonic score is stunning.

Note the mail order ad says 70MM and the opening day ad says Panavision.

How can you not like Lee Marvin singing Wanderin' Star with a great back up male chorus that could never be used on stage? The same with Maria. Some great songs here.

DavidZornig on February 13, 2018 at 5:44 pm

1962 photo added via Raymond Storey.

SethLewis on February 14, 2018 at 1:39 am

I agree Paint Your Wagon much maligned as a movie…probably miscast in terms of talent for musicals but the story, the songs are great and Lee Marvin Clint Eastwood Jean Seberg can only be faulted for a lack of chemistry

DavidZornig on March 22, 2018 at 9:44 am

1958 photo added via Al Ponte’s Time Machine-New York Facebook page.

vindanpar on March 27, 2018 at 7:40 pm

Per the posted ad for Dr Dolittle comment:State I was the orchestra and State II was the balcony.

By Christmas ‘69 neither film was at this theater. Chitty Chitty was long gone. I saw it summer of '69 at a drive-in and Oliver went into wide release for Christmas '69 and was no longer a reserved seat attraction at least in NY. Paint Your Wagon was the reserved seat attraction in State II in '69 and the last one ever at Loew’s State. I think the X rated Without a Stitch(somebody correct me if I’m wrong) might have been the State I Christmas film heralding in the Times Square squalor of 70s drugs and exploitation.

I saw Dolittle in the suburbs at Christmas time ‘68 and knew even as a child it was a dog. Tried watching it on DVD and stopped at the intermission with no desire to go back to it. Funny because it has a very good score. Even Bobby Darin put out a good album of the songs. It’s probably the reason Tommy Tune tried to make it into a stage musical which didn’t make it to Broadway.

Once the reviews came out the box office must have just died. But it made a spectacular billboard across the street above the Astor and Victoria. Remember seeing it on my way with my family to The Happiest Millionaire at the Music Hall. Somebody must have a photo of that.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 27, 2018 at 8:28 pm

The Christmas 1969 film at the State One was “Gaily, Gaily” with Beau Bridges. A rare film to find today.

DavidZornig on April 6, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Shorpy link with a 1949 photo. Be sure to click on View Full Size.


Ed Solero
Ed Solero on April 7, 2018 at 11:46 am

Fantastic pic, with amazing detail when you zoom in on the full size and do a little panning and scanning. Thanks for sharing the find, David!

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