Brooklyn Paramount Theatre

385 Flatbush Avenue Extension,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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LIUALI
LIUALI on January 5, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Hi I am a student at LIU and just so everyone knows LIU is not going to take down anything from the old gym. We use that area for school events as well as to register the incoming freshmen students on LIU day. The cafeteria will remain a cafeteria b/c it is the only one we have on campus and it is an awesome place to have lunch in. I mean the chandeliers are amazing. I know a lot of people believe that we do not care for the history that our school has but we do. No other university has the ambiance that LIU has. Also, Provost Haynes loves LIU and the history that main building has and she would never do anything to ruin or take away from the historic view. Provost Haynes should be given a lot more credit she is an amazing and inspirational women to say the least. Also, if you walk around the 3rd floor of the main building you can see that they kept all the same molding and not for nothing the bathrooms have not been changed in that building they are still theater bathrooms. LIU also has the original posters up from all the old movies they are framed and it is so awesome to look at them. I am sure if you ask for a tour of LIU by appointment they would be happy to do so the main number is 718-488-1000 I mean I would be happy to take pictures and prove it to you. Just let me know.

LuisV
LuisV on December 27, 2007 at 8:04 am

Wow! Great photos! Though this theater has lost a lot it does look totally salvagable. I assume that the original lobby colors were much darker and varied. It much have been beautiful back in the day.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on December 26, 2007 at 11:53 pm

What a magnificent set of photos, Ken! Rather heartbreaking, actually. Given all that’s gone missing from the original ornamentation, it’s remarkable that so much still remains. With a new gymnasium in place for the university’s basketball team, I’m nervous as to what the future holds for this unique space. Thanks, once again!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 26, 2007 at 8:51 pm

Excellent photoset Ken. Those are the best shots I have ever seen of the grand lobby as it exists today.

TRMiller
TRMiller on October 30, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Hello. I am looking for any information about personality theatre organist Bob West. During the 1930’s through possibly 1950, he played theatre organ at the Paramount Brooklyn Theatre, Fox Theatre in Brooklyn, and also theatres in Chicago. We have vintage music with his photo on the cover sheets, and some other family information about him. If you remember theatre organist Bob West, or know of any sources of information or family contacts for him, or any old memorabilia, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 26, 2007 at 7:51 pm

Apparently, an auction and dinner dance for the National Marine Educators Association was held at the LIU gym (former Bklyn Paramount) and if you scroll down past the first couple of photos on the page provided by ken mc, you’ll see a few photos of the event. The theatre itself is not the focus of any of the shots, but you can make out a glimpse of some of its remaining architectural elements in the background of one or two of the images.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 26, 2007 at 6:19 pm

There are a few pictures of the interior on this site:
http://tinyurl.com/32gaxa

kong1911
kong1911 on October 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm

Ed,
Sorry you missed the mini concert but it will happen again. Most likley early next year. As soon as I hear anything I will post it.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 23, 2007 at 7:44 pm

I made it down to the former Paramount this past weekend (alas a week too late for the organ concert). I had my camera in hand, however, the guard on duty declined my requests to be let inside the gym/former auditorium. He was nice enough about it, but he said it was his first day and he just didn’t want to take the risk. Anyway, I strolled around the place and snapped some shots of the exterior.

Corner Flatbush & Dekalb
Rear view
Side view
Exit doors
Sidewall ornamentation
Sidewall ornamentation alt view
Ornamentation close up
Ornamentation detail
Smiling face
Exit door molding detail

How many ecstatic teens came pouring out of those side doors after an Allen Freed show at the Paramount in the late ‘50’s!

kong1911
kong1911 on October 10, 2007 at 5:05 am

I found out that the organ will be used this saturday from 1 to 4 PM as a mini-concert I’m told that all are welcome to come and listen. This means the auditorium only.

Leow2006
Leow2006 on September 7, 2007 at 8:48 am

I just hope to god the LIU don’t tear this wonderful buiding down. It was bad enough when they mutilated the once-lovely interior. Ideally speaking, it would be nice to see the exterior marquee, and the auditorium restored to their original glory. If anyone has any further news on any further developments regarding this lovely theatre, pleas let me know.

Thanks.

kong1911
kong1911 on August 26, 2007 at 8:56 am

To Dave,

I do not remember much re: the Alan Freed shows but there is a Alan Freed web site that has just about everything about him with photos of those days. Don’t have the web address handy but you can find it by doing a search.

dave-bronx™
dave-bronx™ on August 25, 2007 at 12:22 pm

kong1911 – when did Alan Freed do the shows at the Loew’s Oriental, before or after the Bkln Paramount?

Mariec53
Mariec53 on August 25, 2007 at 10:43 am

To Kong1911….Wow….that’s right….thanks so much….I forgot all about those days til I found this site…..thanks again!

kong1911
kong1911 on August 25, 2007 at 5:34 am

To Mariec53, Murry the K shows were at the Brooklyn Fox about 2 blocks away. Allen Freed did shows at the Paramount.

