Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

1037 SW Broadway,
Portland, OR 97205

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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.

Ron3853 on April 3, 2004 at 6:25 pm

Part of the history of a great movie theater is the films that played there. Listed below are most films which played at the Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon from 1960-1970. The dates listed are all Wedenesdays of the week the film opened, as in those days, most new films started on a Wednesday instead of Fridays as they do now. Research is from microfilms of The Portland Oregonian (1964-68) and Variety (1960-70).
12/16/59 L'il Abner/Counterplot
01/06/60 Happy Anniversary/Timbuktu
01/13/60 The Wreck of the Mary Deare/Libel
01/20/60 The Amazing Transparent Man/Get Outta Town
01/27/60 Samson and Delilah/Ulysses
02/10/60 On the Beach
03/30/60 Heller in Pink Tights/A Touch of Larceny
04/06/60 Visit to a Small Planet/Circus Stars
04/20/60 The Bridges of Toko-Ri/The Country Girl
04/27/60 House of Intrigue/Web of Evidence
05/04/60 The Fugitive Kind/The Music Box Kid
05/18/60 Kidnapped/In the Money
05/25/60 The Gallant Hours/The Boy and the Pirates
06/01/60 Five Branded Women/Walk Like a Dragon
06/08/60 The Angry Red Planet/The Plunderers of Painted Flats
06/15/60 Macumba Love/Take a Giant Step
06/22/60 Circus of Horrors/The Fighting Wildcats
06/29/60 The Apartment/Gunfighters of Abilene
07/13/60 The Bellboy/Tarzan the Magnificent
07/27/60 The Rat Race/Chance Meeting
08/10/60 STAGE SHOW
08/17/60 Elmer Gantry/Cage of Evil
08/31/60 It Started in Naples/Prisoner of the Volga
09/07/60 All the Fine Young Cannibals/Davy
09/14/60 Private Property/A Question of Infidelity
09/28/60 Under 10 Flags/The Boy Who Stole a Million
10/05/60 For Members Only/Mating Time
10/19/60 Heroes Die Young/Sex Kittens Go to College
10/26/60 Dial M for Murder/Strangers on a Train
11/02/60 Ten Who Dared/The Hong Kong Affair
11/16/60 A Breath of Scandal/New Orleans After Dark
11/23/60 G. I. Blues/Legion of the Doomed
12/14/60 Cinderfella/Police Dog Story
12/28/60 The Facts of Life/Operation Bottleneck
01/18/61 Swiss Family Robinson/Mysteries of the Deep
02/22/61 The Misfits/Frontier Uprising
03/08/61 The World of Suzie Wong
04/05/61 All in a Night’s Work/Blueprint for Robbery
04/12/61 The Absent-Minded Professor
05/31/61 Vera Cruz/Apache
06/07/61 Look in Any Window/Unwed Mother
06/14/61 One-Eyed Jacks/Foxhole in Cairo
06/28/61 By Love Possessed/The Cat Burglar
07/12/61 The Ladies Man//Night Ambush
07/26/61 STAGE SHOW
08/09/61 Nikki—Wild Dog of the North/Dondi
08/16/61 On the Double/Deadly Companions
08/23/61 Not Tonight, Henry/Next to No Time
09/20/61 Armored Command/The Serengeti Shall Not Die
09/27/61 Question 7
10/04/61 The Lovers/Not Tonight, Henry/Blond Blackmailer
seized by the law
10/11/61 Paris Blues/The Flight That Disappeared
10/18/61 Greyfriar’s Bobby/The Boy Who Caught a Crook
10/25/61 The Lovers (returned after winning legal challenge)
11/22/61 Blue Hawaii/It Takes a Thief
12/06/61 STAGE SHOW
12/13/61 The Train/Blonde Sinner
12/20/61 Pocketful of Miracles
01/17/62 The Happy Thieves/Deadly Duo
01/24/62 Siege of Syracuse/Hey, Let’s Twist!
01/31/62 Flight of the Lost Balloon/The Day the Sky Exploded
02/07/62 Qustion 7
02/14/62 Too Late Blues/Lost Battalion
