Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

1037 SW Broadway,
Portland, OR 97205

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Showing 1 - 25 of 28 comments

pnelson on July 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Seattle still has it’s original Paramount theatre and it has been completely restored with even a larger stage and new seating. All the biggest shows are playing there.

pdx66 on June 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

For those of us who remember the Paramount before its makeover in 1984 the present manifestation of the building leaves much to be desired. It seems like they ran out of money somehow and realized that there would be no cost-effective way, given the budget, to execute an authentic refurbishment and enhancement of the theatre as they had done in the case of the exterior and lobby. There were three or four shades of gray and bluish gray accented by gold and a complex system of indirect cove and pocket lighting with which pretty much any color of the rainbow could be produced in the auditorium. This made for a striking contrast between the painted color scheme and lighting. The giant hand-painted autumnal and romanesque murals on either side wall of the balcony were painted over with a solid light beige. The Paramount auditorium was originally something of a brooding, bejeweled cavern. Very tall and long in it’s feel. Little of any of that feel exists today. There are numerous photos of today’s rendition of the theatre on Google. The fact that the did save the building keeps hope alive that someday Rapp and Rapp’s creation will once again appear.

rivest266 on May 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Grand opening ads as Portland and Paramount can now be found in the photo section for this theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm

The Heathman Hotel, which contains the entrance to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, was designed by Portland architects James W. DeYoung and Knud A. Roald. Knud & Roald also acted as supervising architects for the construction of the Paramount Theatre. 23 photos of the interior of the Paramountare in the DeYoung and Roald Architectural Plans and Photographs collection at the University of Oregon Library at Eugene, Oregon. The collection is open to the public, but can be viewed only in the Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Mikeyisirish on November 29, 2012 at 8:03 am

A November 2012 photo can be seen here.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

A few photos can be seen here and here.

lunardolly on February 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

Does anyone have any information on original Paramount theatres that are still open but perhaps had a name change such as this one? I’ve been searching for all the original’s opened under Paramount-Publix and am wondering if there are more now under a different name. Arlene Schnitzer doesn’t show up in a Paramount search and I’m not finding anything when I link terms together (ie Rapp & Rapp, Paramount, Publix,1930 era etc.) so any info on how to get at least get a list of originals would be great, thanks.

howardhughes on October 30, 2010 at 12:30 am

I am so thankful that the old paramount theatre still stands to this day.
When one looks at the large one of a kind maquee and all those lights
It gives a feel of what broadway was when the paramount and its
Sister theatre’s such as the broadway theatre, the fox, and liberty theatre
To name a few lined broadway and gave a person the feeling of somthing
Magical. And when one looks at the old paramount building and its many
Lights that light up the night one truly gets a look and feel of a by gone era.

howardhughes on October 11, 2010 at 10:13 pm

The paramount theatre building and its outstanding marquee shows us
A little reminder of the magic of broadway from the past.

TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 11:44 am

Nice photos,every big city must have a PARAMOUNT,check out the PARAMOUNT in Nashville,Tennessee on was razed in 1979.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 29, 2009 at 8:43 am

Thanks for the info.

I agree that it is a very nice job.

GaryParks on July 28, 2009 at 8:23 pm

The vertical sign is a reproduction, dating to 1982, according to the new book by Gary Lacher, Theatres of Portland. It is really stunning, particularly at night. The original said PORTLAND, was later relettered PARAMOUNT, and the replica was created to look like the sign as originally lettered.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 28, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Is that the original vertical sign or a reproduction?

chspringer on June 19, 2009 at 10:01 am

Thanks for the photos.

lhl12 on April 19, 2009 at 12:41 am

This is the longest of long-shots. As you can see from the post by Ron3853 above, on 09/17/69 a movie called DEADLY SWEET opened at the Paramount. I am doing research on this obscure movie, and am hoping against hope to find someone who saw it at the Paramount. If you saw it, or if you know someone who did, or if you could trace down someone who did, I would really like to hear from you. You may read my essay on the movie at
Many thanks!

ticktock11 on August 2, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Warren, yes. You are surely correct. The beige went on when the city took the place over in the mid 80s. I worked at The Oregonian a block up Broadway. I last saw the theatre in 1988. I’m sure they’ve gone in by now with even more beige to touch up the wear and tear.

