Brooklyn Paramount Theatre

385 Flatbush Avenue Extension,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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Showing 51 - 75 of 283 comments

William
William on April 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm

The Brooklyn Paramount is 3.73 miles from the Kings Theatre.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 22, 2010 at 12:29 pm

How close was this theatre to the LOEWS KINGS.

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on March 30, 2010 at 11:33 am

The above undated (as far as I could see) backside view of the Brooklyn Paramount was probably taken during June or July of 1942. The movie title on the marquee is “Beyond the Blue Horizon”, a Dorothy Lamour vehicle, which premiered in NYC on June 25th, 1942.

GaryCohen
GaryCohen on February 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

The Brooklyn Paramount was the first of the beautiful golden-age downtown Brooklyn theaters to go under. I remember my father taking me there in about 1958 to see the Alan Freed rock and roll show. While I was too young to have any specific memories of the show, several years ago I came across the program and the names listed as being there were quite incredible: Frankie Avalon, The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, etc. I think I might have been there once to see a movie, a Jerry Lewis flick “Cinderfella.” I saw about three movies at the Brooklyn Fox and many films at the RKO Albee and Loews Metropolitan, the 3 other beautiful golden-age theaters Downtown Brooklyn. Now, sadly, they are all long gone.

LuisV
LuisV on June 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Is there any new news about this theater? As downtown Brooklyn continues to develop and gentrify and as BAM continues to expand it “cultural district” with the recently announced renovation of its Majestic Theatre, a newly restored Brooklyn Paramount could do very well.

jazzhound
jazzhound on April 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm

I was born in Brooklyn but we moved often: Ozone Park, Bellmore, Islip, Rosedale. I commuted on the Long Island to high school, Brooklyn Tech.
Sadly, I didn’t begin to appreciate Ellington until it was too late to hear him live, but I did go to two big-band concerts at the Brooklyn Paramount, one by the Tommy Dorsey band, the other by the Glenn Miller Band (with Glenn Miller himself leading). Part of the excitement was seeing the orchestra pit slowly rise to stage level at at the beginning of the concert, with the band playing its theme song.
There was a hole-in-the-wall record store on Fulton with a loudspeaker over the front door playing over and over again Benny Goodman’s 78-rpm single of Jersey Bounce, which made me a Goodman fan. I drifted away from hearing big bands after joining the Jackson Heights Jazz Club, thanks to which I had the pleasure of an impromptu trip to Laurelton where James P. Johnson was playing in a neighborhood Irish bar. We occupied all the bar seats near the piano and he played for us the rest of the evening. He had the biggest hands I’ve ever seen. When we shook hands my hand vanished inside the great clasp of his hand.

JimConnah
JimConnah on April 4, 2009 at 11:48 am

My mother was a Broadway dancer, who performed in the show “Cheerio” at the Brooklyn Paramount on January 12, 1929 as she neared her 20th birthday. Here is an excerpt from her diary:

“Brooklyn Paramount … new theatre. only open six weeks. Beautiful. Paul Ash and his marvelous orchestra was there. He is a most wonderful m. of c.”

Lit Whitlock was the daughter of a prominent North Carolina attorney. His older daughter went to Sweet Briar College and he wished his younger daughter to further her education, as well. My mother wanted to become a dancer, instead, so she overcame her father’s objections of heading to New York at age 18 by convincing him she could become a dance teacher (which she never did). She married an advertising executive, moved to Atlanta, where they reared five children and then restarted her career in her 60s, eventually appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson almost 50 years after this diary entry. She performed the grandmother’s song/dance routine from “Pippin,” a role originally performed on Broadway by her close friend from the early days, Irene Ryan, of Beverly Hillbillies' fame.

Lit Whitlock Connah died five years ago in 2004 at age 95. She was a lively spirit and a wonderful human being.

