Brooklyn Paramount Theatre

385 Flatbush Avenue Extension,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Showing 226 - 250 of 283 comments

WilliamHandy
WilliamHandy on May 1, 2005 at 2:33 pm

Thanks for the info on the “LA” picture!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 1, 2005 at 1:50 pm

The theatre on the photo with palm trees and Alan Freed on the marquee lettering is actually the Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles.

WilliamHandy
WilliamHandy on May 1, 2005 at 12:41 pm

My father worked as an usher at the Brooklyn Paramount in the 1950’s.
His birthday is coming up, and I’d like to put some pictures together for him. I’ve searched on the internet, but I’ve only found a couple of print-worthy photos. Do you know where I can find some more, either on the web, or to purchase? One final question. I did print out a photo, that was in color, or the marquee. It’s the smaller of the signage, and it has Brooklyn in block white letters, and it almost looks like palm trees in neon next to it. Underneath it says “Stage and Screen Show: Alan Freed in Person.” Since I have not seen another photo with these “Palm trees (or whatnot)”, I wondering if this was part of the Brooklyn Paramount.

All help is greatly appreciated.

YMike
YMike on April 26, 2005 at 1:20 pm

I believe the proscenium is still there but the stage is completely gone as is the entire orchestra section.

RobertR
RobertR on April 26, 2005 at 1:18 pm

It’s funny because as I read this I am filling in for someone in another office that is right next door to the former Brooklyn Paramount. This area is much improved over a few years ago and I don’t think people would be afraid anymore to come down here.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 26, 2005 at 1:14 pm

If Mr. Lundy and anyone else can foster the restoration of the fabulous BROOKLYN PARAMOUNT, I applaud them, since this is possibly Rapp & Rapp’s most spectacular work if taken just by its proscenium alone! One look at pages 150-151 in Ben Hall’s landmark book “The Best Remaining Seats, The Story of the Golden Age of the Movie Palace” will convince anyone of the dazzling artistry never elsewhere duplicated. I wonder how much of that proscenium and its lighting still remain? I guess it is too much to expect anyone to have saved that wonderful Grand Drape, and it would cost hundreds of thousands to reproduce today, if anyone could really do it.

michaelxavierlundy
michaelxavierlundy on April 25, 2005 at 10:38 pm

Hello to all. I am new to this chatforum, but I thought I might be able to shed some light on the situation at the “Former Brooklyn Paramount.” In the fall of 2005, I will be attending the school (LIU) as a scholarship student recommended by the president of the university. My role at the university will be to serve as the Organist In Residence and Care Taker of the Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ which remains in that facility. Although I cannot be certain of the future use of the facitility, I am sure that I will try very hard to encourage the university into returing the space back into a venue for performing arts.

Michael Xavier Lundy
Dickinson Theatre Organ Society

House Organist/Publicity Chairman/Open House Program Coordinator/Board of Directors
P.O. Box 7263
Wilmington, Delaware 19803-0263
DTOS Phone (302)995-2603
DTOS Website www.geocities.com/dtoskimball

John Dickinson High School (Wilmington, Delaware)
Home of The World’s 4th Largest Theatre Pipe Organ (Kimball 3/66)

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 24, 2005 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Bruce: He is the un-crowned King of R&R….To bad his life was so screwed up back then……Recorded “The Girl Can’t Help It”-1956/57 off of Fox Movie Channel last week—-Beautiful digital copy for my collection———-Remember taking my wife to the Westbury Theater in the round for a R&R revival show back around 1970 or so…….Chubby Checker was top billed, and 2nd billed was Chuck Berry———Berry brought down the house and had about 5 encores——Then poor Chubby took the stage and people were leaving….Chuck Berry was hard to follow if you were Chubby Checker in 1970….Dumb Producers….Only Richard could do that…..and now the two of them are touring together—-Chuck Berry and Little Richard—-they appeared in Melbourne Fla last month to a sold out house at the King Center for the performing Arts…..Joe From Florida—-sasheegm

Bruce1
Bruce1 on April 24, 2005 at 2:10 pm

About 6 months ago, Little Richard hopped on the piano at B.B. King’s on Times Squre, in his white tuxedo with the black sparkle collar and matching pants.

At 72, nobody can follow Little Richard Petterman.

sasheegm
sasheegm on April 21, 2005 at 2:54 pm

The Greatest of all of Allan Freed’s Rock n' Roll shows was held at the Brooklyn Paramount in 1957…….In it were Little Richard & His Band, Fats Domino & His Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Joanne Campbell, The Platters etc etc……Little Richard closed the show by coming out in Pastel Pajamas and taring off the sleeves and throwing them to the audience….Nobody, but nobody could follow Little Richard in those days….Joe From Florida—-sasheegm——

GeorgeStrum
GeorgeStrum on April 11, 2005 at 6:50 pm

If indeed LIU plans to vacate the building for a newer gym facility the prospect of returning the Paramount to its former theatrical hey day would be a massive effort. The expense and the constuctive undertaking would be over whelming. At best creating a very simple utilitarian auditorium constructed from scratch may be more reasonable for lectures, community arts concerts and dramas and maybe showings of classic films, student films, etc.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on March 21, 2005 at 2:19 pm

I will approach the person involved with the Loew’s Kings tomorrow via E-Mail. I’m one of those people that need to get up the gut first. Maybe we can get him on.

