Paramount Theatre

1501 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 676 - 694 of 694 comments

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 28, 2004 at 9:11 am

The WWF restaurant was underground beneath the store. I once took my two young nephews there for lunch. We had to go down several flights of stairs to get there. It was quite darkly lighted and looked to me like a fire trap, but I didn’t want to disappoint my nephews. Fortunately, there turned out to be a 45-minute wait for tables, so they soon lost patience and we went elsewhere.

p7350 on February 27, 2004 at 5:05 pm

I remember “Thunderball” having a special engagement at the Paramount. I remember taking an 8mm movie of the marquee.

William on February 27, 2004 at 4:36 pm

Could it have been “Goldfinger” not “Thunderball”, you were thinking of. Because “Goldfinger” had special 24 hour a day screenings when it opened in the city. And it was released a year earlier than “Thunderball”.

Orlando on February 27, 2004 at 3:44 pm

I doubt if any of the original Paramount staff was on hand for the “Thunderball” engagement during the 1964-5 Christmas booking. The WWF occupied the storefront behind the restored marquee and arched window. Since the entire theatre was gutted, WWF couldn’t have been operating in the “stage area” of the original theatre as mentioned several comments before. That would have meant occupying the whole ground level of that side of the building, which they didn’t. I hope the marquee and arch window remain intact for whatever use follows the WWF. The Paramount needs to be remembered and these two reminders will do just that even if they are not original.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 27, 2004 at 3:40 pm

“Thunderball” was released in December, 1965, nearly a year and a half after “The Carpetbaggers” closed at the Paramount. I don’t recall “Thunderball” playing there, but I can’t say that it didn’t, even though I was working in the Paramount Building at the time. I hated the first James Bond movie, “Dr. No,” and avoided the sequels like the plague.

RobertR on February 27, 2004 at 3:00 pm

This is an interesting peice of trivia. I wonder who they had handeling the day to day operations of the theatre during “Thunderball”.

Orlando on February 27, 2004 at 2:53 pm

The last movie to play the Paramount was “Thunderball” which had been rented/leased by “Cubby” Brocoli and the United Artists film company after the theatre ceased operation under the “United Paramount Theatre” chain. “Thunderball” played continuously 24 hours a day for the first three weeks. It played a total of 10 weeks. The film also played one other east side theatre. In between “The Carpetbaggers” engagement, the theatre was sparadically used for concerts to little avail. The grosses for the Paramount for “Thunderball” were blockbuster numbers, so if the bookings had been continued at this caliber, the theatre might have remained opened for a little while longer.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 27, 2004 at 10:46 am

For a theatre of its size (3,664 seats), the Paramount was one of the narrowest ever built because the auditorium had to be squeezed between two adjacent buildings— the Paramount office tower, which faced Broadway, and the headquarters of The New York Times (229 West 43rd Street). Consequently, the Paramount Theatre’s entrance and a short lobby were carved out of the Paramount Building. After you passed through that short lobby, the actual theatre building began with the Grand Lobby, where you found yourself at the rear of the auditorium, which ran parallel to Broadway with the stage wall backing on West 44th Street. The main floor had only four sections of seats. Above that was a separate and recessed mezzanine with boxed seats. And one level above the mezzanine was the steeped balcony, divided into five sections of seats across and four from front to back. Due to the narrowness of the auditorium, the Paramount also had a narrow stage opening that proved a problem throughout the theatre’s lifetime. Stage productions had to use the orchestra lift as part of the show or erect small platforms next to the pit. When the wide screen era arrived, some of the procscenium had to be removed to accommodate it…The Paramount finally closed forever on August 4th, 1964, following that evening’s last showing of “The Carpetbaggers.” As I recall, there were slight efforts to save the theatre, probably because The New York Times bought the site for demolition and conversion into office space for itself.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 6, 2004 at 12:12 pm

The Paramount was the first great movie palace in New York City that was built in the “Chicago-style” pioneered by the architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp. When first opened in 1926, its extravagant French Renaissance interiors were a radical change from the restrained Adam and Empire styles that New Yorkers had become accustomed to at the Paramount’s main rivals, the Strand, Capitol, and Loew’s State (all designed by Thomas Lamb). The Paramount became one of the city’s top tourist attractions, but not for long due to the 1927 opening of the Roxy, which was almost twice as large and even more spectacular. By 1929, the Paramount’s owners were considering building a bigger and more lavish theatre on the opposite side of Broadway on the site of the decaying Olympia theatre complex. The new Parmount would have at least 5,000 seats and be the first theatre in the Broadway-Times Square area in the so-called “atmospheric” style. When the new Paramount was finished, the “old” one would be converted to second-run movies with vaudeville. But the onset of the Depression killed that project and the 1926 Paramount survived into the early 1960s, though for at least its last 10 years showing movies only, without stage shows (except for a few hosted by rock-and-roll radio DJs and one memorable return of Frank Sinatra in support of his movie, “Johnny Concho”).

ryan0290 on December 4, 2003 at 7:38 pm

That picture is very interesting. It seems there were no cars at all and people are just milling around in the middle of the street. Odd isn’t it? Granted this was before cars were as common to own as they are today.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 3, 2003 at 12:24 am

The name “Paramount Theater” has had a transient history in Manhattan since the mid ‘60’s demolition of this grand old auditorium — the Brooklyn Paramount notwithstanding. During the '70’s and '80’s there was a subterranean theater in the Gulf and Western building on Columbus Circle that was called The Paramount. I’m not sure if it opened concurrently with the G&W building nor am I sure if it was always known as The Paramount (I assume it was so dubbed when G&W became the parent company of Paramount Pictures). Regardless, the building has since been converted by Donald Trump to residential/hotel usage and the theater was demolished/converted to other use in the '80’s. Sometime after this, the old Felt Forum inside Madison Square Garden was briefly known as The Paramount during a period when both Paramount Pictures and the Garden were subsidiaries of the same parent corporation. This last Paramount, however, was never intended for the exhibition of motion pictures.

I mention this only as a footnote to history of The Paramount.

WilliamMcQuade on October 10, 2003 at 6:13 pm

The WWF restaurant has closed . The space is currently empty. So much for progress

SteveP on March 13, 2003 at 1:21 pm

The recently replaced arched window above the marquee is much more shallowly set then the original arched window, which featured a stained-glass Paramount mountain in its center.

Jakorns on September 8, 2002 at 12:11 am

The organ in the theatre was a 4 manual 36 rank Wurlitzer- not a Cassevant. Jesse Crawford was the star organist. It was considered the definitive theatre organ by many in the organ world. The Wurlitzer now resides in Witchita Kansas in their Century Exhibition Hall

Jean on August 15, 2002 at 11:10 am

It was of the Publix movie chain when built.

GabrielleBuel on July 23, 2002 at 1:58 pm

And, my other grandfather, Joseph Aruta, painted the interior frescoes and all the gilt, as he did in many other NYC landmarks. I surely wish I could’ve seen this place before it was destroyed.

GabrielleBuel on July 23, 2002 at 1:53 pm

My grandfather, Wilfrid Lavallee, built the pipe organ for this grand theatre, for the Casavant Brothers Pipe Organ Company of Ste. Hyacinthe, Quebec. I would like to know what became of it when this wonderful place was gutted.

rivest on December 11, 2001 at 7:39 pm

an section of the balcony is now at Famous Player’s Paramount in Toronto (above the escalator on the way to the private lounge.)

gmreainc on August 10, 2001 at 7:33 pm

Prior to its landmark designation the buildings theater was demolished and converted into commercial office space.

Now, the World Wrestling Federation, a tenant occupying the stage portion and some of the seating areas, have undertaken the Marquee & Presidium Arch restoration.

The restoration is being performed without the availability of original design drawings. It is being done with the aid of historical photos, post cards and renderings from the 1920 period.