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 497 comments)

wally 75
wally 75 on July 15, 2012 at 1:27 am

Soupy Sales was last to do rock show there..

BobbyS on August 2, 2012 at 6:10 am

A nice view of the Paramount’s flashing marquee in color in the movie “Stage Struck”. 1958 directed by Sidney Lumet starring Susan Strasberg. Just screened at Portage Theater in Chicago.

Lockjawal on January 14, 2013 at 6:37 am

I’m surprised nobody mentioned it or that it is not among the theatre listing, but there was another “Paramount Theatre” operated by Cinema 5 (Rugoff), during the early to late 70’s. This later incarnation was located on the corner of 60th St. & Broadway as part of the plaza of the then Gulf and Western Bldg (now Trump International). It had a unique design. The top area was a glass enclosed circular building containing the box office and theatre marquee. After purchasing your ticket, you took an escalator down to a subterranean level which housed the actual theatre and concession stands. I worked there in 1978 before moving over to The Plaza on 58th. Theatre was closed and disappeared while I was living abroad. Came back to see an empty spot where this theatre once stood. Worked many shows but the two that stand out are “Foul Play,” and “Up In Smoke.” I remember the long lines outside of it when “The Exorcist” was playing.

wally 75
wally 75 on January 14, 2013 at 7:06 am

Yes, I remember it..the walls looked like the inside of a poloroid [spell check if needed] camera..

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm

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

Vito on April 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm

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

BobFurmanek on April 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm

And glorious 4 channel Warnerphonic sound!

William L. Coale, Ph.D.
William L. Coale, Ph.D. on October 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm

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 7:15 pm

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

Cimarron on March 19, 2014 at 2:49 am

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

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