James Cameron Connah (Jim)
Sandy Springs, GA

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Funny you should mention that. See my post from about an hour ago on this page:
/theaters/11818/

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 2, 2008 at 7:40 pm

The caption of the color photo says “Gymnasts practicing on stage at Brooklyn’s Paramount Theater, now used as a gymnasium by Long Island University.” Since they are practicing IN FRONT of the proscenium, it’s the first time I’ve seen a stage on that side of the footlights. As WGH might say, even Life can make a mistake!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 2, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Here is a color version of the 1971 photo I posted on 11/4/07, along with a 1955 photo. Both are from Life Magazine:
http://tinyurl.com/5w92ym
http://tinyurl.com/6j7dxq

George Quirk
George Quirk on October 24, 2008 at 8:49 pm

Here’s a You Tube link, with some video from inside. Kenny Vance(of Jay & the Americans & the Planotones) at the Brooklyn Paramount with Charlie Thomas of the Drifters who had appeared there at the Rock & Roll Shows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nie864gsHfw

tomdelay
tomdelay on August 27, 2008 at 7:14 pm

The author should have said “…In New York City, this theatre organ is second in size to the Radio City Music Hall instrument.” That would have been true…at least in New York City.

JAlex
JAlex on August 26, 2008 at 1:50 pm

The “Brooklyn Eagle” had better do better “research” concerning the Wurlitzer organ. Calling it second in size to the Radio City Music Hall instrument is nonsense.

LuisV
LuisV on August 26, 2008 at 11:38 am

I’m officially apologizing to the reporter for my prior comments.

I just re-read the article and it now looks like the point of the article WAS a history lesson. The title of the article is “On This Day In History! Yikes! It is only towards the end that he throws in the little tidbit that LIU is making the Paramount a theater again. It was not the point of his article.

What threw me was the title that CT put over the actual article: “The Brooklyn Paramount Returns after 46 years!”

That’s not what the article was about at all! It really was a history lesson! :–)

Anyway, more questions have indeed been raised than we have answers for. If any CT readers have any insight please share. It would be wonderful to have this theater back in the public realm.

Again, my apologies to the reporter.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 26, 2008 at 11:30 am

I scoured the LIU website and there was nothing new about either the athletic enter or the Paramount. Stayed tuned.

Vito
Vito on August 26, 2008 at 4:49 am

Very exciting news, but I agree the article did not give much information. More news to come I hope. Perhaps it is time for one our crack Brookyn CT reporters to go to the theatre and snoop around for more ino.:)

LuisV
LuisV on August 25, 2008 at 10:40 am

This article just recently appeared in a local Brooklyn periodical “The Brooklyn Daily Eagle”:

On This Day in History: August 22
Paramountâ€\s Last Picture Show
by Brooklyn Eagle (), published online 08-22-2008

BROOKLYN â€" As the curtains closed over the screen on August 22, 1962, the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre at Flatbush & DeKalb Avenues was history. The last feature film at the famous movie palace was John Wayne in Hatari. Attendance on closing night in the 4,126 seat theatre was about 300. Its grand opening as the first movie theater built in America expressly for sound pictures was on November 24, 1928, with the feature Manhattan Cocktail starring Nancy Carroll and Richard Arlen.

Over 4,000 patrons came to gaze in awe at the theaterâ€\s vastness and baroque splendor; its $3 million collection of paintings, sculptures and antiques; and the assemblage of theatrical and political personalities who attended the opening. Gracing its ornate stage during its reign as the mecca of Brooklyn entertainment were such celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Rudy Vallee, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Mae West and most of the big band era orchestras. In later years the Paramountâ€\s stage was the site of rock & roll shows such as Little Richard and Bill Haley and the Comets, emceed by popular disc jockey Alan Freed.

Long Island University took over the building and in 1950 converted the office tower to classrooms and administrative offices. When the theatre itself closed 12 years later, the grand lobby, a copy of the famous Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, became LIUâ€\s student cafeteria; the orchestra seating area became a gymnasium where the LIU basketball team plays with spectators seated in bleachers where the balcony patrons once sat. The “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ, second in size and sound only to the two in the Radio City Music Hall, has been lovingly restored by the Theatre Organ Enthusiasts group and was still played at the basketball games until recently. Now, with the opening of its new athletic center, LIU announced plans to use the space as a theater once again.

The sunburst proscenium, the side bays representing visions into the formal gardens of French royal palaces of the late 18th century, and the ornate ceiling are still visible and worth a look.


