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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Oakland in Alameda County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Paramount Theatre

 
 
Paramount Theatre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 1, 2012
1. Paramount Theatre Marker
Inscription. This is a superior rendering of the "Art Deco" or "Moderne" style of movie palace built during the rise of the motion picture industry. The Paramount, which opened on December 16, 1931, is the most ambitious theatre design of architect Timothy L. Pflueger. Restored in 1973, it has retained an exceptional unity of style.

California Registered Historical Landmark No. 884

Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Theatre Historical Society, December 16, 1976.
 
Erected 1976 by California State Department of Parks and Recreation, Theatre Historical Society. (Marker Number 884.)
 
Location. 37° 48.608′ N, 122° 16.103′ W. Marker is in Oakland, California, in Alameda County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway and 21st Street, on the left on Broadway. Touch for map. Although the theater has a Broadway Street address, the marker is found on 21st Street by the theater box office, not by the main entrance on Broadway. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2025 Broadway, Oakland CA 94612, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Latham Memorial Fountain Unveiled (approx. 0.3 miles away); 1946 General Strike
The Paramount Theatre was designated designated a National Historic Landmark... image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 1, 2012
2. The Paramount Theatre was designated designated a National Historic Landmark...
...on May 5, 1977.
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Oakland City Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of College of California (approx. half a mile away); Charles S. Greene Library (approx. half a mile away); First Unitarian Church of Oakland (approx. half a mile away); Preservation Park (approx. half a mile away); St. Augustine's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oakland.
 
Also see . . .
1. A Brief History of the Paramount Theatre. The Paramount's short history page: "... Construction was initiated by Publix Theatres, the exhibiting organization of Paramount Pictures. Although financial difficulties forced the sale of the uncompleted building to Fox-West Coast Theatres, the firm that completed the theatre and operated it until it closed on September 15, 1970, the name "Paramount" was retained. After its initial brief blaze of "movie palace" glory in the 1930's, this remarkable auditorium suffered three decades of neglect and decline until its rescue by the Oakland Symphony, the City of Oakland and numerous private donors....A
Paramount Theatre Marker - wide view image. Click for full size.
April 1, 2012
3. Paramount Theatre Marker - wide view
Although the theater has a Broadway address, the box office (and the marker) are located on the 21st Street side of the building. The marker is visible here to the right of the box office entranceway.
painstaking and authentic restoration was completed in 1973 and the theatre was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on August 14th of that year. In 1975 the City of Oakland, the present owner, assumed ownership from the Oakland Symphony Orchestra Association. The Paramount Theatre became a California Registered Historic Landmark in 1976, and on May 5, 1977, was declared a National Historic Landmark. Restored to its original splendor, meticulously maintained, and fully upgraded to modern technical standards, the Paramount now serves all the arts...."
(Submitted on April 2, 2012.) 

2. Theatre Historical Society of America. The Society's homepage for information on America's historical theaters. (Submitted on April 2, 2012.) 

3. Paramount Theatre. The Historical American Buildings Survey record for this building. Includes 50+ pages of data, as well as more than 30 photographs. (Submitted on April 2, 2012.) 
 
Categories. Entertainment
 
Dancing Figures, north side of Grand Foyer image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 31, 2012
4. Dancing Figures, north side of Grand Foyer
"Adding greater beauty and splendor to our city, standing as a magnificent tribute to its architects and builders, Oakland's new $3,000,000 Paramount Theatre will throw open its doors tomorrow night..." - Oakland Tribune, December 15, 1931.
Womens' Lounge, Lower Level image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 31, 2012
5. Womens' Lounge, Lower Level
"....[the] Paramount Theatre has a unity of style remarkable for any building, especially one conceived when novelty was the current rage. It is "moderne" only in the sense that it owes little to any past style, and it is not characterized by the abstract, geometric manner commonly associated with "Art Deco." Because it relies less on conventional "Art Deco" mannerisms than most buildings of its era, the Paramount now seems less dated than most of its contemporaries." - Paramount Theatre website.
Decorative Relief, Staircase image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 31, 2012
6. Decorative Relief, Staircase
The indirect ambient lighting, although dim, allows many of the relief figures to take on a delicate glow.
Fountain of Light - Grand Foyer image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein
7. Fountain of Light - Grand Foyer
Designed by Gerald Fitzgerald, the Fountain of Light is a nearly 35 foot high illuminated glass sculpture above the lobby entrance.
Proscenium, from the Balcony image. Click for full size.
By Gabriel Moulin Studios, 1932
8. Proscenium, from the Balcony
The decorative relief panels surrounding the proscenium and on the ceiling were designed by Robert Boardman Howard and Ralph Stackpole. Boardman also designed the panels on auditorium walls.
Auditorium Ceiling image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 31, 2012
9. Auditorium Ceiling
The auditorium ceiling is adorned with a ceiling grid. Although appearing solid under theatrical lighting, the grid is actually composed of a series of interconnected sheet metal strips, indirectly lit to give it a warm glow.
Paramount Theatre - view from southeast image. Click for full size.
By Jack Boucher, 1975
10. Paramount Theatre - view from southeast
The large scale mosaics that make up the front of the theater were designed by Gerald Fitzgerald, Theodore Bernardi, and Milton Pflueger (Thomas Pflueger's brother). The mosaics were assembled by Gladding McBean in Lincoln (Placer County).
Paramount Theatre - view from northeast image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 1, 2012
11. Paramount Theatre - view from northeast
Although it started out as a movie palace, meant to showcase movies and variety acts, the 3,000 seat theater today regularly hosts a variety of events - classic movies, ballet, lectures, live comedy, and musical performances from a variety of genres.
"They say the neon lights are bright On Broadway..." image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, March 31, 2012
12. "They say the neon lights are bright On Broadway..."
The Paramount Theatre is one of the finest remaining examples of Art Deco design in the United States. It was one of the first Depression-era buildings to incorporate and integrate the work of numerous creative artists into its architecture and is particularly note-worthy for its successful orchestration of the various artistic disciplines into an original and harmonious whole.... - Historic American Buildings Survey
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 2, 2012, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 699 times since then and 82 times this year. Last updated on December 20, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 2, 2012, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on April 3, 2012, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   12. submitted on April 2, 2012, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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