Paramount Theatre

258 Yazoo Avenue,
Clarksdale, MS 38614

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., Paramount-Publix, Saenger Amusement Company

Architects: John Gaisford

Previous Names: Marion Theatre, Larry Thompson Center for the Performing Arts

Nearby Theaters

Paramount Theatre...Clarksdale Mississippi

The Marion Theatre opened on April 22, 1918 on Yazoo Avenue in Clarksdale. The theatre was designed by John Gaisford and one of the first theatres in the area to be built mainly for showing movies. On August 4, 1930 it was renamed Paramount Theatre and later in 1930 it was acquired by the Saenger Amusements chain. It continued to operate as a movie house for over three more decades.

By the time it closed on October 28, 1976, it had been twinned. In 1986, the Paramount Theatre was taken over by a group that used the theatre for performing arts, and was renamed the Larry Thompson Center for the Performing Arts. The theatre seems to have been used on and off since the 1990’s and is currently closed.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm

The April 15, 1922, issue of The American Contractor carried a notice saying that Memphis architect R. B. Spencer was preparing plans for the rebuilding of a burned theater for the Marion Theater Company at Clarksdale, Mississippi. The project was to cost $75,000.

SethG on October 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Street view is wrong, because the address is wrong (maybe 258?). Theater is at the other end of the block, and the old Paramount marquee is visible (as of 2013 at least) after being covered by a sheet metal shroud for years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Looking at the back of the Paramount in the street view from 3rd Street, it’s possible to see that a corner of the parapet wall of the auditorium has collapsed. Checking the Internet, I found that part of the roof collapsed almost five years ago, and the interior damage to the auditorium is shown in this photo from the January 3, 2013, issue of the Clarksdale Press Register.

The caption says that a local developer was acquiring the building and intended to have it open by the end of the year, but I can’t find anything more recent about the project so I would assume it remains unaccomplished. But neither is there anything about a demolition of the building, so I’d assume it’s still standing, if only barely.

Judging from street and satellite views, the Paramount has a large stage house— no wider than the auditorium, but surprisingly deep. It could be a good venue for live events. However, Clarksdale is not a large or prosperous city. The 2010 census gave it a population of 17,962, and the estimate of the population in 2016 was only 16,272.

A shrinking city with a straitened economy is unlikely to be able to manage the restoration of a large theater on its own, let alone support its use with solely local custom. In the absence of an outside angel coming to the rescue, with both funds and a plan to mount shows that would attract patrons from far and wide, the future does not look bright for the Paramount.

SethG on October 7, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Comparing the pictures I took in 2010, you can see that a lot of the windows have been replaced in the McWilliams building (taller structure on the right side). Hopefully work will continue. Seems a lot of new restaurants, etc. have opened since I was there. I did notice that some of the wall had crumbled, and I’m surprised at how much damage it caused.

Zanteeh on June 5, 2018 at 11:28 pm

I didn’t knew this site but came across you trying to find out the history of the place I’d seen on a recent trip.

Thank you for the info! I’ve added a recent pic I took. It was late and I just shot it from the car hand-held, I wish I had stopped for more pics

50sSNIPES on October 10, 2023 at 1:53 pm

The Marion Theatre opened its doors on April 22, 1918 with a sporting event (which would later become a movie theater). The Marion became the Paramount Theatre on August 4, 1930, reopening with Joan Crawford in “Our Blushing Brides” along with the Our Gang short “Railroadin'” and a Universal Newsreel (listed as “Graham McNamee Newscasting Latest News”), when it was acquired by the Saenger chain that same year.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.