Modern conveniences are constantly making our lives easier, however it may come at a cost; losing some beautiful structures to history as they become abandoned places.
Paramount Theater Opened on October 11, 1886 as H.C. Miner’s Newark Theater. It was originally a vaudeville house managed by Hyde & Behman Amusement Co., a Brooklyn based theater management company. After H.C. Miner’s death in 1900, his surviving relatives retained ownership of the theater for several years until its sale in 1916 to Edward Speigel, the owner of the nearby Strand Theater. Speigel also purchased the building next to the theater with intent to use the space to expand the theater. To accomplish this he hired famed theater architect Thomas W. Lamb to do the alterations. In 1917, Thomas Lamb remodeled the theatre in an Adam style. The former Paramount Theater still boasts the vertical ‘Paramount’ sign, as well as the ‘Newark’ marquee. The Paramount Theater was closed on April 1, 1986. Although a retail store operated out of the former lobby until around April 2011, a store employee confirmed that behind the drop ceilings and walls remains much of the old theater, complete with stage area and balcony seating intact.
A vintage postcard view of the Newark Theatre in the 1890’s/1900’s, prior to its 1917 remodeling. Sweet past
How it’s nowadays
Victory Theatre, Holyoke, Massachusetts The stunning Victory Theatre opened in 1920 and began its days as a “combination house”, providing both live and film entertainment. It was a thriving venue for vaudeville (variety shows) and silent motion pictures until 1931 when it switched to an all-movie format, consistent with other old theatres that were adapted for cinema audiences.
Despite suffering fire damage in 1942, the single-screen Victory Theatre thrilled moviegoers for almost 60 years before the curtain fell in 1979. The stunning 1,680 seat Baroque theatre has remained empty ever since, but is set to reopen in 2012 following a major renovation, 33 years after its final closure.
Leow’s Kings Theatre, Brooklyn, New York The magnificent Leow’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn opened in 1929 and introduced several youngsters to film, including Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler who worked there as ushers. A $70 million renovation plan is currently underway, which will make Leow’s Kings the third largest theatre in New York City when it reopens.
Loew’s Majestic Theatre The Loew’s Majestic Theatre opened on November 4, 1922 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb in the Neo-Renaissance style, with frescoes of Italian formal gardens in the auditorium. The Majestic celebrated its opening with a special event. Eddie Cantor, a Broadway actor turned movie star headlined the show with a Parisian review titled “Make It Snappy.” Like most theaters of its day the Majestic used gimmicks to generate buzz about its films. During a 1935 screening of “Mark of the Vampire,” a woman was hired to scream and faint during the screening. She was then taken to a waiting ambulance (all part of the act).
The Majestic was sold, along with the Palace, to Loew’s Theatres Incorporated in 1934. Loew’s Theatre Inc. closed the Majestic theater in 1967, eventually selling the building in the early 1970s. Both theaters in the complex were reopened and closed several times before closing permanently in 1975. Today, the Majestic theater auditorium is used as a storage space for a local cabaret theater company.
Other lost-in-time theatres Detroit, Michigan Latham, New York