We may need someone who lives near LIU to approach them. They may not only want to approach the heads of the college, but, if there is one, the theater department. I live on Long Island, so I’m not close enough.

JimRankin
JimRankin on March 21, 2005 at 6:03 am

Also, if someone does want to make an appointment to approach a university official, be sure to coordinate it here on this site and anywhere else devotees of the BP might meet, so that there are not many people making appointments, which could be perceived as a furtive assualt on LIU’s legal options to direct their property in the public eye, or simply as misguided individuals speaking of that which they do not know. Likewise, if you determine to make an appointment, take only one other person along with you, if anyone, since more might appear to them to be an intimidation tactic. If you have formed a group, certainly bring along a LIST of their names and addresses to display the fact that you are not alone in this endeavor of good will, but DO NOT make it look like a petition, which and can be very unsettling to administrators and likely to turn them off completely. Save any petition drives for much later in the ‘game.’

If you can first establish a contact on a lower level who has access to the current thinking of those in charge, then you can find out from this person whom to contact and what is a propitious time. Don’t waste your time talking off the ear of the janitor or bldg. super who may sympathize but have no power to contact or influence the president’s office where the decision will likely be made. In all these cases you must be careful not to waste their time by too many meetings or contacts; they are, in reality, a business, and time is money to them too.

Remember, short of legal condemnation of the property by the government under eminent domain laws, there is no way to force them to relinquish their property to others, and I do NOT advocate the currently fashionable misuse of this law to take private property for other private use! That might take the theatre, but leave a permanent ugly stain on its name.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 21, 2005 at 5:38 am

Friends of the LIU gymnasium, unite!

JimRankin
JimRankin on March 21, 2005 at 5:20 am

Since the PARAMOUNT is privately owned by LIU, may I suggest that it would be prudent to first determine in a gentle way what their position is on the theatre’s future, since previous comments indicate that they are interested in keeping it as one of their properties, and may be willing to return portions of it to a partial theatrical use. It would be premature and perhaps offensive to them to start an outside effort about their property without their consent and involvement. IF at a later date they seem to oppose any restoration of the auditorium, then it MIGHT be feasible to start a petition drive or other influence upon them, but not before all courteous dialogue with them has been exhausted. Remember that the best way to create an enemy is to step upon his rights, and schools also have property rights. One can appeal to their civic spirit in the interests of the community, but one cannot dismiss them as unconcerned if they do not immediately see your wishes as the plans they ‘must’ adopt. IF you have a large amount of money to offer them to purchase the building and they accept, fine, but do not presume to tell them that they must sell or otherwise handle their property in the way outsiders dictate.

In this regard it might be possible to form an INFORMAL (non-incorporated) group to approach LIU administration to express your devotion to the FORMER theatre, and your wish to help them reprogram the space in a way harmonious to its decor and potential. Since any degree of restoration is going to be costly, they will see your assistance best as as funds raiser. If you can form a credible group to pledge to rent the auditorium for some events once stage and seating are restored, then you may give them a realistic gleam of hope in an otherwise confusing time. Make it clear that you realize that the regents or board of directors of the university expect them to make the most profitable use of the property (always refer to it by the name they use, not as the ‘Brooklyn Paramount’) and that you seek to help them find a profitable use harmonious with BOTH university needs and community needs. Universities are usually quite sensitive to local views and needs, but always remember that this is NOT a tax funded institution, but a private one not required to expose all their financial resources and options with the public, so never imply that you expect them to show you their books.

It might prove helpful to remember that this is but one of their ‘campuses’ and that therefore it need not contain educational programs perhaps better suited to other sites. How much of a problem is classroom space for them? If it is not critical in the former Paramount, then perhaps they could devote it to community and university events requiring a large seating area. Where do they hold graduations now and is it as noteworthy as the restored Paramount would be? They do have a performing arts program; what is the nature of the facility they now use and is that adequate compared with the former theatre? Can you find someone who will donate his time to act as an unpaid consultant in the adaptation of the theatrical aspects of the building to new uses? The more of their research you can do for them before they enter into serious decisions, the better your chances that they will listen to your ideas and take on your approach to the structure. Be ready to have YOUR lawyer draw up a MODEL demising agreement to separate the former theatre portions of the building from the upper floors of offices should LIU decide that that would be a good agreement. Such might also forsee removing the cafeteria from the lobby and other uses now in the balconies. These would presume that you have a viable plan or client to take control of those former theatre spaces at a proft or at least not a loss to the university, assuming they wish to divest themselves of the former theatre portions. You might include a back-out clause allowing them to retake control of the entire structure if the client/operator you propose actually fails within a stated period of time. In this way they will not be seen to be taking all the risk from the insurance, upkeep and profit standpoints.

