The theatre did not meet with immediate success and by September 1923 it had closed briefly and reopened that month as the STATE, a silent movie house. Its first film was the New England premiere of D. W. Griffith’s, “The White Rose”. From this point on the STATE would feature only occasional live performances.
Five world premieres were held at the STATE. The most important premiere was the 1956 opening of “Moby Dick” complete with Gregory Peck in attendance, a Time magazine souvenir issue and a white whale that terrified audiences everywhere. The STATE was modernized in 1971.
Marble walls were covered with wood paneling, chandeliers in the lobby were removed, contemporary rocking seats replaced original leather and black paint replaced ivory and old rose.
On December 31, 1981, the Penler Brothers of Paragon Travel donated the theatre portion of the building to the Waterfront Historic Area League (WHALE) who provided $200,000 for the first phase of restoration and commissioned a feasibility study.
Once one of 17 operating theatres in New Bedford, the Zeiterion has been restored to its original grandeur. It is reborn as the symbol of an age when theatres were truly palaces for the people.
The ZEITERION held it’s gala-reopening on September 25, 1982 starring Shirley Jones in Concert.
To become eligible for major state funding for restoration, WHALE transferred title of the theatre to the City of New Bedford. The building is now managed and maintained by The Zeiterion Theatre, Inc.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”790″ border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row]