Paramount Theatre

1312 26th Avenue,
Gulfport, MS 39501

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wsaucier on July 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

A few more facts about the Strand Theatre in Gulfport.

The Strand Theatre closed in Mid October 1930 for extensive remodeling which included new wall boarding for better acoustics,new deluxe seats,new heating and cooling facilities, all new projection equipment and a decrease in the size and lowering of its stage to add more seating as well as a new entrance and doors. The Robert Morton Pipe Organ with its pipes that had been in use at the theatre since it opened were removed and donated by Publix Theatres/Strand Theatre to the First Baptist Church of Gulfport in March 1930.

Three days after the Strand closed all the projection equipment and other equipment was moved to it’s sister theatre, the Anderson Theatre, which itself had just undergone extensive remodeling.

The all new theatre opened again with great fanfare on Saturday December 20, 1930 as the all new Paramount Theatre.

The opening program for the Paramount on December 20,1930 was the feature “Along Came Youth” with Charles Rogers, Stu Erwin and Francis Dee along with three featurettes. Admission for the opening program which started at 12 noon was adults 50 cents until 5 pm, 55 cents after 5 pm and children 10 cents. No actual changes were made to the Paramount after it opened in 1930 until the mid 1960’s when it was again remodeled.

The 1930 advertisement for the opening if the new Paramount used the slogan “Host to the Coast” and it lived up to that motto until its final demise. I loved that old theatre!

wsaucier on December 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

Jim, it was not the Paramount that burned. The Sand Theatre (formerly Legion Theatre) on 13th owned by the American Legion and Ed Ortte of Bay St. Louis burned in 1973. Woolworth’s next to the Paramount burned, not the Paramount. The Paramount which had smoke damage from the Woolworth fire was demolished in the 1990’s after a group was formed to try and save it was unsuccessful in raising the money to buy and restore it. The city of Gulfport was offered the theatre for $150,000 by its owner but the city did not want to buy it, so it was demolished. Several years before the Woolworth fire the old Palace Restaurant on the other side of the Paramount partly burned and the Paramount received smoke damage from that fire too.

cameraguy on October 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm

If I am not very mistaken, the Paramount burned – not demolished. Attempts were, indeed, being made to raise money to restore it when it burned. Jim Dalrymple, Waveland MS

CSWalczak on October 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm

The Paramount can be partially seen in this 1930’s-era postcard view of Gulfport’s business core.

CoastalCruiser on June 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Excellent memory wsaucier! Your description brought back memories I thought were long gone…and brought tears to my eyes. I vaguely remember going to Woolworths for a banana split. I wish my memory was better but thanks to having to take propranolol for so many years, I’m losing more and more of them. Keep posting your memories, please!! What high school did you go to and what years? I went to GEHS 66-68, then moved to CA for my senior year and graduated there 1969.

wsaucier on June 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm

When looking at the picture above, the Paramount would have been located in front of the white van, to its left was the Paramount Cafe and to its right was the Woolworth store and then Brumfield Drug. As kids we always went first to the Brumfield Drug store to purchase candy before going to the Paramount. A small jewery store was located in the Paramount to the left next to the cafe. The jewery store closed when the Paramount was remodeled in the 1960’s and the lobby was expanded into its space. I remember the Paramount’s booth was small and crampted and when you looked out the port holes, you were looking downward to the screen and stage.

wsaucier on January 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Sorry, that should have been four sections of upholstered seats.

wsaucier on December 29, 2010 at 7:56 pm

CoastalCruise, I know that you join me in saying, the Paramount was an elegant old theatre. I have many fond memories of it. A friend of mine, Robert Gates was projectionest there in its last years of operation. Wish it could have been saved, its loss was really a shame and should have not happened! Was Joseph Fulton still manager when you worked there?
I remember the stairs on the north and south sides of the lobby leading to the second floor, were at least twelve feet in width, heavly carpeted, creating a grand sweeping appearance, leading to the second floor and its ofice and restrooms.
The auditorium walls, before they were painted that awful blue color during the 1960’s remodeling, were painted to look like vines and leaves were covering the walls. The amber lighting under the balcony and on the walls made it look like a light brown and green covering of vines from the seating areas. Four sets of double doors led from the lobby into the auditorum, two in the middle section and one double set on the north and south side opening into the oval auditoruim with its four sections of uppostered seats and a hugh scope screen with a gold travel curtain with motorized masking that was adjustable from the booth for both width and height. Some of the old dressing rooms remained back stage with a circular iron stair well leading up to them.
In thinking back, I do recall, only one time that the balcony was opened and that was for the John Wayne picture “Rio Bravo” and its over flow crowd.
When the wrecking crew came into the Paramount to start their work, someone had written on the south wall just down from the concession, “We love this old theatre!” Within a week or so,the Paramount was history!
The advertising motto of the Paramount was “Host to the Coast”, and it certainly lived up to that motto!

TLSLOEWS on November 20, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Thanks for the story Coastal.

CoastalCruiser on November 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I worked summers at the Paramount in 1966/67 when I was a teenager. I was paid 50 cents per hour (12 hour shift from 11am to 11pm) plus taxi fare home each night. I remember when the movie “This Property is Condemned” was filmed locally and premiered at the Paramount. What an elegant old theater that was, even though it was already at least 45 years old when I worked there! I’m sad it was demolished but even had it stood up to Hurricane Frederic, it would surely have fallen to that wicked Hurricane Katrina. Thank you so much for posting this history of the Paramount Theater, Wayne.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 6:39 am

Wayne thanks for a great Story it is always a pity to see no comments on a Theatre THE PARAMOUNT desrves one.