Lost but not forgotten
Located at 153 West 50th Street, NY, NY. Built and made famous by Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel. Built in 1926, the Roxy housed 3 Kimball Organs with 5 console. Kimball built the 5 manual console only for this theatre. Along with 2 slave consoles on either side of the 5 manual, the organ was unique in that it spoke out from under the stage as part of the orchestra. The second organ was a roll player 2 manual organ that was located in the lobby and the third was the 2 manual Kimbal in the Radio Studio, upstairs above the theatre. Visit the Roxy 5 Manual console
(left: Interior of the Roxy, right: Roxy at the massive 5 manual Kimball)
Below is what the Roxy looks like today
The sister theatre to our Brooklyn Paramount (LIU), this theatre was located in Times Square in Manhattan between 43rd and 44th Street. The theatre housed a beautiful 4/36 Wurlitzer. The organ still lives on. Click here for more info on the organ
(left: Exterior of the Paramount 1940's, right: Jessie Crawford at the Wurlitzer)
The Paramount as is looks today
The Brooklyn Paramount
The Paramount Theater is a former movie palace located at 385 Flatbush Avenue on the corner of DeKalb Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, New York. The building, built in 1928 by Paramount pictures, was designed by the Chicago theater architect team Rapp and Rapp. The theater was the first designed for talking pictures, or movies with sound. A sister theater, the Paramount Theater (New York City) is located in Times Square, Manhattan. The rococo-designed theater had 4,084 seats covered in burgundy velvet, with a ceiling painted with clouds. A 60-foot stage curtain was decorated with satin-embroidered pheasants, along with huge chandeliers and fountains with goldfish.
According to anthropology professor Michael Hittman, “while the Brooklyn Paramount is remembered as a popular movie house and early home of rock ‘n’ roll, it is a little known fact that it helped introduce Brooklyn to jazz, with artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.” Duke Ellington first played at the Paramount in 1931. In the 1950s, Alan Freed’s rock ‘n’ roll shows played at the theater, with acts including Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. Buddy Holly played a show in September, 1957. When Alan Freed fell victim of the payola scandal, TV host Clay Cole continued the ten-day holiday show tradition, in shows produced by Sid Bernstein. The first, Clay Cole's Christmas Show broke all existing attendance records with a show featuring Ray Charles, Bobby Rydell, Brenda Lee, Neil Sedaka, Johnny Burnett,The Delicates, Kathy Young, Dion, Bobby Vinton, Bo Diddley, Chubby Checker, Bobby Vee and groups, the Drifters, Coasters, Shirelles, and Little Anthony & The Imperials. The last live rock 'n' roll stage show at The Brooklyn Paramount was "Clay Cole's Easter Parade of Stars" headlining Jackie Wilson and an all-star cast. Then the legendary theatre was shuttered. The General Manager of the theatre was Eugene Pleshette, father of the actress Suzanne Pleshette.
The theater was bought by Long Island University in 1960 and converted into its current use as a gymnasium for Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, in 1962.
The Wurlitzer organ in the Brooklyn Paramount is second in size to the organ at Radio City Music Hall. It has 2,000 pipes and 257 stops, and continues to be used at LIU sporting events. More info on LIU
The Brooklyn Paramount as it looks today
More to come...