This story doesn’t go far enough. When LIU says that it will resuse the space as a theater, what exactly does that mean? Will the seating be restored? Will the theater be refurbished? Will it be used for films, live theater, concerts or all three? What is the timetable? In my opinion, the reporter did a poor job. If you’re going to announce the return of one of Brooklyn’s most treasured and storied theaters you should provide actual news and not just a history lesson.

kcwb
kcwb on June 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm

I am an architecture student, recently graduated from Columbia University. My final thesis project was a history of this wonderful theater. It has such an interesting story; I never knew that one building could endure so much, bankruptcy, robberies, and a bombing, while also achieving such heights of success. Then again the Brooklyn Paramount is so much more than just a building! My advisor has encouraged me to continue the project even after graduation, and honestly, I’m not ready to let it go. My ultimate goal would be to take the 60 pages of writing and photos I have already and make a small publication, exhibit or website to draw attention to the theater and its role in the community throughout its history, as well as its preservation needs.
What I think the project is lacking most acutely is a more vivid description of what it was actually like to go to this theater. I’ve done my best with newspaper articles and photographs, but I’d really like to hear any stories or memories that people who were there while it was still operational. I tried to create an oral history component earlier but, ultimately everyone I talked to gradually revealed that they had been to the Fox not the Paramount. Everyone except for my grandma, who saw Debbie Reynoulds and Jane Seymour perform in the 40s.
I would love to hear any memories or suggestions for this project! I feel guilty that I have been reading this discussion board for an entire year, taking suggestions about where to find old pictures and information without contributing anything, but to make amends I will see if I can post some pictures that my photographer friend took, and my entire project, which I self-published through LULU. If anyone is interested in Alan Freed, this book called Big Beat Heat is interesting and has good replications of marquees and photographs, including one of Little Richard backstage at the Paramount.
As a final note to LIU girl, do you happen to have the contact information for the archivist of the Brooklyn Campus? Is it still Janet Marks? I became friends with her last year doing other research, she was actually the one who showed me the old auditorium, but I lost her number and can’t find it anywhere on the website or from calling the library. You’re so lucky that your school has such a special space, and you’re right about how respectful everyone is of it. I also want to thank you guys for being so welcoming and generous by allowing other people in to see it!

markp
markp on April 6, 2008 at 8:59 am

I seem to remember running a movie based on that 1956 image posted above. If memory serves me, I think it was in 1978, and was called “American Hot Wax.” If that is the movie, and the events followed true, than it really was a great time to be around.

TRMiller
TRMiller on January 10, 2008 at 9:13 am

Hi!
I appreciate your looking around. I’ll check into the PBS thing and let you know. Thanks again! I appreciate all the help!
Tom

LIUALI
LIUALI on January 10, 2008 at 8:16 am

hay TRMiller
The lady who might have that info. won’t be in till classes start up again on the 22nd. So I have been going around the school blindly looking till then. Nothing yet however I was told that PBS might have done a special on it so you might want to check that out as well. As soon as classes start I will make a trip up archivist to see if she has anything keep your fingers crossed.

LIUgirl

SPearce
SPearce on January 9, 2008 at 10:32 pm

The following ad content ran in the May 10, 1946 NYC edition of the (Communist) Daily Worker. My guess – it was important to someone at this theater to support that newspaper at that time.

B'klyn Paramount Flatbush & DeKalb
Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour
“ROAD TO UTOPIA"
Extra! In Technicolor
"NAUGHTY NANETTE”

TRMiller
TRMiller on January 6, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Hello LIUgirl.
That would be great! Bob West was my maternal grandfather. I never met him as he abandoned his wife and four children and ran off to New York to be with some young starlet many, many years ago! In fact, I never heard grandma mention the name of the starlet so I am not sure who she was! He hung around with many of the famous actors and actresses of the era and was quite popular, so who knows who it might have been. He also played in Chicago and, I believe, Colorado. Obviously there is much more information on this side of his family that his other family, if he has one, might be interested in. So anything you might come up with just might be the thing we need to solve the mystery!
Have a safe day there in the Big Apple!
Tom

LIUALI
LIUALI on January 6, 2008 at 9:23 am

Hi TRMiller

Since I will be on campus all day Monday I will be more than happy to see if I can find it for you.

TRMiller
TRMiller on January 6, 2008 at 4:42 am

Hello LIUgirl.
Do you know if any old photographs of the marquee exist with any of the performers names ‘up in lights’? Or do any other old photographs from the 1930’s to 50’s exist in an archive or library there? I am still looking for information about theatre organist Bob West, who played there many years ago!
Thanks.