State Theatre

21-23 W. Seventh Avenue,
Gary, IN 46402

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp., Great States, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

State Theater, Gary IN

The State Theatre was the last new showplace built in downtown Gary. More accurately, part of the State Theatre was new, and part wasn’t.

The State Theatre was opened on October 1, 1937, late in the movie palace era and long after Broadway had been fully developed in downtown Gary. With no sites available on the city’s main thoroughfare, the State Theatre owners looked at cross streets visible from Broadway and found an opportunity at the southeast corner of W. Seventh Avenue and Washington Street, exactly one block north of the old Orpheum Theatre. Here at 21-39 W. Seventh Avenue since at least 1908 stood the 50-ftx125-ft two story Kahn Building behind which was 70-ft of Washington Street frontage including two undeveloped 30-ft lots.

The State Theatre consisted of a new 61-ftx125-ft auditorium with 1,200-seats on the main floor and balcony. The auditorium paralleled the Kahn Building with the screen abutting Washington Street and the crossover foyer adjacent to Alley One West. The builders hollowed out Kahn’s easternmost storefront, the one at 21 W. 7th Avenue, and bolted a new 59-ft deep two-story-high lobby onto the auditorium. The theatre entrance was decorated with an elegant marquee supporting a short vertical. The Kahan building was remodeled and resurfaced in a Skouras-like Streamline Moderne style.

The State Amusement Company, incorporated in January 1937 by Christ Pannos and brothers Peter & George Kalleres, launched the project. In April 1937 Boxoffice reported that “an affiliation with B. & K. had been effected whereby the circuit would be part owners of the State Theatre & Grand Theatre and would be operating both theatres”. Thereafter the State Theatre was co-owned by the B&K/John Balaban subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Inc. Until his death in January 1943 Kalleres served as B&K city manager tending to both the State Theatre and Grand Theatre. Tula Kelleres, his widow, succeeded him.

The State Theatre was a first-run showplace. In its early years it and the Grand Theatre booked films from MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers & United Artists. In 1969 B&K took full ownership of the State Theatre. The State Theatre became the last downtown Gary movie theatre to operate and it closed in the 1970’s and was abandoned and then demolished.

Contributed by Denverpalace

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

jackshaw on November 29, 2006 at 5:06 pm

Wish I could remember more about the State. I remember going there as a kid and getting in for $.85. It wasn’t as nice on the inside as the Palace Theater, located a few short blocks from there. The State Theater sat one half block off Broadway. We use to go to the movies and afterward eat at the Kopper Kettle, Just down from the theater. The last time I saw the building, before the demo., the doors were off and it was full of garbage. How sad! I think I saw The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Anthony Quinn at this theater, about 1960.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 1, 2009 at 11:26 pm

The October 23, 1937, issue of Boxoffice reported that the State Theatre had opened recently. The house was jointly operated by the Great States circuit and Peter Kalleres.

Kalleres died in 1943, and his obituary in the January 23 issue of Boxoffice said that at the time of his death he was operating the State and Grand theaters in Gary in partnership with Balaban & Katz. He had earlier operated other theaters in Gary, and at least two theaters in other towns as well.

kallindy on June 22, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Peter kalleres was my grandfather. trying to find any information on this fascinating era.

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