Should you get the impression that they are open to a possible purchase plan or demising agreement for the theatre portion, then it is time to incorporate so as to collect funds in an open and legal way and then to take a copy of that incorporation certificate to show to them. But first of all is the quiet and kindly expression of deep interest in their property AS WELL AS your equally deep interest in the welfare of the university so valuable to the community since 1926, almost the year the BP opened!
Best Wishes to all.

RobertR
RobertR on March 21, 2005 at 4:38 am

I would be interested in being on a committee to save either or both theatres.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on March 20, 2005 at 9:43 pm

I am the writer of a New York Nostalgia Index online. I got a little chuckle from saps, but what was written above is right. Does anyone know of anybody who I can E-Mail, maybe the Brooklyn Historical Society?

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 20, 2005 at 9:18 pm

Friends of the Brooklyn Paramount, unite!

uncleal923
uncleal923 on March 20, 2005 at 8:51 pm

I’m looking to assist in the Paramount Restoration. I am already involved in the Kings. Now, I already placed a page on my website about the Kings Restoration. Is there anybody or group out there that was formed to restore the Paramount. By the way, having been born in 1961 I, sadly, don’t remember the Paramount. However, as a theater major and returning college student, I see the good that can come from two additional performance venues in Brooklyn. By the way, I was born in what is now East Flatbush.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 17, 2005 at 9:17 am

The Brooklyn Paramount is larger and more sumptuous than the Kings, mainly because of its location in downtown Brooklyn, which was the equivalent of a major city in those days. The Brooklyn Paramount was also the first theatre built in the project that Loew’s took over from Paramount and became known as the “Loew’s Wonder Theatres.” That’s how Rapp & Rapp became architects of the Kings. They had already been scheduled for it by Paramount…The Brooklyn Paramount now seems to have an edge over the Kings in restoration to a theatre, since it’s in better physical condition and better served by public transportation. (Copied from Warren’s post on Loew’s Kings page.)

teanal
teanal on March 17, 2005 at 7:07 am

I worked as an usher at the Brooklyn Paramount from 1960 until it closed in 1962. It was a movie palace and I never wanted to see it close. The rock and roll shows they had were wonderful and fun.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on March 10, 2005 at 8:11 am

Rosa Rio also played at the Brooklyn Paramount, (mentioned farther down in the story) and she is still alive and still playing and still a delightful, gracious lady. Her published works for jazz and theatre organ can be found on eBay from time to time.

RobertR
RobertR on March 10, 2005 at 7:31 am

There is a picture here of one of the organists playing at the Brooklyn Paramount.

www.saengeramusements.com/music/rosario/rosario.htm

HenryAldridge
HenryAldridge on March 3, 2005 at 5:19 am

Thanks for the comments about Leibert. Could you contact me at

dadams
dadams on March 2, 2005 at 4:08 pm

Dick Leibert was at RCMH from the day it opened in 1932 till somewhere in the early to mid 70’s when he retired to Florida. I knew him for several years before he retired, a gracious and gentlemanly fellow, with a wicked dry sense of humor. I took many a date with me to the Music Hall, Dick would let us in at the 51st street stage door and let us watch the show from the wings of the stage….always impressed the girls, let me tell you! The last time I heard him play was at the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ on both the pipe organ there and a Baldwin electronic. He did some endorsements for them I think. He took a lot of criticism in those later days for using his own set combinations and not experimenting… true, but gee he was playing for 40+ years at that point. And, the organ was in bad shape, it had suffered from several “experts” who tried their own gimmicks – one even cut some pipes up as I recall. You had to use big combinations both because so much didnt work by then, and to be heard. The organ speaks from behind grillwork, so at its best it sounds muffled. Dick always played a standard that fit the movie, I remember ‘Stardust’ before some space picture, and usually had a current pop tune worked up.

Even my classical organ professor (who studied with Fred Swann – that’s credibility) agreed no one could do rapid finger substitutions like Dick – watching his fingers move chromatically up and down the keyboard for a tibia slide was just unbelieveable…. what technique he had. Even in the last years he practiced constantly in his dressing room on an old upright piano.

So when Communion is over in church, and I keep taking stops off the Swell to just a celeste as I move the harmony up the scale, fading out to just a 32'in the pedal – only my wife knows its really a Leibert ending before the movie starts!