State Theatre

515 E Street,
Marysville, CA 95901

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Showing 1 - 25 of 56 comments

dallasmovietheaters on May 27, 2022 at 7:38 pm

Launched September 14, 1927 with “The Ghost Train” supported by Alice Clemo Johnson at the mighty Wurlitzer organ. It became the State under new operators in August of 1936.

Escott O. Norton
Escott O. Norton on July 31, 2020 at 8:38 am

Jmetcalf, what’s the latest? I just drove by the State after not seeing it for years. Did you contact the owners? Does anyone have current or vintage interior pix? Thanks!

jmetcalf on July 30, 2018 at 10:11 am

Seth Gaines please contact me about updating this overview. It’s not totally correct. I think someone changed/ updated the correct post. I have a Facebook page I started years ago about the theatre. I have done much research on this theater.

I’m just recently in contact with one of the owners! He is talking about restoration of the theatre, and just recently got some contractor bids. I’m planning a face to face meeting with him. Will keep updates posted.

DavidZornig on August 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

2017 photo added credit Jesse DuBois‎.

DonaldKirk on November 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

Today, Oct 30, 2016, I sent a message to the City of Marysville, asking what can be done. Although I am no longer involved with the Dunsmuir (CA) California Theatre, it is in usable condition today “partly” due to my efforts. There are ways to get around city ordinance requirements. I have been involved in city(s) politics since 1971 and learned a thing or two contractors don’t know in many cities. As for restoration costs, there is a lot of “used” but new condition seats, lighting, sound systems, etc., that can save $$$$$$$$$$$ and $$$$$$#$#$$. I suggested a way for the city to take over ownership if they will just act upon it. I don’t actually want ownership, but to form a local nonprofit to own it; which I can at first be CEO (until restoration is done); then I’ll rent the theatre for producing shows. I have Entertainment & Senior Housing plans for the Hotel as well. We all need to contact the Mayor and push to have the city act.

richardcbiggs1 on November 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

It was with sadness that I witnessed the demise of the State theatre in Marysville, after being a projectionist there from 1966/1987. I was told that the fire department had a hand in the closure. “It will never be a theatre again” It was quoted.

theatrenut on August 1, 2016 at 1:38 am

i uploaded the original national theatre picture and think that could be a way to restore the marquee. the rockland strand in maine did similiar where the took the 40’s marquee off in favor of the original and set the theatre up for film and stage venues boasting current techonology in a close to historically accurate venue

DonaldKirk on April 28, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Unfortunately I tried a number of times to contact the owners of the theatre to no avail. They won’t even reply to the city. I’m hoping the city ends up taking possession of the theatre and allows me or some group to take ownership of it and get it restored and reopened for both movies and live shows. I’d also like to have the Hotel included in the deal. Together they’d make a great entertainment and meeting place; as well as senior housing (especially Vets). My current email is Don Kirk

melbatoast on April 25, 2016 at 8:52 pm

I lived in Yuba City from 1966-1974. To neuroted: I saw “Bonnie & Clyde” at The State Theater when it first came out, and then again later, as the State and the Sutter would often “re-run” movies that had been out for awhile, sometimes several years later.

I am very interested in refurbishing and restoring The State Theater to its former glory. I think it would be valuable to the community as a tourist destination, if it could be restored as closely as possible to its former glory in the Gold Rush Days. A museum, tours and a gift shop would help this. Also, local merchants could open gold rush themed restaurants & bars to enhance tourism.

I also think Ted Langdell and Donald Kirk had valuable ideas and insights. Ted, I went to YCHS with you. My name was Lori Laningham. I live in Nashville, TN now, but think often of The State Theater and what can be done. It was so sad to see it neglected when I came to visit for our 40th Class Reunion in 2014. I am so glad to see like-minded people worried and concerned about the State Theater’s fate.

cinedependent on January 27, 2016 at 8:07 pm

I remember going there in the 80’s. I was just remembering an add campaign for a charity which ran before every showing. I think it was Carl Reiner, but it could have been Rob. Does anyone else remember these ads, or what chain was running it in the mid-late 80’s and early 90’s before it closed? I also seem to recall it having two screens then, but it had obviously been cut in half from when it did live shows earlier in its existence.

neuroted on May 7, 2015 at 10:52 am

I tried to post this, but I think it got lost. I was stationed at Beale AFB from June 1967 to January 1969. Two films I specifically remember seeing during that time are “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Happening.” Does anyone know how I can find out if I saw these at the State or Tower Theaters? I’m writing something for my film blog and would like to know. Thanks!