02/21/62 Sergeants 3/Hell Drivers
03/07/62 Pinocchio
03/28/62 Knights of the Round Table/Ivanhoe
04/04/62 The Outsider/Blast of Silence
04/11/62 Splendor in the Grass/Fanny
04/18/62 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence/Brushfire
05/09/62 King of Kings (popscale)
05/23/62 The Rose Tattoo/The Proud & the Profane
05/30/62 Escape from Zahrain/The Matchmaker
06/13/62 Big Red/The Living Desert
06/27/62 The Road to Hong Kong/The Nun and the Sergeant
07/18/62 My Geisha/Air Patrol
07/25/62 The Delicate Delinquent/The Sad Sack
08/01/62 STAGE SHOW
08/15/62 Hatari/Safe at Home
09/05/62 Tales of Terror/The Dead One
09/12/62 Tarzan Goes to India/The Tartars
09/19/62 Karamoija/Ritual of Love
09/26/62 Convicts 4/The Frightened City
10/03/62 Pressure Point/Summer of the 17th Doll (Season of Passion)
10/10/62 Almost Angels/Lady and the Tramp
10/31/62 The Manchurian Candidate/The Valiant
11/21/62 Girls! Girls! Girls!/Story of the Count of Monte Cristo
12/05/62 Portrait of a Sinner/Playgirl After Dark
12/19/62 In Search of the Castaways
01/23/63 The Longest Day
04/10/63 The Miracle of the White Stallions/The Brave One
04/24/63 I Could Go on Singing/Mary Had a Little
05/01/63 The Hook/Escape from East Berlin
05/08/63 Hercules and the Captive Women/Battle Beyond the Sun
05/15/63 Mondo Cane/Stark Fear
05/22/63 In the Cool of the Day/Rififi in Tokyo
05/29/63 Dr. No/Five Miles to Midnight
06/05/63 Poor White Trash/Cash McCall
06/12/63 Call Me Bwana/Hero’s Island
06/26/63 Cleopatra
03/18/64 Wuthering Heights/Our Very Own
03/25/64 The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao/Flipper
04/01/64 God’s Little Acre/I Want to Live
04/08/64 Mail Order Bride
04/15/64 Voodoo Village/Girls of the Night
04/22/64 Night Must Fall/Murder at the Gallop
04/29/64 Act One/Gypsy
05/06/64 Advance to the Rear/The Defiant Ones
05/13/64 The Best Man/The Bramble Bush
05/20/64 The Horror of Party Beach/Curse of the Living Corpse
05/27/64 Rhino!/The Golden Arrow
06/03/64 Witches' Curse/The Flesh-Eaters
06/10/64 The Three Lives of Thomasina
07/01/64 The Unsinkable Molly Brown
09/16/64 Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
11/11/64 STAGE SHOW
11/18/64 My Fair Lady
10/06/65 Mary Poppins (why did this take so long to open in
02/09/66 The Great Race
03/02/66 Made in Paris/The Hill
03/23/66 The Spy With My Face/To Trap a Spy
04/06/66 Doctor Zhivago
02/15/67 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (another film that opened
way late in Portland – why?)
03/15/67 The Mikado (3/15-16 only)
05/10/67 Hawaii
11/15/67 Camelot
06/05/68 War and Peace
06/12/68 Speedway/Day of the Evil Gun
07/03/68 The Odd Couple
11/20/68 Funny Girl
05/28/69 A Fine Pair/Twisted Nerve
06/04/69 Baby Love/A Bullet for the General
06/11/69 Fraulein Doktor/Waterhole #3
06/18/69 My Side of the Mountain/Hello, Down There
06/25/69 True Grit/Where’s Jack?
08/27/69 Stiletto/Woman Times Seven
09/17/69 Sweden, Heaven, and Hell/Deadly Sweet
10/01/69 The Italian Job/Ace High
10/08/69 Blow-Up/Lolita
10/22/69 Mondo Hollywood/The Devil’s Mistress
10/29/69 Paint Your Wagon
05/27/70 The Adventurers
07/08/70 The Out-of-Towners/Norwood
09/16/70 Cherry, Harry, and Raquel
09/30/70 The ABCs of Marriage
10/14/70 Diary of a Mad Housewife

Films from 1971-1975 will be posted as soon as research has been completed.