Paramount Theatre

76 Broadway,
Newport, RI 02840

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Front of the Paramount

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This first-run movie theatre in the heart of Newport closed in the 1950’s and is survived by the nearby Jane Pickens (Strand) and Opera House.

The building has been gutted and has been converted into apartments.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

NativeForestHiller
NativeForestHiller on July 22, 2007 at 7:43 am

Utilizing portions of the Paramount facade, and converting it into an apartment building, must have stirred up a controversy at the time. I would consider it an insult to Newport history & theater fans. This has to be one of Newport’s eyesores, which are few & far between. When was the conversion done? :(

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 22, 2007 at 10:28 am

The conversion was done in the early 1980s, I believe.

NativeForestHiller
NativeForestHiller on July 22, 2007 at 10:41 am

Thank you, Gerald, for your prompt reply! I live in NY & just returned from Newport. I would be interested in learning more about measures taken to preserve the character of Newport, in terms of its architectural history. Would you know how much of Newport is an official historic district?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 22, 2007 at 11:21 am

NativeForestHiller,
A good deal is being done. I cannot provide you with much in the way of figures or statistics, though it is clearly my observation in walking around the city a lot. I don’t live in Newport. I come from another part of RI and like to go there often, especially by ferry from Providence during the warm months. A good deal of the area called The Point, with its historic little houses, owes its survival to the efforts of the late Doris Duke (whose mansion Roughpoint is now open to the public). The Preservation Society of Newport might be of some assistance in learning about these issues if you were to connect with them.

NativeForestHiller
NativeForestHiller on July 23, 2007 at 1:03 am

Thank you, Gerald! My family & I joined the Preservation Society of Newport, and visited several prestigious mansions. We also toured the quaint Colonial streets, and the wharves. We were astonished! It’s a great obstacle to preserve sites in NYC lately. I will further explore Newport’s preservation strategies.

333mwv
333mwv on November 13, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Hello Gerald….I just wanted to thank you for the walk down memory lane. I grew up in Newport in the 50’s and remember going to the Paramount Theatre when I was little. And later as a teenager having a job at Cote’s Pharmacy right next door But it had closed by then and was vacant. Even then I was impressed with it’s beauty.It will always hold great memories for me. I do still visit it often as my mother has lived in the Paramount Building since it opened. She and my Dad were two of it’s first residents. Thanks again for the journey. N Brothers

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Item in Boxoffice magazine, November 28, 1942:

“Manager Jerry Wagner of the Paramount, Newport, took Lester the Great’s magic show to the naval training base for a special show armistice eve. The mysteryman did big business with his 11 p.m. performance at the Paramount the following night, a blindfold drive through Newport streets at noon that day proving an effective publicity stunt.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

Theatre for sale, item in Boxoffice magazine, July 10, 1961:

“The Paramount Theatre building in Newport went on the auction block July 8, when the movie house, described as fully equipped and ready to operate, was offered for sale. It has a seating capacity of 1,200. The 22,987 square-foot property also includes five income-producing stores in the building, located at 70-80 Broadway.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Item in Boxoffice magazine, May 18, 1946:

Increased Staff Reopens Paramount in Newport
NEWPORT, R.I. – After being closed for renovation and redecorating, the Paramount has reopened under its new lessee, the Zeitz Theatres of Rhode Island. It has a continuous run from 1 to 11 p.m. withh three changes of program a week. The other two theatres [Strand and Opera House] of the city run continuously only on weekends with two changes a week.

The Paramount lobby and marquee have been painted. The latter is now lighted with 2,000 lamps. The foyer has been recarpeted. New projecting machines have been installed and the booth has been refitted. The lobby and foyer have new display boards with mirror frames.

Joseph Viera of Fall River, Mass., has been appointed manager and is being assisted at present by Carl Zeitz from the home office of the new operating company in New Bedford, Mass. Richard Stevenson is doorman. Fred Lewis, operator ever since the theatre was built, still is there with three assistants, two more than previously; Barbara Harel (?) and Geraldine Carrigan (?) are the new cashiers, June Flohr (?), Dolores Johnson, Dorothy Oakham and Catherine Smith are usherettes.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

The Paramount Theatre reopened with the moved-over staff and management of the Colonial Theatre in 1940, with the Colonial closing for good and becoming a Newberry store. This was reported by Boxoffice magazine in its issue of April 27, 1940.

“E. M. Loew circuit took over operation of the Paramount, Newport, with manager Gerald G. Wagner and his entire staff at the Colonial moving to the Paramount. Colonial, occupied by Loew for the past two years has been sold to Miss Ruth L. Weiss of Boston and is scheduled to be torn down and replaced with a new $45,000 store for J. J. Newberry Co. According to Wagner, the same policy maintained at the Colonial will be continued at the Paramount; dual subsequent run features with added vaudeville on Sundays.”

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