Paramount Theatre

215 Third Street,
Baton Rouge, LA 70801

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Paramount Theatre Painted wall sign

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Once described as the most thoroughly equipped and scientifically built motion picture play house in the South, this theater replaced the old Columbia Theatre after its 1919 demolition.

The new Columbia Theatre was opened September 4, 1920 with 1,451 seats, and was the first theater in the United States to have lights lining the aisles.

It was renamed the Paramount Theatre around 1937.

The Paramount Theatre was demolished in 1979.

Contributed by Jack Van Leer

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

dfwchip on October 17, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Sometime in the late 1970’s I believe, the Varsity was divided into two cinemas from it’s original single cinema format. It was then known as the Varsity Twin Cinema and became primarily a repertory cinema, showing many old classic Hollywood movies, from Casablanca to Night of the Living Dead. Around 1985, the movie venue change to art films and independent films. Around 1987-88, the two cinema’s were modified with long bench-like tables in front of the seats and a real food and booze menu was created. Waiters and waitresses would come around and take your food and drink order. This fad didn’t last that long as your food would be brought to you after the film started usually, and was quite a distraction. This was the only theater in Baton Rouge that showed the controversial THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST in 1988 (an, of course, the picketers were there, but were made to stand and do there shouting across the street on Highland Road). In 1991, the venue changed again to that of a live concert hall. Better that than tearing it down…

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on October 17, 2007 at 1:24 pm

CL, Did you mean to post this on the Varsity’s page or is there a connection to the Paramount?

dfwchip on October 17, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Oops. sorry! You are correct, I meant to post this on the Varsity’s page…

blacykaty on June 22, 2009 at 11:30 am

I have many fond memories of the Paramount and a child growing up in Baton Rouge. The most vivid is when my father and I were at Gone With the Wind in the mid ‘70’s. The movie was delayed in starting, no one could understand why. Finally, 3 rather large gentlemen in suits came into the theater and checked everyone out. A few moments later, Gov. Edwin Edwards walked in and sat 2 rows in front of us.

The Paramount was such a beautiful theater. It broke my heart to see it torn down. I never really understood why.

GBC on December 1, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Did the movie “The Long Hot Summer” make it’s world premiere at the Paramount?

jmcguckin on July 23, 2013 at 11:42 am

Funny, the archive picture shows Sgt. Pepper on the Theatre Marquee – I saw Sgt. Pepper at the Paramount a couple of times. Sitting in the balcony near where the second archive photo was taken…

MikeJC on May 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

The Paramount Baton Rouge had a very nice 2 manual 7 rank Robert Morton theatre organ. It was recorded by Dalton McAlpin in the 1960’s and issued on a couple of Concert Recording LP discs

Rockman on February 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm

I remember the “crying baby” room behind the first balcony. It had all the heavy drapes that just looked like a hand with a dagger might come out at any moment. I also remember the ancient little ladies at the ticket booth and the concession stand.

SouthernBoy on March 31, 2015 at 2:24 pm

I remember my Dad taking me to the Paramount when I was 6 years old in 1960. It would be the Saturday morning matinee with the red velvet ropes and carpet and curtains. That is where my love for the movies started. I’ll never forget those times.

Tellgryn on March 19, 2016 at 7:18 am

The Paramount was a grant theater and reopened under the Paramount name after the very old Columbian(?) theater was rebuild. When to many movies at the Paramount in the 60’s and 70’s.

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