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The Paramount Theatre on Times Square opened on November 16, 1926 with Lois Moran in the Paramount Picture “God Gave Me Twenty Cents”, plus a stage show. The Paramount Theatre lobby was modeled after the Paris Opera House with white marble columns, balustrades and an opening arms grand staircase. Inside, drapes were red velvet, the rugs were a similar red. The theatre also had a Wurlitzer 4 manual 36 ranks organ, made famous by organist Jesse L. Crawford and later by Don Baker. There was also an orchestra pit that rose up to the stage level. The ceilings were fresco and gilt. The railings were brass, and the seats plush. There were Greek statues and busts in wall niches. The rest rooms and waiting rooms were as grand as any cathedral. In the main lobby there was an enormous crystal chandelier.
Over the years, many of the top stars performed there, including Frank Sinatra and dozens of the era’s luminaries. After years of showing movies and shows, the Paramount Theatre was closed on February 21, 1966 with the James Bond movie “Thunderball”. The auditorium was destroyed and converted into office space, and the entrance and lobby areas were gutted to make way for office and retail space.
Today, the Paramount Building is occupied in part by the Times Square location of the Hard Rock Cafe.
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