DonaldKirk on April 27, 2015 at 1:13 pm

I have owned and managed former movie theatre’s, as live-stage & film venues. I am a concert producer, working with both name recording acts and world’s top tribute artists. I also produce major fundraisers and festivals. Unfortunately, the current owners (a Mr. Benny and his girlfriend/wife? partner won’t talk to anyone; including city officials. I would like the city to put the theatre into redevelopment plans and emenient domain the theatre and hotel. Yes, adding restaurant and exhibition/meeting space on the hotel’s ground floor would be expected; with upstairs, offices (the theatre offices might need to be used for ADA access, including an elevator, 2nd snack bar, restrooms, etc). The 3rd – 5th floors could become low-income/senior housing, additional offices for nonprofit theatre groups, etc. I also have a simular situation in CT; where another 1700+ seat theatre needs restoring. My new email is ; if anyone wants to help try to get the owners to talk about selling. I’m sure with new owners, working to fix the structure’s problems, the city would drop or at least reduce, or postpone the fines levied on the building.

netfreckles on April 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

well I know my husband and I love taking our young kids to old theatres to watch old movies. we used to visit redford,MI theatre often, we wish Marysville state would be bought, we would volunteer to help reopen it anyway we could.

AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

According to the “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ”, pg. 628, the State Theatre in Marysville, California, had a two-manual, seven rank Smith organ installed at some point.

I would guess this was probably before the Wurlitzer opus 1627 replaced it in 1927, but not sure, since the book gives no dates or further information.

TedLangdell on February 17, 2013 at 9:51 am

By way of introduction:

I’ve lived here 1965-79, 1988-present with a decade in Sacramento’s television news and video production scene. Watched the Crest Theater become a restored facility for a variety of activities including film and live performance.

Formerly active in production and post in Sacramento and here in Yuba/Sutter, I currently represent a German maker of 8mm-35mm motion picture transfer gear used by places like the Library of Congress and the British Film Institute, and on the other end by home movie transfer facilities.

As a resident and also local newsperson watching and covering the area… I can tell you that:

Plans but no money (or ability to bring money to the plans) has been a problem for this theater… and the succession of owners of the same-vintage vacant nearby five-story hotel.

Both are on E Street (Highway 70, the main N-S drag through town.

Redevelopment of the State could be paired with the Hotel Marysville that’s on the adjacent corner along with the other buildings in the State’s half-block (which have parking in the back) and turned into a third or fourth tier conference/meeting destination.

The city owns a parking lot on the south side of the hotel. Unfortunately, when nothing happened with the hotel, Marysville had to return federal funding to build a multi-story garage with retail on the ground floor.

The downtown is ripe for some major improvement, and a well-packaged plan (realistic, funded, backed by someone or a group that actually “gets things done”) would be well received.

Marysville now has a new city manager… a long time veteran of city management who is looking for/at options to grow the economic base here.

As Matthew (GarageStudio) and others have mentioned, there is an arts community, arts commission, and a variety of performance groups that could contribute energy, elbow grease and other support and use the facility for their presentations.

The offices along the ground and second floor could be income producing and/or tied to the theater.

It would seem natural to use the State (and its offices) as the home of a local community radio station… either LP (Low Power that can only be licensed to non-profits) or as the studios for a full power non-commercial or commercial station that took advantage of live entertainment broadcast capabilities the theater would afford.

One can see what being located (and now across from) the Miner’s Foundry facility did for KVMR in Nevada City, 40 miles east.

Thoughts of a broadcast that compares in some ways to “Prairie Home Companion” have occurred to me.

