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California State University, Long Beach
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Markwell

1920 (later renamed the State, Dec. 19, 1920)

Address: 104 E. Ocean Boulevard (inside the Jergins Trust Building on Ocean Boulevard)

Capacity: originally 1,348 seats; later 1,800 seats

“Former ‘Stage Brat’ Has Vivid Memories of Vaudeville Era in Long Beach,” Los Angeles Times (May 30, 1985), by Times Staff Writer, Daryl Kelley: “…a major-league vaudeville and movie house…within the new Jergins Trust Building on Ocean Boulevard in 1920…The Jergins, with one of the city’s best locations at Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue, is scheduled to be razed in July and replaced by a luxury hotel…The stage had been hacked in half and curtains were torn. Gone were the theater’s 1,800 seats, its bronze chandeliers and brocaded draperies. The angels with harps that had graced its ceiling dome were covered with gray paint. So few lights worked that it was difficult to see even the destruction that remained…Preservationists have worked for more than a year to find a buyer to restore the Jergins but have been unsuccessful. Current owners have estimated that restoration would cost between $15 million and $20 million and that, in the end, the building would lose money. Standing or not, the State Theater will continue to evoke the best of Fahey’s memories, he said. They are captured in old photos of home run kings, singing cowboys and movie stars. More than once, a small circus with lions, tigers and clowns was featured on its stage. From the Orpheum in New York and the Pantages in Hollywood, the stars came to perform at the State by the hundreds.”

“Long Beach’s Nickel Movie Days,” Independent Press Telegram (Aug. 02, 1964), by Maymie Krythe: According to Krythe, William J. Fahey bought the State Theatre in 1922 showing some of the biggest hits of the era; he also brought distinctive vaudeville acts, including Ginger Rogers and a noted Russian troupe.

State exterior

Both photos (exterior and interior) courtesy of the Ronald W. Mahan & Joseph J. Musil Photo Theatre Collection.

State interior