If you haven’t noticed it in the past, this historian often refers to old pop songs for many situations relating to something historic. Being a former radio personality who played the hits, the old job never totally disappeared in my mind. So in that spirit, I’m dedicating this next song to Deposit, regarding the ever-popular State Theatre on Front Street back in the 1980s and early ‘90s. From 1975, it’s Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, with “Bad Luck.”
“Bad luck, that’s what you got, that’s what you got,” were some of the lyrics to a disco beat.
As residents of the region, we should take our hats off to the never-say-die attitude of many people in Deposit, who endured disastrous episodes with the historic State Theatre twice within 10 years, and another big setback in 2006. Each time, the community shrugged off those misfortunes.
Nicknamed the “Jewel of Front Street,” the State Theatre dates back to 1937, built by the Kallet-Comerford theater chain, which operated several theaters in upstate New York.
On Friday night, Feb. 1, 1985, people were enjoying the movie “Remo Williams,” when they suddenly heard a rumbling sound in the attic. The movie was stopped, and the attic was checked. No problems were found, so moviegoers returned. Two hours after the theater closed, the roof collapsed because of the excessive weight of accumulated snow.
That could have spelled the end for the State Theatre. The ruins remained for nearly a year and a half. Some Deposit merchants decided that something should be done to restore the State.
The Daily Star reported Friday, July 18, 1986, “Deposit merchants will kick off a fund-raising drive today in conjunction with the town’s annual Lumberjack Festival, to raise money for repairs to the historic State Theatre.” Carolyn DeNys chaired the committee, which was called “Raise the Roof.” They needed about $40,000 for immediate repairs.