Paramount Theatre

218 Yu Yuan Lu,
Shanghai

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Paramount Theater in October of 2011

Viewing: Photo | Street View

According to a short item in the weekly travel section of The New York Times, the newly reopened Paramount is “An Art Deco marvel with wild neon lights, offering ballroom dancing and an atmosphere that is a throwback to the 1930’s”. Elsewhere, I found that the Paramount Theatre is the work of Chinese architect Yang Ximiao.

The theatre opened in 1932, and was followed a year later by the debut of a separate Paramount Ballroom in the same building. After WWII, the Communist government took control and changed the name to Hongdu (Red Capital) Cinema. By the 1990’s, the decaying building seemed destined for demolition, but it was finally purchased by Taiwanese entrepeneur Zhao Shichong, who has been restoring it to its former glory.

More information about the Paramount Theatre’s history, including the seating capacity, would be appreciated.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Suwanti
Suwanti on July 30, 2005 at 12:02 am

I think it was a mistake.

The Paramount Ballroom opened on 14th December,1933,and the ballroom building did not had a cinema.

RobertBurger
RobertBurger on December 7, 2005 at 4:09 am

An interesting old tourist guide book from Shanghai (http://www.talesofoldchina.com/library/allaboutshanghai/t-all08.htm) from 1934, does not list the Paramount as cinema:

“THEATRES
For its theatrical entertainment Shanghai is largely dependent on motion pictures and there are a number of first class cinema houses showing the best of the American, British, German, French and Chinese productions. They are all equipped for sound.
Excellent stage plays are produced at frequent intervals by local associations of amateurs, and touring companies are occasionally here for limited engagements. But in the main going to the theatre in Shanghai means going to the "talkies."
Among the first class cinemas are:
Carlton – 2 Park Road
Cathay – 868 Avenue Joffre
Embassy – 742 Bubbling Well Road
Grand – 216 Bubbling Well Road
Lyceum – Rtes. Bourgeat and Cardinal Mercier
Metropol – 500 Thibet Road
Nanking – 523 Avenue Edward VII
Strand – 586 Ningpo Road”

In 1995, there was a small cinema in the Paramount building, with ca. 300 seats. It was rather modern and seemed to have been added to the building just recently. It did not survive a long time. Now the Paramount building contains a large dancing hall and a club room.

jeffg718
jeffg718 on August 13, 2006 at 5:24 am

Here are some recent pictures I took of the Paramount.
View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 13, 2007 at 7:48 am

Here is a recent view of the Paramount Theater at night.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 26, 2007 at 4:34 pm

This is another recent photo of the Paramount Theater.

irishcine
irishcine on October 11, 2011 at 1:42 am

Although it looks very like a purpose built cinema from the outside, the Paramount was indeed built as a ballroom initially.

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