State Theatre

617 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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Photo courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page.

Opened in 1879 as the Park Theatre. It was across Washington Street from the RKO Boston (Cinerama).

Always an adult house since I remember it from 1960. It was around the corner from the Avery Hotel and I believe there was an underground tunnel to the hotel for performers way back when it was a live house.

Contributed by Richard Dziadzio

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

alberwi on April 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

According to various comments above, this theatre started showing adult films in 1960, and a comment dated 11/04/2004 by Gerald gives the titles of two films showing there in 1962. Just out of curiosity, I looked up “Naked Island” and “The Facts of Love” on IMDB, and neither appears to be anything resembling an “adult” film; the former is some kind of Japanese art film and the latter is a comedy dating back to 1945! This would seem to contradict the characterization of the place as an adult house…unless of course those titles just belonged to obscure x-rated junk that doesn’t get featured on IMDB.

[Some time later…] Ah, this explains it (an excerpt from a listing on a movie poster website,

“Film Description: Naked Island, the circa 1960s William Mishkin nudist colony sexploitation movie ("Bold! Daring!”; “All new”; “Today’s Garden of Eden…Vacation paradise for hundreds of Adams and Eves!”; “The land of 1001 nudes”; “Revealing! Unashamed! Uninhibited!”; “Scenes in blushing color”)."

An interesting poster (must have been considered quite salacious in its day):

View link

Additional research has failed to discover any adult version of the other movie, so perhaps that one was the 1945 film which was just shown as a filler, or else some totally obscure schlock flick…and it would have to be obscure indeed, not to appear on the internet somewhere.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 23, 2011 at 6:16 pm

JustPlainBill- The very first time I went into the TransLux, circa 1960, just to see the interior, there was a b&w movie playing which was about a girls volleyball team which played its games and its practise sessions naked. It wasn’t a xxx porno film. The poster you linked to is very typical of the posters for this type of movie at that time.

dickneeds111 on March 30, 2012 at 5:59 pm

The State(Translux) was showing aduly material in the late 50’s. Most of the material were films shown at Nudist Camps. This was the beginning of so called Porn. I remember walking and looking at the promo pics with black lines across many nude bodies and saying I can’t go in there because I was young and if my miother had found out I probably wouldn’t be here today.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 1, 2012 at 6:46 pm

The pair of 1939 photos from Boxoffice trade paper illustrate why the Boston Landmarks Commission around 1985 did not consider this theater for inclusion, despite its great age. They felt that the theater interior had been ruined by renovations, and these photos prove their point.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

DavidZornig on June 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

1954 photo as the Trans-Lux added courtesy of MIT Libraries.

adamghost on August 27, 2015 at 10:01 am

Another photo:

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Two 1965 photos as the State Theatre added, photos credit Boston City Censor.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm

In the photo section there are 2 photos taken of the Park’s fancy facade in its early days as a “motion picture” theater. This facade was part of the building which preceeded the Crabtree Building – that’s why it doesn’t look at all like the facade in the later State Theatre photos. I once saw a photo of the Park entrance taken after it was built in 1879 and the entrance was through an old house-like structure something like the old Boston Globe Corner Bookstore at the northwest corner of Washington & School streets.

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