The Paramount Theater

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The Paramount Theater

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The Paramount Theater (formerly known as The Majestic Theater) is one of Austin’s oldest venues and a large part of the capital city’s heritage.
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What everyone knows

Most people know that the Paramount Theater is a fancy and nostalgic venue to catch a new movie’s premiere, or a classic movie; a stand up comedy act or even a love music performance. However, they might not know the history of this grand theater that dates over 100 years.

What they don't tell you

Here is an interesting fact for you. In 1974, the Paramount’s original fire curtain was discovered hanging in the rafters. Fortunately, it was protected from light and other elements - for over 50 years – and found in pristine condition! It very well could possibly be the oldest remaining original fire curtain in the country. Of course, it still hangs in the theater today.

Do it like a local

Whether it’s your favorite comedian, a classic film, or one of your favorite musicians go to the Paramount Theater to be a member of the audience. Be sure to take in the fancy and ornate interior design of this century old illustrious theater.

For the History Buffs

The Paramount Theater is Austin’s original performing arts venue that has stood the test of time. The four-story theater was designed in a classical revival style by architect John Eberson, and built by Ernest Nalle. For over 100 years, it has entertained Austinites with performances from Harry Houdini and Katharine Hepburn, to Don Rickles and Anthony Bourdain. Even President Barack Obama graced the historic theater with his presence, in 2014, marking the first time a sitting President has adorned the Paramount’s stage. The theater was named for the movie studio Paramount Pictures who purchased the theater in 1930. Fifteen years earlier, it welcomed people through its doors as vaudeville house known as The Majestic Theater, in 1915, and had acts that included the Marx Brothers. It has presented numerous world premieres and continues to do so in partnership with the Austin Film Society, as well as the South by Southwest Festival and the Austin Film Festival. The Paramount has long been the most coveted spot in town for films both old and new. In addition to showcasing new films, the Paramount has also played host to the annual Summer Classic Film Series to support those patrons who like to take in a classic movie. With its historic architecture and devotion to 35mm and 70mm film exhibition, the Paramount remains the best venue in town for recapturing the illustrious ambience of cinema’s golden age. In 1975 the Paramount Theater switched from a for-profit business to a nonprofit, 501c organization in order to receive donations from the community to help with upcoming restoration efforts. In addition, property owner, Roberta Crenshaw, donated 50% of her ownership to the Paramount (a requirement for a proposed grant that facilitated the raising of the $2.2 million required for the restoration). On May 6, 1977, the Paramount was the scene of a state historical marker dedication. Two months later, it earned its spot on the National Register of Historic Places. During the late 1990’s, the Paramount began talks with the State Theater next door (which opened in 1935) to expand each organization’s role in the community and the arts. The Paramount and the State merged to form the Austin Theatre Alliance in 2000. In 2012, The Paramount creates and launches the nationally recognized Moontower Comedy Festival. In 2015, the theater embarked on an effort to recreate the signature 47 foot-tall blade sign that was taken down and lost in 1963 after the building's facade received a renovation. However, there were no known architectural or engineering plans for the original sign to use in its recreation. Fortunately, the designers analyzed old footage of the theatre that included the sign and on September 23, 2015, (the year marking 100 years as a theater) the blade sign was lit for the first time in over 50 years.
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