Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sneaking Inside Downtown's The State Theatre

The State

Thanks to the Los Angeles Conservancy's Last Remaining Seats event, we've had the opportunity many times to spend time inside some of downtown's grand Broadway theaters -- including the Los Angeles Theatre, the Palace and the Million Dollar Theatre. (We've also been to countless events at the rehabbed Orpheum). But there are still several old movie palaces on Broadway that are tougher to visit -- they're either shut down, being used as churches or otherwise inaccessible.

A few weeks ago, Maria and I were walking down Broadway when we noticed that the door to The State theatre, currently operating as a church, was open. We decided to walk in and take a look. Nothing was going on at the time, and only a handful of people were inside, busy doing various things. So I did my duty for the blog, and started snapping pictures.

The State is not nearly as grand as most of the other Broadway theatres, but it looks like the lobby was quite attractive at one point. It's now in bad need of an overhaul -- one that it may soon be getting. According to Curbed LA, "the Delijani family, longtime owners of the Palace, State, Los Angeles, and Tower theaters expects to file documents with the Department of City Planning for a proposal that would bring the turn-of-the-20th-century theaters back to life by transforming them into concert venues and delivering restaurants and bars."

It looks like The State is probably at the bottom of the priority list for the Delijani family, and their work is indeed cut out for them. When Maria and I visited, I peered into the auditorium and immediately saw a rat dash down the aisles. Welcome!

Here are some of the pics I snapped at the State:

The State

Inside the auditorium.

The State

The lobby ceiling.

The State

More of the State's peeling ceiling.

The State

The 2nd floor.

The State

The State lobby.

The State

The State aisle

The State

More from the auditorium.

Last Bookstore

The State staircase.

Last Bookstore

The State's ticket booth.

Originally known as Loew's State, the theatre was built in 1921. The State was still showing movies as recently as the late 1990s (here's a photo of the marquee from 1995, when "Money Train" and "Ace Ventura 2" were playing); check out this site for a great, thorough history of The State. More info also at Cinema Treasures here.

5 comments:

donnie said...

I LOVE these old places. For an extra treat you should check out the Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation. They hold "All About..." events inside old theaters--on Broadway and elsewhere. We get history, and often an opportunity to explore all over the theater (backstage, basement, projection room, etc, etc, etc.) Not to be missed!

Soul-Pilot said...

It may not have been as "Grand" as some of the others but your photos show it is still wonderfully beautiful!

Anonymous said...

The State Theatre is at the bottom of the list for restoration by the Delijani Family only because the theatre is presently leased. Being that the theatre is on the signature corner of Ezat Delijani Square I would look forward to some great things in the years to come.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

B Counter said...

Thanks for a great article. And it's good to see more photos of a building where they don't encourage access. I've added some of your photos to the pages on the State Theatre. -- Bill Counter https://sites.google.com/site/downtownlosangelestheatres/state-3

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