Paramount Theatre

1501 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 101 - 125 of 493 comments

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 10, 2008 at 10:04 am

I suspect that since Hollywood was producing so many pro-Soviet films during the war at the government’s request, it was a worthy investment at the time.

SPearce on January 10, 2008 at 12:52 am

In my May 10, 1946 copy of the NYC edition of the (Communist) Daily Worker are some select movie ads (obviously not all theaters in NYC advertised in this newspaper), including one for Paramount Times Square indicating:

Paramount Presents Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix in “The Blue Dahlia” A George Marshall Production, Doors open 8:30 a.m., then a musical note separating columns and on the right side of the ad:

In Person DUKE ELLINGTON and his Orchestra, Stump & Stumpy, Extra The Mills Bros. (This is the show I would have wanted to see.)

I look at this historically as someone then determined it was worthwhile to run this ad for this show in the Communist Daily newspaper. If it wasn’t for the content, then perhaps management had a vested interest.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 4, 2008 at 4:43 pm

The engagement was three weeks but it was hampered by a weak film title (Columbia admitted it was expecting Sinatra to bring in the crowds) and missing dates when Sinatra developed laryngitis shortly after opening.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 4, 2008 at 2:49 pm

I’ve read that those Capitol Theatre shows drew disappointing attendance. As I indicated above, Sinatra saw his popularity tail-off around this time and I’m curious as to just how well (or poorly) these shows at the Capitol were received by the public. Do you have any B.O. figures, Warren?

JohnMLauter on January 3, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Sonnyboy—the war ended in 1945, some men like my uncle stayed in Germany as occupation troops, but my Father came back home in 1945, his tour of duty having been satisfied as the war had ended. He was in the service from 1942-1945, and that was about the normal duration of service. Was your father a career man?

sonnyboy on January 3, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Fantastic. I think we may have it. My parents are going through their memory banks to see if it was Benny G or Johnny L with that extra added attraction: Young Blue Eyes.

Personally, I’d rather have been at the Benny Goodman, Jack Benny show.

And I am going to buy Pete Hamill’s book to make sure we know just who’s horse head it was.

Thanks all. I believe the investigation is being erased from the board.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 2, 2008 at 12:17 am

PARAMOUNT December 30, 1942-January, 1943
BENNY GOODMAN and his Orchestra
Extra added attraction! Frank Sinatra
January 26 at 6pm only – Extra! JACK BENNY

PARAMOUNT January 27, 1943- February 23, 1943
JOHNNY LONG and his orchestra
Extra added attraction! Frank Sinatra

JohnMLauter on January 1, 2008 at 11:08 pm

The story has grown out of proportion as a great American urban legend, read Pete Hamill’s great book “Why Sinatra matters”. The much-discussed and embellished story of a contract Sinatra had to get out of was his contract with Tommy Dorsey, the band he sang with after leaving Harry James. Harry basically just let Frank go and wished him well, realized what an opportunity Dorsey was offering. Dorsey was not so easy going, signed hungry young talent to iron-clad contracts giving himself a healthy cut of that performer’s pay should they elect to leave (in Frank’s case, almost 55% of all future earnings) Frank signed to just get free and start pursuing the opportunities that were being offered. The contract was re-negotiated by his agents at MCA (the Music Corporation of America) joined by an army of lawyers. The proceedings were a matter of public record in the courts. Frank ended
up paying Dorsey $60,000 lump-sum to get out of the contract. I’m sorry if that’s not as romantic, but them’s the facts.
Frank was Italian, which for decades before he reached his initial popularity meant they weren’t even considered WHITE by wasps, it took the massive numbers of Americans of Italian descent fighting in WWII to begin the change of opinion against such prejudice. There were many figures in organized crime Frank knew, he sang in nightclubs for a living, and such establishments aren’t owned by conservative wasp businessmen, they were owned by gangsters. No credible researcher or author (including the notorious Kitty Kelley) could find any concrete link to this urban legend.
As an aside, Frank was quoted as being very sad when the Paramount was gutted, and wished that he had a souvenir from the building, even if just a knob from a dressing room door.

HowardBHaas on January 1, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Horse’s head in the bed!

sonnyboy on January 1, 2008 at 9:53 pm

I have a revision that makes more sense given everyone’s feedback. I was wrong about the dates. I thought I heard my parents say they went to the show at the Paramount before they were married in 1947. My parents just told me that there first date was before my father enlisted and went into the Navy… in the Spring of 1943! My parents were married in 1947 after my father returned from the war.

My father just told me about how Frankie got out of the Harry James contract with a little help from some friends. He also told me how the story was retold within “The Godfather.”

sonnyboy on January 1, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Fantastic leads. I am going to have to check both my parents stories again. I feel like a detective trying to get to the bottom of a big mystery. They saw one of the two, but maybe it wasn’t at the Paramount.