A yet-to-be-created local television station could also make use of the space or show-production capabilities the State can provide. It’s the only theater in the area with a fly gallery, for one thing.

The film festival idea has been discussed in the not so recent past.

One approach grew out of things being planned by the “Yuba-Sutter Friday Night Films” group that was active/disbanded a while ago. It was loosely connected to the Yuba-Sutter Regional Arts Council, at the time. I still have the domain name.

One line of thinking being pursued (before the Tower Theater became an office building and the State had the projection room fire) was to use both locations to showcase films that had been shot in the area. Downtown would benefit by foot-traffic between the two locations.

The content would have included Hollywood features like 1970’s “tick… tick… tick…”, a number of other films shot around Yuba, Sutter, Colusa and Butte Counties along with and the efforts of local and regional digital film-makers.


The Arts Council’s offices and auditorium (former Christian Science Church) are a block north of the State on the other side of the street.

D Street is beginning to see a bit of “artsy"ness in that a new Arts Commission supported space has opened on D street, a east and half-a-block south of the State.

Down the street, The Tower Theater was purchased by a family services group and the auditorium space was turned into offices. The vertical sign and marquee remains. The front lobby and other space is becoming a local history museum.

Across from the Tower, the former Mervyn’s store site—on two city blocks—has been recently occupied by Habitat for Humanity, which may or may not be staying long if it can’t get city permits in order.

If Mervyn’s becomes vacant again, it could be used as a convention/meeting space, and has a large parking lot with easy access from Hwy. 70/E St.

(If the museum at the Tower ever grew too large maybe Mervyn’s would be a good location.)

The State could support the historical aspect of the area with presentations of films about the gold rush and Marysville’s role… regional Native American history, agriculture and water much like IMAX films about specific subjects.

The local Punjabi community has events that could take place at the State, and local farming (and now finance) related families who would likely contribute to the restoration or overall several-block effort.

So there’s a lot that can be done, and the area has people willing to do things.

Look at what’s happening to the State’s former sibling, the Sutter Theater in Yuba City. It was converted to a tri-plex at about the time the State was

Also a former UA circuit house, it’s been acquired by a group founded by the owner of the local Carl’s Jr. restaurants and is becoming a local performance space and art gallery.

Part of the process involves making the total cost bite-sized enough to draw funds.

A million dollars is only a thousand $1,000 blocks. Or one hundred $10,000 blocks.

I’d start by getting some private investment or other grant funding to organize a plan, and go from there.


DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

NO…. But needing the amount of restoration it needs, it needs to become a live stage venue again; with big name entertainers, special films, including a yearly film festival. I truly expect that after restoration costs, if someone wanted to show movies, they could build a new movie theater far cheaper. Being divided up into several small movie auditoriums, the entire theatre loses it’s beauty and glory, that is the reason for someone restoring an old theatre. Knocking out the added walls (it’s divided into several theaters right now), will bring back the majestic interior that people want to see in such a restoration; and dividing it into small theatres looses that.

Mikeyisirish on December 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

I hate to ask this, but does that mean that you think it should be demolished, Donald?

DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 6:12 am

I might add, that there’s $ million(s) of repairs and updating that “MUST” be done before the place could reopen. There was a vandal started fire, that from what I understand will cost well over $500,000. alone to repair the damage. Wiring is outdated, Audio and video equipment is old-school; and need replacing, With many years of non-use, the curtains may need replacing; as well, dampness may have caused seats to mill-due or rot. A lot must be done; and unless you’re willing to, or desire to bring in high dollar acts, requiring $$$$$ to book and advertise, the cost of refurbishing it into a movie theatre is not worth the money. After purchase, you’ll need several $ millions just to refurbish and book a number of shows, advertise them, etc.

