Paramount Theater

509 Grand Avenue,
Des Moines, IA 50309

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The Demolition of the Paramount

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Calmuse on September 27, 2007 at 1:54 pm

I’d wondered about the label on that photo (I have a copy of the book “The Thunderbolt Kid,” in which the old photo of the Paramount was used). Marion Davies’s career was long over by the 1950s and early 1960s when the book is set.

Just one note: the address needs to be corrected. It should be 509 Grand Ave., not 1509. The Des Moines Theatre (at 517 Grand) and the Paramount were next-door to each other, as shown in this 1962 photo used on the Lost Cinemas of Des Moines blogspot.

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I believe both cinemas were part of an entertainment chain operated by A.H. Blank. Both were in buildings that had offices on upper floors, so the exteriors were more like office buildings than movie palaces. The interiors were another matter—opulent movie palaces on the order of the restored El Capitan in Hollywood.

swedeblue on July 7, 2008 at 8:25 pm

In a Sunday May 5th, 1935 Des Moines Resister ad, the PARAMOUNT theater was running “THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN.” Boris Karloff and Elsa Lancaster stared. The ad also states that it was not recommended for children or ladies who faint. A nurse was in attendance. The co featuire was Times Square Lady with Virginia Bruce. Admitance was $.21 till 1:00 PM nad $.26 after that.

The Paramount also had stage shows, I got called up for a magician one time.

MiltonSmith on April 1, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Yes, the Paramount was also known as the Capitol as shown in a picture I’ve found on a Facebook profile “Photos from the Lost Des Moines”. It shows both the Marquee of the Des Moines Theatre and the Capitol Theatre. Also, has other pics of other theatres including the KRNT Theatre (aka Shrine Temple Auditorium and Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Temple)and many others, some I’ve not been able to locate on Cinema Treasures which is surprising as the KRNT Radio Theatre was once known as the largest in the U.S. once upon a time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 21, 2009 at 6:52 pm

The May 4, 1929, issue of Movie Age said that the Capitol Theatre in Des Moines would close at the end of the week and would reopen about May 12 as the Paramount. The house would no longer employ a band or present stage shows.

RJT70mm on May 21, 2009 at 11:02 am

In the summer of 1967 I visited the booth at the Paramount. The projectionist was Norman Randolph who was business agent for the Des Moines IA local. They had a pair of Super Simplexes with SH 1000 soundheads and Four Star sound and Peerless Magnarcs on LL3 bases.
The film was “Bonnie and Clyde”.

rodmo71 on July 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm

The Polk County Convention Complex now stands where the Paramount was.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 29, 2010 at 5:42 am

The principal architect of the Capitol Theatre was Norman T. Vorse, of the firm of Vorse, Kraetsch and Kraetsch. After the construction of the Capitol, the firm’s offices were moved into the 12th floor of the office building that was part of the project.

Here is a web page with a biography of Norman T. Vorse.

KCB3Player on October 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Sad loss for Downtown Des Moines, IS I know that the also lost the River Hills and the Riviera. Loved those theaters.

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