Long Island University
(formerly the Brooklyn Paramount)
1 University Plaza (corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(across from Junior's Restaurant)
Wurlitzer 4/26 Publix Style #4
Owned and maintained by LIU and NYTOS
The Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University is built around the former Brooklyn Paramount theatre. The theatre itself was been turned into the arena for the University's NCAA men's and women's Blackbirds basketball teams. Recently, a new gym has been built at a new location, which now leaves the Paramount gym more as a practice court and general purpose arena used by the University for many events including conferences, lectures, graduations and banquets.
Wurlitzer Opus 1984 was shipped from the Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda on June 30,1928. Designated a Publix #4, with 26 ranks, it was crafted to deliver the same tonal effect as the 4/36 Wurlitzer in the Times Square Paramount but at lower cost. The organ was opened by Henry Murtagh. He played the then popular ballad, The Stars Are The Windows Of Heaven, while the Wilfred color lighting system changed the color of the entire theatre to a deep purple. Then Murtagh presented A Trip Thru The Organ – a feature that many organists depended on in those days when an instrument made its debut. Since then such console stars as Mr. & Mrs. Jesse Crawford (for whom a second "slave" console was added), Stuart Barrie, Don Baker, Elsie Thomson, Dick Leibert, and Bob Mack have been featured. Gymnastic equipment now sits on the stage where Rudy Vallee, Maria Gamberelli, Ginger Rogers and Nancy Carroll once played, but the organ – with half an acre of plush seats and several miles of heavy brocade draperies removed – sounds out now like it never did before.
About the Brooklyn Paramount
For the true movie palace buff it is difficult, even today, to refer to the Brooklyn Paramount as the basketball court of Long Island University. There s still enough of the original grandeur visible to see why audiences in 1928 considered it the most beautiful motion picture theatre in the world. It opened on November 23,1928, with Nancy Carroll in Manhattan Cocktail as "Paramount-Publix's Gift to Brooklyn" and closed its doors to movie-goers on August 21, 1962, with John Wayne in Hatari. The Brooklyn Paramount was the capstone in the career of the noted architects, Rapp & Rapp, and for sheer opulence it outshone anything they ever designed. The great latticed ceiling and arches along the side walls were originally festooned with artificial foliage; the arches concealed the lights of the Wilfred Color Organ, a lighting system that subtly changed the color of the whole theatre to suit the mood of the moment. Chorus girls pranced down the golden staircases from the organ grilles to the stage. The 4,500 seats (making it the second largest theatre in New York when it opened) were upholstered in random tones that ranged from plum to scarlet. Below the stupendous grand drapery of the proscenium arch hung a midnight-blue velvet curtain embroidered with pheasants in polychrome satin.
View the Paramount Building (LIU Brooklyn Campus) on Google Map