DonaldKirk on December 14, 2012 at 6:05 am

I have the contact information for the owners; and have for 2 years been trying to get them to talk with me about selling or leasing it to me. The owners and the city are in legal battles at the moment; and even if I (or anyone) purchased the place, the legal matters with the city will need to be resolved (which I think, just getting ownership of the theatre, would accomplish). Unfortunately Mr. Benny and his Ms won’t talk with me, the city OR ANYONE. I have spoke with the city, the owners of the former tire shop building next door and both would like for Mr. Benny to quit playing games and to sell it. Even with cash offered; and the ability to rid himself of the legal battle, he so far, has not been willing to talk with anyone.

Entertainment on December 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Does anyone know who the owners are or the real estate company handling this property so I can make contact with them? I may be interested in opening it back up… Please let me know…Thanks

DonaldKirk on October 21, 2012 at 11:12 am

I recently moved back to Oregon FROM CALIFORNIA; and I’ve opened 2 theatres in CA, that I was told that had city issues; and I’ve also ran for office in both Anaheim (CA) and Redding (CA); and have been involved in CA politics since 1971. People that knows how the CA political process works can accomplish things other’s can’t. Now in NW Oregon, I don’t know their politics; and 4 years ago I lost a fight. EVERY state/county/city/block has different rules; and you have to know how to deal with them. I’m learning here in Medford real quickly how the process works; and I’ve already made friends with the Mayor. He’s the only one so far that told me the truth. The Associate City Mgr. is close behind in truth. So far, Marysville officials seem willing to work with someone, if they acquire the State or Hotel.

Mikeyisirish on October 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Yes, I’ve seen the Holly in Medford. Quite impressive. But that’s Oregon, the state whose craziness is mostly limited environmental issues. But this is California you’re talking about here. It’s almost as though the state and most local governments WANT to dive their areas into the ground, and will sabotage themselves to whatever length to do it. I speak as an employee of the blue State of California.

I wish you luck in your efforts.

DonaldKirk on October 20, 2012 at 12:07 am

Unfortunantly too many large theatres of this kind end up in scrupulous hands; and end up being either demolished, or turned into something else. About the same situation as with the state, is happening to the Capitol Theatre in New London, CT. That one I have tried to buy, but, another restored (smaller) theatre jumped in and acted like they wanted to buy it for more money, until I was out of the picture, then they backed out of the deal. To save the state (and the Marysville Hotel), it will take a number of supporters, that 1) will help raise the funds needed to restore it 2) help with the labor, restoring it. Until subh time as the current owner will even reply to someone who wants to purchase it, the State will just fall further and further into decay. I believe that if someone can acquire the State and seriously work to restore it, the city will drop the fines and repainting charges against the theatre. The owner of the former tire store on the corner is willing to allow use of his property for fundraisers; and I believe that the parking situation can be overcome. Medford, Oregon, has in it’s downtown historic district, allowed for normal parking requirements to be bypassed. If Marysville seriously wants the theatre and hotel restored and open, they will work with owners on that issue. These two venues will help Marysville for years to come, if the city allows them to reopen without the 500+ parking spaces requirement.

Mikeyisirish on October 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Amen, GarageStudio. And from my own bias, I’d love to see the exterior restored to its original grandeur.

GarageStudio on October 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

To All, I am a professional theatre/production technician for over 25 years specializing in lighting. I worked in the State Theatre last in 1993 when it was a three screen movie house. I have been all through the facility. I have been in love with this theatre since I moved into the Yuba Sutter area in 1989 with the USAF. Just after it closed I tried to save this historic theatre and had the full support of the Marysville City Council and other organizations. Unfortunately it failed because of a sour business deal from an out of the area production company. I personally know tons about this building including the items that have been stated in the previous comments by other members. As a Very Active theatre/production technician I know for a fact that there are organizations, dance studios, theatre companies, concert associations, symphonies etc that are looking for a large venue to perform in. There is NO other “Real” theatres in the Yuba Sutter Community. Trust me, I have worked in just about all the venues in the area. I have seen projects like this work in other communities. As a long time Tech I want to work in a “Real” theatre in my own community. We need to take back, restore and open this theatre for the Arts and the Community. I will help & support a serious person or group who wants to bring back the National/State Theater back to life. This is The Theatre that Should be saved!