Paris Theatre

218 N. Main Street,
Greenville, SC 29601

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iveyhalls on August 30, 2016 at 6:16 am

My notes from a Greenville city directory published in the early 1950s confirm 218 N. Main Street as the address of the Paris Theater.

Outer space enthusiasts and sf fans fondly remember the Paris as the theater that brought George Pal’s “Destination Moon” to Greenville during the week of 16-21 October 1950. This followed its 20 June premiere at New York’s Hayden Planetarium for a VIP audience. It had gone into national release during August.

In addition to this movie that launched the 1950s science fiction cycle (and maybe even NASA), the Paris Theater’s offerings during 1950 included Walt Disney’s live-action period film “Treasure Island,” the year’s Oscar winner for best picture “All About Eve,” and a return engagement (?) of Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film version of “Hamlet.” This sampling suggests that in its heyday the Paris was a respectable alternative to the Carolina and the Fox.

My memory tends to transpose the locations of the Paris and Center theaters, but the directory street addresses indicate that the Center stood on the northern side of the Paris with only one street address separating them. I believe I am correct in remembering that the Center had the square marquee and the Paris had the triangular marquee.

rivest266 on August 16, 2016 at 12:59 pm

May 31st, 1931 grand opening ad in photo section.

CharlieCoates on July 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

Ah, the Paris!

Not really a porn house during my days in Greenville (1963-68), but would show what passed for “erotic” cinema in those days. That meant scenes of topless women and heavy breathing, but not much else. Mostly French.

Double features were the rule. More often than not, the steamier feature would be advertised more visibly (but not too visibly) on the movie page of the Greenville News, with the bottom half of the double bill (usually a mainstream feature) in small print. E.g. MUD HONEY plus 2d feature: Elmer Gantry.

I recall attending a particularly racy double feature, Virgin Spring and Wild Strawberries, both by Ingmar Bergman. Both of these are considered masterpieces of cinema and are not at all erotic. I can’t say for sure that the management was aware of the true nature of these films, but such arty features were not uncommon.

An added plus: great popcorn.

Trolleyguy on February 10, 2013 at 7:28 am

If the address is correct, it appears that the theater building has been replaced by new construction. Status should be demolished.