Paris Theatre

550 Washington Avenue,
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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Paris Theatre Miami Beach

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The Variety Theatre was designed by Miami Beach architect Henry Hohauser and opened in 1946. It was run by a small Florida chain named Claughton. I believe they had about a half dozen theatres in the greater Miami area. It was located in the South Beach district of Miami Beach (Washington Avenue and 5th Street). I remember the theatre in the 1950’s. They booked mostly RKO and Republic films.

I was only in that house once as a child, so I don’t remember much about it other than it having a big lobby area and a clock (oddly enough) to the right of the screen which I found to be annoying. Eventually Claughton dropped this theatre as well as the rest of their chain of theatres.

In the 1970’s it became the Paris Theatre, first playing nudist films, then switching to porn. After sitting empty for a decade, purportedly it became a video/film production studio.

Contributed by Bob

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on August 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

The Marty Kaplan I knew owned an ad agency that did advertising and PR for Warner Bros. and those topless faux-French flesh and feather reviews that played in high class Miami Beach Hotel ballrooms in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. He may have also represented talent.

The Paramount Antitrust case had ruled that companies such as Loews and Paramount (Publix, then ABC Florida State Theatres)could not build or buy new theatres first getting without government approval as they had been monopolizing the industry. This put them at a disadvantage in lucrative growing markets such as South Florida where new theatres deals were still hot.

Marty would build the theatres, open them and then sell them off once the courts approved. I don’t know who fronted the cash or whether there were behind the scenes contracts. I do know he was well liked and respected in the industry. I don’t know whether he was the same man associated with the Paris.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 28, 2009 at 8:27 am

The Variety indeed did open in 1946. In 1961 it reinvented itself as the Paris and switched over to “nudie” pictures full time. It eventually went to full porn.

http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/94504501

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Here is a 1981 photo. Looks like two screens.
http://tinyurl.com/djun6m

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 22, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Here is an article about what is going on currently in, and what is being planned for, the former Paris Theater: http://www.miamiherald.com/488/story/1393080.html

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 22, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Here.

According to this web page, architect Henry Hohauser was a cousin of architect William Hohauser and had worked in his New York office before moving to Miami in 1932.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 7:46 am

I just checked it, both by clicking on it and pasting it in two different browsers and it worked without a “membership required” screen coming up in either.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 12:19 pm

I think the Miami Herald is having site problems because I now get an error handling message which is not what you or AlAlvarez were getting. Their home page isn’t working either. Perhaps the link will work later.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I think they have things fixed; try the link again, If not go to
http://www.miamiherald.com and put ‘Paris Theater’ in the search box; then scroll down on the response to the Recent News box on the left – the article begins “Historic theater could get second…”

jeffsfonts
jeffsfonts on March 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Ed Claughton (whose family owned the chain) said that the Variety was referred to as “Claughton’s Folly” because of how soon after WWII his father opened the theater – presumably when the economy had not yet rebounded from the war…

Claughton Theaters also owned the Embassy and Royal Theaters on SE 1st Stret in downtown Miami. They were closed, sold and torn down around 1959 for new construction.

In the late 1940’s, Claughton inked a deal with the late Ed Taigman (a former mayor of North Miami) to build a theater behind his wraparound retail property on NE 125th Street and NE 6th Avenue in North Maimi… however, that deal never gelled. A Walgreen Drug Store sits on that corner now.

PhillipPessar
PhillipPessar on February 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

A recent photo of the Paris Theater.
View link

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