In the late 1920’s the first “talking pictures” were produced in Hollywood and as part of their efforts to distribute their movies to as many viewers as possible Paramount Pictures began an ambitious program to build movie palaces in almost every major city in America. Seattle was included in this early expansion project and on March 1st, 1928 The Seattle Theater opened to the public. The Seattle Theater Group has a great webpage detailing the history of this beautiful building and I will let them tell you its stories here.
My memories of the Paramount begin in the 1980’s when I was in High School and lucky enough to borrow my parents car for 3 hour round trips to Seattle for concerts. We saw some great shows including Madonna’s premier of her Like A Virgin tour with The Beastie Boys, INXS, The Thompson Twins and David Bowie. My youngest brother still can’t believe I drove him and a friend to see George Thorogood and left them at the front door to have fun without supervision. They were 13 and pretty nervous about being alone in “the big city” but still smile today remembering that night 20+ years ago. Looking back, it would have been nice if we had stopped to look around and appreciate the beauty of the theater instead of being completely involved in the atmosphere of the concerts.
I love this old building and always look forward to seeing a new performance here. This weekend was my son’s first opportunity to experience The Paramount as a concert venue and what better way to continue the tradition than to see his heroes in action.
Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and their Discovery Channel tv show have been on constant rotation at my house for years and when they announced their tour stop in Seattle my brother made plans immediately for an early Birthday surprise. The show was a lot of fun and now Ryan has a great start to his own concert t-shirt collection.
6 thoughts on “The Paramount Theater”
Very interesting. There was a Paramount movie theater ( the only theater) in the small Texas town where I grew up. It closed sometime in the late 1970’s I believe. It had an incredible interior as in your photos with alcoves containing statues and a balcony section. The owner would sometimes come out onto the stage at front and say a few words about the movie then the curtains would be drawn to reveal the screen and the movie would begin.
Sounds like you have some great memories of your Paramount too! I wonder if they were built as part of the same expansion program.
Did we see the Psychedelic Furs at the Paramount too? To your essay though, good point throughout about taking the time to notice what’s around you. Seemingly simple but really challenging sometimes with so many demands on our time. When I grumble about the awkwardness of my office building, I try to stop myself and remember that it is, after all, a Carnegie Library building (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_library); just one that sadly hasn’t been remodeled well over the years. But it is, still, a historic structure that marks a significant era in the history of the US.
Oh, yes we did see the Psychedelic Furs. 🙂 I’m sure we will remember more…
I didn’t know your building was part of the Carnegie program!
Wicked theater! I love when you can find old pictures to go with new ones 🙂 Good job!
Thanks! It was a fun afternoon and I love the old pictures too. 🙂