LOEW'S STATE 152 S. Main
 

Opened 1920   .     Closed 1970  .  Seats 2566   .   Demolished 1972

Loew's State was built into an older warehouse which actually fronted Second Street. Second Street wasn't a suitable address for such a prestigious theater so Loew's acquired a single storefront on Main Street which aligned with the warehouse/auditorium on 2nd. Unfortunately, there was an alley between the two buildings 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 theater wasn't at capacity, the sign on the stairs said "downstairs closed" instead of the usual "balcony closed" .

 

Click on small photos for an enlargement

 

1936

1951

1955

 1956

1958

 

Marquee-night Entrance Foyer Entrance Foyer Foyer Stairs

lobby

         

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 two big Loew's theaters in downtown Memphis were under construction at the same time.  The last movie at Loew's State was "WUSA" with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. 

 

Circa 1920's

1940

1952

1954

State's Changing Marquee

 

 

1958

1960

1968

 

Reissue GoneWithTheWind

Loew's State became notable for being the place where Elvis Presley got his first job in 1948 as an usher, being fired, and then re-instated.

Loew's Metropolitan is listed in the 1920 Memphis Directories at 152 S. Main.  The name changed to Loew's State in the 1921 Directory and continues up to 1958.  We've not verified beyond 1958.

 

The Demolition of Loew's State - 1972 ...and Memorabilia...
 

Demolition 1972   Demolition 1972 Demolition -1972
 

1968-  MLK Memorial March - Memphis Riots

1960 Advertising

1953 Ad

Variety 1921

Auditorium 1922

 

1926 Ad

Corridor Light

1934 Ad

1934 Ad

A.Groom-Elvis

           Loew's State Auditorium

 

 

Miniature Model 1941 Ad

1947 Ad

1964 Ad

 

1965 Ad

Loews Ticket

 
 

$250,000 Movie Quiz Contest ... 1938

Sponsored by the Motion Picture Exhibitors, Distributors, and Producers of the U.S. and Canada, the first prize was $50,000.  The rule booklet featured a photo and credits of 94 movies released from July to December, 1938.  Contestants picked up a booklet in any theatre, and answered a question about any 30 of the movies listed.  This very rare booklet is from Loew's State Theatre.  It's a literal time capsule of vintage movies and actors from 1938.    ... Collection Gene Gill

      Cover  

Back Cover  

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Advertising Ink Blotter

NY Clipper 1919

1920 Opening

Variety 1921

1951 ... Snow

1946 Ad       
 
 

Loew's Interiors

Opening Day

Grand Opening

 

1920 Opening Ad

 
 
 
 

Frederick Regenold :  "I worked as an usher at the Loew's State the year before Elvis. It was the summer of '47 when "EASY TO WED" with Esther Williams and Van Johnson and "CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA" with Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains and Stewart Granger played there. The manager was right out of a comic book… but not funny. He thought because he was the manager of the Loew's State, he was ruler of the world. My classmate, Fred Dennison, told me about the job. Poor Elvis. No wonder he got fired by that ass.... However, Elvis was reinstated… so maybe the manager got fired." 

Gene Gill:  " The Big Bands of the 40's-50's frequently appeared at Loew's State. For the regular price of the movie, you got a first run film and then a stage show featuring one of the bands - usually when they had a hit record. I remember seeing Vaughn Monroe's show in 1947 when he had a major hit of 'Dance Ballerina Dance' .  And during this same period Louis Prima and Keely Smith appeared with their stage show." 
 

Jo Lynn Yarbrough Smith:  "My Mother took me to Loew's State Theatre for my birthday to see the picture show and Sammy Kaye's Orchestra Show which was also playing. Sammy Kaye invited guests from the audience to lead his band and I was picked. What a thrill for me ... and I led the band to the tune of 'Orange Colored Sky'.  I was presented a baton from Sammy Kaye and a picture of my performance, which I still have to this day." 

Eddie Cooper, Memphis "Anyone who ever went to the movies at the Loew's State remembers the feeling of royalty as you walked up and up from one landing to the next between walls and ceilings of mirrors. And with all the glass chandeliers. It was a pretty spectacular entrance! It wasn't until many years later that I figured out that all those mirrors were just to make a long tunnel seem wider and shorter. They were really leading us up and over the alley behind Main St. and into the theater which was actually in a building on Second. Those rascals !"

Micki Groom Creamer:  "My Dad was the manager of the Loew's State from 1949 till the mid 1960's, not too sure. As many may know, my Dad did fire Elvis Presley when he was an usher scuffling with another usher in the early 50's, but eventually hired him back. Truly amazing....a kid is an usher and about 5 years later, he is coming back to see himself up on the screen. That was quite a night. My Dad held a private screening for Elvis, his parents, and friend visiting from Hollywood, Nick Adams, and of course the Groom family was there in full force!   I was a candy girl at the Loew's State during my high school years and met my future husband who was an usher at Loew's Palace".

 

 
 

 

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