Maybe I am not their son. This is getting me all nervous.

This is fun. Thanks for all of your help. I will keep digging.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 1, 2008 at 1:00 pm

I can’t find any record of Frank Sinatra performing live at the Paramount in 1947 but he did appear at the Capitol in November of that year with “petite comedienne” LORRAINE ROGNAN and SKITCH HENDERSON & his piano & orchestra.

How about SAMMY KAYE and his orchestra with IT HAPPENED IN BROOKLYN starring Sinatra at the Capitol in early March?

THE INK SPOTS and ELLA FITZGERALD took over the Paramount in February of 1947 with EASY COME, EASY GO on the screen.

Rory on January 1, 2008 at 10:58 am

Sonnyboy, does your local library have The New York Times on microfilm? If so, I’d just go look through the dates you think it was, go to the entertainment section and look for an ad.

sonnyboy on January 1, 2008 at 10:53 am

Gee, Ed. That does help. But now I have a dilemma. Do I fess up that you were good enough to provide me with an important piece of info or do I go on letting my parents believe there is a chance they are both right? What if this bit of disagreement busts up their marriage after 60 years, 4 kids and 8 grandkids. Yikes.

Seriously, thanks for responding and helping me get at the truth.

Now I can focus my research on one or the other but not both at the Paramount.

I have to admit, I believe my mother’s version with Frank Sinatra, even if it was the swoon you mentioned and his last year before the Mob (how exciting) helped him re-start his career. Whether he got help or not, Frank was a fantastic performer.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 1, 2008 at 3:57 am

Hey sonnyboy – HAPPY NEW YEAR! Frank Sinatra was basically “discovered” by Harry James and sang in his orchestra in 1939 before famously (or infamously – depending on the story you read) defecting to the Tommy Dorsey Band within a year. I don’t think you’d have found Old Blue Eyes singing with James in 1947, so the performance your grandparents saw at the Paramount was either one or the other! I suppose either artist might have topped the bill in ‘47 – although Sinatra’s career started to swoon a bit that year and wouldn’t fully recover until after his successful dramatic turn in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY in 1953. Hope that helps just a smidge!

sonnyboy on December 31, 2007 at 11:31 am

Help, please, to answer a 60 year old question:

My parents just celebrated their 60th Anniversary and were asked what was their first date. They both agreed on the train ride from Long Island to the “big” city and they both agreed on their terrific dinner at Romeo’s which consisted of spaghetti and a meatball for only 39 cents (my mother remembered it was more… 45 cents)! They also remembered going to the Paramount and seeing a fantastic show. Here is where I need your help. My mother remembers seeing Frank Sinatra. My father remembers seeing Harry James. They both remember it vividly. The simple, everyone is right answer, would be of course, Frank singing for Harry’s band. Could be. I would love to verify what happened.

The show would have been around February of 1947… 9 months before they were married.

Thanks to any and all who could answer the question or lead me to a place where I can do further research.

Patsy on October 14, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Lost Memory: Your post of July 21, 2007 are spectacular and makes me wonder why this elegant theatre wasn’t saved especially with it’s rich Sinatra history.

Patsy on October 14, 2007 at 5:10 pm

There is a photo with a timeline of the Paramount on this site.

Rory on September 20, 2007 at 10:27 am

On the Fox Home Video DVD of “The Best of Everything” is a brief Fox Movietone Newsreel segment on the premiere of this movie at the Paramount Theatre on October 9, 1959. I’ve heard that Fox is preparing a special edition of “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” which premiered at the Paramount on December 16, 1959. I hope they have a newsreel of that event.

William on August 24, 2007 at 3:32 pm

Alany926, You should try The Theatre Historical Society of America for photos on the Paramount Theatre in Times Square. They at one time published an annual featuring the Paramount Times Square Theatre (1976)#3. They would be the best in finding photos of the theatre.

ajy926 on August 24, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Hi Everyone!

Hopefully someone can help me or steer me in the right direction. I’m doing a piece on the Paramount Theater Times Square, NY and I’m trying to collect all available pictures..

If anyone can help me I’d appreciate it greatly,

Thank You

katten41 on July 17, 2007 at 7:25 am

I worked at Paramount Pictures headquarters from late 1964 through early 1965 and remember once being taken by a veteran employee down a series of stairs from our offices to a door that opened upon a top-down view of the shuttered theater. It was a spectacular vista, one befitting a master shot for “Phantom Of The Opera.” From that vantage point, even a youngster like myself understood immediately what theatrical grandeur was all about.

katten41 on July 17, 2007 at 7:14 am

Can anyone provide a list of films playing at the Paramount in the last half of 1962? Many thanks in advance.

ErnieN on May 7, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Excellent pix, Warren. Many thanks. A reminder that, I guess, all of Manhattan is basically rock.


Ernie Nagy