State Theatre -- Pasadena

770 E. Colorado Blvd.     | map | 

Pasadena, CA  91101

Opened: 1918 as the Florence Theatre, an independent operation of D.H. Schumann. In 1928 it was acquired by Turner, Dahnken & Langley. That company was later to become a big part of the West Coast Theatres chain. The theatre was still running as the Florence as late as 1935.

It's unknown when it became the State. Possibly after a rebuild following a mid-30s fire.
The theatre was operated for decades by Fox West Coast and its successor companies. It later became part of the Pussycat chain but recovered from that fate.

After a spell as a Chinese language cinema, it became an independent revival house. The State was known for attracting cinephiles with rare and quirky double bills.  Jim Darrell advises that the last film to play was "The Insider" with Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.

Architect:  Oliver Perry Dennis. He also designed the Rialto Theatre downtown, opening in 1917.

Seating: 797 at one point

Status: Closed for good in 2000. Now a retail and office complex with the the theatre space completely gutted and the building envelope pushed up for a new second floor over the storefront space on either side of the entrance. Much of the theatre's entrance on the rebuilt building is original.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the State for lots of discussion about its history by Ken McIntyre, Joe Vogel and other contributors. 

Cinema Tour has three exterior views from the Scott Neff collection. 

The State Theatre is discussed in Matt Hormann's Hometown Pasadena article "Ghost Theatres of Colorado Part 2."  A number of Pasadena theatre photos (including several of the State) appear in the Flickr pool "Keepers of Pasadena."

A view of the State Theatre
during its revival house days.

photo: Gary Graver

[ click on the image to enlarge ]

Gary Graver (1938-2006) was a filmmaker and cinematographer.
 Over several decades he took many photos of theatres in
Los Angeles and Portland, OR.  More can be seen on
You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2."
Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo.

    Cinema Treasures

A 1917 sketch for the exterior by the theatre's architect
 Oliver P. Dennis. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor
 Dallas Movie Theatres for adding it to the page.
A 1918 lobby view from Dallas Movie Theaters. "It’s May of
1918 and during WWI, D.H. Schumann opens his $45,000
theater, the New Florence, with an Italian water fountain."

A 1925 trade magazine shot of the entrance
added to Cinema Treasures by Contributor Dallas
 Movie Theaters. The copy: "Great eye-catching front at
the Florence Theatre by manager T.F. McCoy as he
 plays 1925’s 'I’ll Show You the Town.'"
full size view | on Cinema Treasures

A 2002 Ken Roe photo. He says: "The original
façade had been uncovered by workmen as seen on
 the November 2002 visit I organised to Los Angeles
by the Cinema Theatre Association(UK)."

Also see:
 | empty marquee detail - Gabel |

    Photos of  Los Angeles   

Thanks to Alex Rojas for this shot of
the Pasadena ladies shopping for dresses
across the street from the State.
full size view | on Photos of LA

    Theatres in Los Angeles   

A 1942 view of the State Theatre on p.107 of
"Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper,
Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker, Arcadia
 Publishing, 2008. Most of the rare photos in the book
 are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

Ken McIntyre has also posted the photo
on his Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
It's also in one of his Photobucket albums.

Charmaine has the photo in her 700+ photo
Theatres: Stage and Movie set of images culled (mostly)
 from various issues of Motion Picture News.

Many volumes of the Motion Picture News are
available for browsing on the internet Archive.

A view of the former State Theatre building.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click to enlarge ]

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    California State Library   

A wonderful look at the State Theatre facade from
the California State Library collection. We're running
"The Sign Invisible" with Mitchell Lewis, released in 1918. 
full size view | data page

A view of the boxoffice area. The California Library
dates these three views as 1919. 
full size view | data page

A look at the auditorium. 
full size view | data page

    Huntington Digital Library

A 1928 view of the State Theatre, then
called the Florence, by Harold A. Parker.
full size view

The Florence is running "The Air Circus" with Sue Carol.
The banner below the marquee reads "OUR SCREEN TALKS
AND SINGS Movietone Talking Newsreel Weekly."

On the Huntington Library page you can
use the slider to get a larger image -- then you
can pan around to explore details.

    Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr

A 2000 look at the theatre by Eric Lynxwiler.

The photo also appears, without credit
 to Eric, on Cinema Treasures.

    Corey Miller on Flickr

A view of the State Theatre marquee after closing
in 2000. Corey Miller's photo appears in his
 "Theatre Signs" set. 
full size view

The photo above also appears as part of a 2012
story on LAist -- "Ghosts of Movie Houses Past."

    Tahoe 61 on Flickr

A 1996 view of the State by Tahoe 61. 
full size view

    Charmaine Zoe on Flickr

A 1926 look at the Florence running "The Still
Alarm" with Helene Chadwick. Note the display of
the horse-drawn fire engine above the marquee.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres