Paramount Theatre

2025 Broadway,
Oakland, CA 94612

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Showing 51 - 67 of 67 comments

teecee on September 27, 2005 at 7:54 am

How about this one – the marquee looks completely different with the blue neon:
View link

bruceanthony on December 19, 2004 at 11:40 pm

The vertical marquee on the Paramount dates back to the 1930’s,the canopy was restored, but is not like the original three sided canopy.The original canopy was taken down in the late 1960’s due to the construction on the subway system.It was replaced with an ugly plastic canopy which didn’t last long. I don’t know why the three sided canopy wasn’t restored during the Paramount’s restoration. What happened to movie night at the Paramount?brucec

gsmurph on December 3, 2004 at 7:24 am

The photo of the Paramount shown here should actually date 1973 or later—-the marquee shown here wasn’t installed until its restoration and transformation into a performance arts center. The marquee the Paramount had in 1970 was quite different (and much more nondescript [to put it VERY mildly]) from the one it has now.

gsmurph on June 27, 2004 at 11:07 am

Screens: Single Screen!

crashhappy on May 8, 2004 at 2:43 pm

Anyone local MUST plop down the $3 for the bi-monthly theater tour of this fantastic treasure. The kindliest docent leads you through EVERYTHING. The staggeringly beautiful lobby to the beautify powder rooms(!), right down into the belly of the beast underneath the stage (I half expected to run into spinal tap) right up to the floorboards. Fun stuff! Makes me wish I grew up in the pre-google-plex age, when movie palaces ruled.

gsmurph on April 10, 2004 at 2:15 pm

Surely one HAS to know that the Paramount is a most attractive single-screen theater!

JimRankin on April 8, 2004 at 8:51 am

The PARAMOUNT in Oakland, CA, may not be the ‘paramount, Paramount’ since that appellation is usually given to the long lost PARAMOUNT once in Times Square of New York City, but it certainly is the ‘paramount PARAMOUNT’ on the West Coast, and if that photo here of the facade intrigues you, as the late Al Jolson said: “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” The fabulous interior is truly unique in design, being architect Timothy Pflueger’s one chance to let his imagination soar, and soar it did! He was not content to let the art deco interior be molded in plaster alone like many other theatres, but instead he invented a whole new way of using back-lighted metal grillework in a new and wonderful and breathtaking way. So startling and pleasing is this design that a book, a color calendar, and an entire ANNUAL of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America have been produced to document and honor this architectural achievement. The Society in 1991 produced a 36 page softcover with dozens of vintage b/w photos of this colorfully lit fantasy at opening, and thereby reflects the furnishings that are no longer there today. Include there are wonderful behind-the-scenes photos showing how the unseen illumination is achieved, and how some of the restoration was effected. (Those softcovers are done in gold on solid black, so if you order this annual, be sure to have some clear plastic sheet protectors ready to slip over the covers, else you will soon have more a document of fingerprints than a document of a glorious theatre!)

To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 40 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to loan it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

gsmurph on April 6, 2004 at 10:55 am

The Paramount is very much a single-screen, despite Allan Michaan’s quixotic plan to build a four-screen annex there a number of years back.

stefoscope on March 1, 2004 at 7:58 am

My favorite theatre! This place is one of the grandest and most oppulent movie palaces one could ever hope to visit. Walking into the main lobby, with its gold ornamentations along the walls, curving staircase and glowing light fixtures is like taking a trip back through Old Hollywood. The auditorium is a sight to see, and waiting to see one of their movie programs, while listening to their house organist play the Mighty Wurlitzer is an awesome experience. Truly a treasure…there aren’t many theatres quite like the Paramount!

idgit4 on January 13, 2004 at 10:34 am

I recently took my family to see “Willy Wonka” at the Paramount. We arrived late (only 30 minutes before the show) and had to struggle to find seats in the upper balcony of this 3,000 seat gem. Your $5.00 gets you a period newsreel, a cartoon, and a wonderful, pre-film “wheel of fortune” (dubbed “Deco-Win” in honor of the theater) game in which several audience members win dinner for two at neighborhood restaurants. So show up early …… you’ll need the time to wander through every level of this amazing building, have a cocktail in the bar, visit the beautiful wash rooms and find your favorite seat.

SaveTheState on November 14, 2003 at 10:21 am

We are high school students from Owatonna, Minnesota and we are doing an independent study project with one of our teachers, Mr. Metzler (you’ll notice that we are using his email, but correspondence will be to/from us). We are exploring the idea of re-opening a small movie theatre that is in the middle of our struggling downtown area.
After searching the web for theatres that had renovated to improve their downtown areas, we came across your website and are looking for any information or ideas that you might have for renovating our 1935 theatre. More specifically, we are looking at ideas for generating adequate funding, increasing community awareness and support, and the actual renovation of the theatre. Before/after pictures of renovations would also be appreciated.

Thanks for anything you can provide,
Tessa Wheelock
Emily Leuning
Sara Kramer

Michael A. Metzler
Owatonna High School
333 E. School Street
Owatonna, MN 55060

Phone: 507-444-8846

Web: View link

bruceanthony on November 13, 2003 at 10:06 pm

I have many fond memories of the Paramount. During the 1960’s I saw most of my Disney films at the Paramount. My Dad and I saw one of the last films films to play the Paramount “Kellys Heroes"
and only about 10 people were there is this huge theatre. I think the Paramount life was shortened as and exclusive Run House when Bart had Broadway torn up for years. I also attended the the Grand Re-opening after the restoration. Bob Hope, Donald O' Connor and Lola Folana performed that night. I love Movie Night at the Paramount on Fridays and they are packed. Brucec

AlexvonHauffe on October 16, 2003 at 3:49 pm

Saw the first public sneak preview of “Spartacus” here in 1960. Kirk Douglas, Tony and Janet Leigh-Curtis attended. I had never seen such a small waist on a female in my life! It still holds the record! (the waist, not the “sneak”)

frenchjr25 on September 21, 2001 at 8:20 am

The Paramount opened in 1931. Construction was started by Publix Theatres but financial difficulties forced the sale of the uncompleted building to Fox-West Coast Theatres. The Paramount was rescued by the Oakland Symphony, the City of Oakland and numerous private donors in 1972. The Oakland Symphony turned the building over to the City of Oakland in 1975. The Theatre was restored/remodeled, which included the reconstruction of the lower half of the marquee and the auditorium seats were replaced by wider ones so that modern day people can fit comfortably in them (seeing that our hind-ends seem to keep getting bigger). The Paramount offers tours on the first and third Saturdays of each month with admission currently (2001) being $1 a person. The Paramount is used for live stage shows, the Oakland Symphony, the Oakland Ballet, as well was showings of classical movies. I have attended showing of “Casablanca” and “The Wizard of Oz” and can tell you that the Theatre is sold out for these events. The Paramount of damaged after the 1989 earthquake but has been restored.

TomDavis on June 17, 2001 at 1:48 pm

The Paramount is in a class by itself, from the monumental tile mosaic facade, to the cavernous lobby, to the stunning auditorium. If I recall correctly, it seats 3200. I always thought the lobby would make my ideal living room.

The Paramount’s near neighbor, the now defunct Fox Oakland, seated 3500 or more and was at one time one of the largest west of Chicago.

TNRC75 on February 26, 2001 at 3:11 pm

This theater is still in good shape and is used for revival showings, concerts and other stuff. It still going fairly strong and is an encouragement to Jerry Brown to continue pushing for the restoration of downtown Oakland.