Mariec53
Mariec53 on August 25, 2007 at 1:43 am

I remember going to rock and roll shows at the Paramount when I was like 11 or 12, maybe younger. But I always thought they were Murray the K shows….weren’t they? I remember seeing the Ronettes, the Shangra-las and maybe even the Four Seasons…..we used to get up at like 4am to get the train to the theatre and wait on line for hours………memories!!!!!

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 9, 2007 at 10:37 am

From Variety May 5, 1950

GRIM TRAILER

Paramount theatre, Brooklyn, was focal point in a gruesome joke last Saturday when a man committed suicide by jumping out of a window and landing on the sidewalk in front of the house.

Picture at the theatre was D.O.A.

kong1911
kong1911 on April 5, 2007 at 1:36 am

In answer to saps, I’ve been told that the show went well. Folding chairs to sit on but everything went off without a hitch. Even the Wurlitzer was used before the shows.
Now the bad news. I’ve just learned that the organ concert for April 29 has been put off for awhile. I will put up a posting here when they reschedule it. In the mean time, if you’d like to see some of these places that are still used and sometimes show silent movies with the organ as they did in the old days. Go to www.nytos.org/

kong1911
kong1911 on April 4, 2007 at 1:54 am

I should have some info on the show by the end of this week. But if your in the neighborhood on Sunday, April 29th there will be a concert on the Mighty Wurlitzer 4/26 opus 1984 organ which is the originial organ installed at the Brooklyn Paramount by Wurlitzer and is in originial condition. The concert will start at 3PM. Admission is $12.00 for nonmembers of the NYTOS org. The concert will be of course in the old Paramount auditorium which is now a gym but you can still see a lot of the old Paramount which is left and not covered over or has not been removed. Also it is OK to bring a camera. The doors are still located at the corner of Flatbush and Dekalb Ave. You can also check with www.nytos.org/ for directions and more information on this concert and others which are presented in other theaters around the area. Hope to see some of you there.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 3, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Anyone see the show? How’s the auditorium looking nowadays?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 29, 2007 at 12:53 pm

A vintage postcard view of the Paramount Theatre from 1933:
http://flickr.com/photos/kencta/439115517/

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 28, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Interesting article in today’s New York Daily News.

Here’s the link View link

and here’s the article, copyright NY Daily News.

“Paramount gets to rock all over”

BY DENISE ROMANO
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Wednesday, March 28th 2007, 5:10 PM

“Most of us…consider this the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll shows.”

BRUCE MORROW

The Brooklyn Paramount Theatre – which some consider to be the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll concerts – will once again echo with the sweet harmonies and guitar riffs of rock royalty.

Legendary acts such as Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Drifters and the Penguins will take the stage Sunday at the ornate downtown Brooklyn theater, which is now used as a college gymnasium.

“It will be a very historic moment for me and my audience to go back there where it all started,” said radio personality Bruce Morrow, better known to his listeners as Cousin Brucie.

Morrow will host the event, which is being co-sponsored by Long Island University and the Daily News.

“My belly feels good when I walk into the building,” said the Sirius Satellite Radio disk jockey, who stumbled upon the theater while filming a show.

The building, at the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Aves. and now owned by Long Island University, was built in 1928 by its namesake studio to screen talking pictures, the first theater of its kind.

Over the next 30 years, it served as a venue for such live performers as Bing Crosby and Ethel Merman.

But it did not earn its claim to fame until the 1950s.

“Most of us who are considered to be rock ‘n’ roll mavens consider this the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll shows, and the first place where there was an interracial audience,” Morrow said.

The famed deejay and concert producer Alan Freed, often credited with coining the term “rock ‘n’ roll” in 1951, began staging performances at the Brooklyn Paramount in the mid-50s. The 1989 movie “Great Balls of Fire!” about Jerry Lee Lewis, starring Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder, includes a scene set in the Paramount.

“It was a great mixture for all kinds of acts,” Morrow said of the famed theater. “It was a melting pot. It taught people how to get along. Music is a balm; it’s very soothing in all kinds of ways.”

University officials said the theater’s ceiling and the walls have been preserved, and the basketball hoops that now hang on the walls do not diminish the nostalgia of the space.

“You can never erase or destroy emotions,” Morrow said of the golden ceiling. “Thank goodness we have something in this world that survives – and that is rock ‘n’ roll.”

There will be two shows on Sunday, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30p.m. There are $40 bleacher seats still available for both shows, and some $100 seats are available for the 7:30 p.m. show. To buy tickets, call (866) 468-7619. All proceeds will go to scholarships for LIU students.

(I wonder if the basketball hoops are still there, since I believe the new gymnasium is open. I won’t be at the show, but any first hand reports will be greatly appreciated!)

Vito
Vito on March 23, 2007 at 9:18 am

So they are going to watch a concert in a gym.
No theatres left to support the event. What a crime!