Paramount Theatre

1501 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Paramount Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Paramount Theatre on Times Square opened on November 19, 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.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 698 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

Of course the other Paramount is listed – as Sony Columbus Circle –

Tinseltoes on April 10, 2013 at 6:35 am

Sixty years ago today, WB’s “House of Wax,” in 3-D Natural Vision, WarnerColor, and with Warner Phonic Sound, opened its world premiere engagement at the Paramount Theatre. Recording sensation Eddie Fisher, who’d once been an intermission singer at the Paramount, returned to top the stage bill, with support from Hugo Winterhalter & His Orchestra, the Beachcombers, and comedian Joey Forman. On that night only, “Wax” stars Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, and Paul Picerni made guest appearances during the stage shows.

Vito on April 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

With four projectors in the booth no 3-D reel change intermission was necessary at the Paramount

BobFurmanek on April 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

And glorious 4 channel Warnerphonic sound!

Tinseltoes on June 5, 2013 at 8:44 am

Seventy years ago today, Frank Sinatra was headlining the Paramount Theatre’s stage show, with support from Gracie Barrie & Her Orchestra and comedian Gene Sheldon. Paramount’s B&W “Five Graves to Cairo” was the screen attraction. Doors opened at 9:30 AM, with the last complete stage and screen show starting at 15 minutes past midnight.

Tinseltoes on August 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

On this night in 1934, Cecil B. DeMille’s “Cleopatra,” starring Claudette Colbert, opened its world premiere engagement at the Paramount Theatre. Continuous performances started the next morning. Due to unprecedented public interest in the B&W spectacle, the Paramount suspended its stage show policy to permit more screenings. But the Paramount’s resident orchestra was increased to symphonic size to perform an overture to every screening, with Fabian Koussevitzky and Edward Paul alternating as conductors.

Tinseltoes on September 15, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The introduction’s opening date needs to be corrected. The Paramount Theatre had its formal opening night on November 19th, 1926, and opened to the public on the following morning (November 20th). “God Gave Me Twenty Cents” was the film in both cases.

William L. Coale, Ph.D.
William L. Coale, Ph.D. on October 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

HELP! I have two major areas of interest/inquiry regarding the Paramount.

1) I’ve been commissioned to write the biography of theatre organist George Wright (who played at the P around 1950)…does anybody have stories, memorabilia/pictures concerning George’s time there?

2) A friend has acquired the studio Wurlitzer made famous by Jesse Crawford. We’re restoring it and installing it in a private hall in California. Looking for studio blueprints, pictures, news articles, etc. Any help/suggestions GREATLY appreciated! -Bill

robboehm on January 31, 2014 at 11:15 am

Among the 16th anniversary presentations was “The Road to Morocco”, November 11, 1942. See photo.

Cimarron on March 18, 2014 at 7:49 pm

1920’s Pic of Paramount Theater, Office Building added to Photo Section.

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