Saturday, January 12

Paramount Theatre Continued

Along with a rich history, the Paramount Theatre brings everything from Broadway to Flogging Molly to Seattle.

(The Paramount as it is today.)

It was originally called the Seattle Theatre but the name later changed to reflect its origins.

(The original name on the marquee.)

Back in the roaring twenties, Hollywood based Paramount Pictures constructed "grand movie palaces" in most major cities in the United States. Seattle was no exception. They invested nearly $3,000,000 and had celebrated movie palace architect, and local, Benjamin Marcus Priteca design it.

The architecturally lush interior of the building has played host to vaudeville, silent films, "talkies," and live performances for over 77 years in the Paciffic Northwest.

(An old photo of the theatre.)

Prior to construction the land was a ravine with a creek running to Lake Union and was considered remote (today it's in the heart of downtown). The land was filled in and to compensate for the out of way location they built the most opulent theatre yet to hit Seattle.



(The grandiose lobby.)

On opening day, the Seattle Times excitedly reported:

"Never has such a magnificent cathedral of entertainment been given over to the public. Indescribable beauty! Incomparable art! The stage productions will be of the most lavish design, brilliant in their lighting effects and gorgeous in their settings."



(People used to line up to eight people deep outside the theatre.)

It temporarily closed during The Great Depression but re-opened with subsequently nationally acclaimed organist Gaylord B. Carter.

Amongst the stars who have graced its stage were the Marx Brothers, John Barrymore, Danny Kaye, Anne Baxter, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mickey Rooney.

(The sparkling chandeliers and interior.)

One of its many notable moments was on August 14, 1945 when the house manager stopped the showing of Humphrey Bogart's film, To Have and Have Not, to announce the end of WWII, then distributing free passes for a future showing. Bruce Lee even worked there as an usher once upon a time.

(Inside the theatre before show time.)

Later day musical performances ran the gamut from Duke Ellington to Fleetwood Mac to Madonna.

(The dome above the darkened theatre, note the actually quite large chandelier on the bottom right for a sense of scale.)

(Above the stage.)

(To the right of the stage.)

(Gilded balcony seating.)




(The glitzy historic atrium.)

It's resplendently golden interior evokes the Palaces of Versailles and brings to mind the sparkle of a bygone era. It is a bastion of luxurious civility that reminds us of what was, what is, and what can be.

Today the gorgeously renovated theatre is a shining example of Seattle's past and, hopefully, a gilded glimpse into its future.



(All color images created and owned by Krista Carson, please ask permission prior to use, Black and White images and historical information via STG Presents)





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