I have a few dim memories of the place before they subdued it. Its colors were just raucous in places, and in all ways different from what exists today (except for the stonework). I hope to hell that someone made a good color inventory, and took pictures, before they powered up the spray guns. It deserved at least that much respect.

ticktock11 on August 1, 2007 at 3:56 pm

It’s wonderful that it was saved. I believe it’s the last remaining movie palace left in Portland, which once had its fair share of them.

Unfortunately, the exuberant colorful decoration indicated in the BW shots linked above (shoeshoe14, Aug. 23, 2005) has been brought to its knees by hundreds of gallons of beige paint. This paint could be scraped off some day, and I hope it is. But for now the place is a monument to misguided “good taste.”

kencmcintyre on January 9, 2006 at 4:56 pm

From the Oregon Historical Society:
View link
View link

shoeshoe14 on August 23, 2005 at 12:44 pm

Just an FYI. This information was taken from View link

shoeshoe14 on July 28, 2005 at 4:58 am

There were originally 3,036 seats. It had an organ which was a 4/20 Publix 1 opus 1831 similar to the Seattle Paramount Wurlitzer. The instrument was shipped from the factory in January 1928 and the installation was supervised by Wurlitzer employee Harry E. Carruthers.

The theater opened on Thursday March 8, 1928 at 7:00pm. Liborius Hauptmann directed the Portland Grand Orchestra in selections from Faust. Following the overture came a short novelty film and the Paramount News. As the velvet curtain closed, a white spotlight caught the ivory and gold Wurlitzer as it rose from the pit with Ralph Hamilton playing “Organs I Have Played.” After the console had slowly sunk from sight, Alex Hyde and the Portland Stage Band appeared to accompany “A Merry Widow Revue” direct from the New York Paramount Theatre and produced by Frank Cambria. This revue consisted of six acts… then the curtains opened on the feature picture which was “Feel My Pulse,” starring Bebe Daniels, William Powell, and Richard Arlen.

The Portland Theatre was designed by C.W. and George Rapp and was built by the Association of Publix and Loew under the direction of West Coast Theatres. After about a year, the theatre was renamed the Paramount. The Wurlitzer console was presided over by such well-known artists as Oliver Wallace, Stanleigh Mallotte, and the popular team of Don and Iris Wilkins, among others. As a matter of fact, the organ was used regularly well into the 1930’s.

The Paramount Theatre building still exists and was acquired by the City of Portland in the early 1980s. After extensive refurbishing, it reopened in 1984 as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, home of the Oregon Symphony. The City owns the building which is part of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. The marquee was restored to the original theatre name: “Portland.”

chspringer on June 8, 2005 at 8:16 am

At that time (1972) I was working at the Paramount. Several concerts played there around that time including the BeeGees, Captain Beefhart and the touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar among others. The theater was still primarily a film venue with a concert about once or twice a month. The last major film to play there was the 70mm run of Ryan’s Daughter. After that there was a string of horror and black explotation flicks which lasted a few more months.

teecee on June 8, 2005 at 5:28 am

Concerning the timeline of this theater as a concert venue, The Grateful Dead performed here on 7/26/72.

chspringer on April 22, 2005 at 3:11 pm

The “Paramount” did if fact open as the Portland Publix. The name change to Paramount came only a few months later as Paramount studios started to rename their theatre to Paramont. This happened all over the country, not just in Portland.

It should be mentioned that 70mm equiment was install for the roadshow of Cleopatra and many of the films you listed above were sold on a hard ticket basis including My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Paint Your Wagaon, Dr Zhavago and I believe Camolet.

steelbeard1 on January 22, 2005 at 6:34 am

I recall a news report when the old Paramount vertical sign was taken down so that it could be used as the basis for the replacement Portland vertical sign, the Paramount sign was so heavy that it caused damage to the sign company’s crane.