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View from the stage of the Paramount Theater
View from the stage of the historic Paramount Theater. Photo: David Lamb Photography, 1996

The Paramount Theater

Built in 1929 and restored in 1989, this historic Anderson landmark is one of only a few "atmospheric" theaters remaining in the United States. Believed to have been designed by famed theater architect John Eberson, its spectacular auditorium features a blue sky ceiling, twinkling stars and wispy clouds, projected onto the dome-shaped ceiling. Its ornate side walls create the ambiance of a Spanish courtyard.

In 1981, the building was in shambles, its owners in debt, and the county was about to demolish the theater. Committed to saving the building, the newly formed Paramount Heritage Foundation awarded the Conrad Schmitt Studios the task of restoration. Nearly exact replicas of lighting and fixtures, forty-one paint colors, and a fortune in gold leaf sheets were used to complete the renovation.

A separate restoration of the Grande Page Theatre Organ, valued at $500,000, was also undertaken. The Page organ is one of a few remaining in the United States in its original installation.

The 1,500-seat theater has featured great Hollywood films and renowned entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, the Mills Brothers, and the ventriloquist Max Terhune. The theater, which opened as a movie palace showing the Marx Brothers in Cocoanuts, has the second largest screen in Indiana. The theater also has a 7,000-square-foot ballroom on the third floor.

Documentation includes a text report, a video, postcards of elaborate theater interiors, and newspaper articles.

Originally submitted by: David M. McIntosh, Representative (2nd District).



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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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