1950s car in front of a theatre marquee

1952 Chevy Styleline Outside the Paramount Theatre, 1956

Considered a “picture palace” before it was even constructed, the Paramount Theatre was one of the premier playhouses in the history of Glens Falls. As one of the largest cinemas in Northern New York, it had a seating capacity of 1,250. This was really something for the time. Designed by Thomas Foss of the Thompson-Starret firm of New York City, the theatre had an estimated cost of $175,000.

Occupying the corner of Ridge St. and Maple, the Paramount was built of brick and steel. Two sets of double doors on the exterior led into the lobby, and from there another set of doors led to the foyer. A large, illuminated dome greeted visitors, and the ceiling and walls were decorated with paintings and plaster ornamentation. The grand interior included a second-floor balcony positioned over the foyer, which could seat 360 people. Since supports were not needed, there was nothing to obstruct any views.

Along with a spacious orchestra pit which could accommodate 35 musicians, a pipe organ was installed. It was installed on a platform that could be raised and lowered in what was called a “disappearing” design. These features could be used for other forms of entertainment, allowing the theatre to offer a wide range of activities to the public.

When it opened on January 22, 1932, the Glens Falls Paramount was newest in the Publix Theatres Company nationwide chain. The management couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout for the premier showing. The house was packed to capacity with over five hundred people turned away. Local officials, including the mayor, celebrated the newest addition to Glens Falls entertainment.

The reaction from the public was that of awe. Luxurious and comfortable furniture greeted them at every turn. The soft lighting highlighted the rich fabrics and hues of rose, green, and gold. Silk damask drapes were hung in the doorways and the seats were upholstered in a brocade design.

Unfortunately, by 1977, it had fallen on hard times and was subsisting by showing adult films. It closed by mid-June of 1978 and was purchased by Kamyr, Inc. Although it was briefly considered for use by the Glens Falls Operetta Club and the Lake George Opera Festival, the idea was tabled when it was determined there was not enough space for the necessities of theatrical performances. By August of 1979, it had been torn down as Kamyr expanded its operations.

CM 2019.5.14