Paramount Theatre

505-507 Cherry Street,
Helena, AR 72342

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Malco Theatres Inc., Paramount Pictures Inc., Publix-Saenger, Saenger Amusement Company

Functions: Office Space

Styles: Spanish Colonial

Previous Names: Jewel Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Paramount Theatre

The Jewel Theatre was opened in 1915 and closed in 1927. It was remodeled and reopened on February 26, 1931 as the 800-seat Paramount Theatre, with Nancy Caroll in “Stolen Heaven”. It was closed in 1969.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 30, 2014 at 1:28 am

A pamphlet with information about historic buildings in Helena (PDF here) says that the Paramount Theatre opened ca. 1920 as the Jewell Theatre and was originally operated by Saenger Amusements. The Jewel Theatre (with one “l”) was mentioned in the July 13, 1918, issue of Exhibitors Herald and Motography on a list of houses served by the United Picture Theatres of American booking syndicate.

The January 15, 1924, issue of The Film Daily reported that the Jewel Theatre in Helena was being remodeled. The name was changed to Paramount sometime between then and 1931, when the May 20 issue of The Film Daily reported that the Paramount Theatre in Helena, Arkansas, had been sold to Malco Theatre by Publix. An earlier issue had said that Publix was selling both the Paramount and the Pastime Theatres in Helena.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 30, 2014 at 1:33 am

The Paramount has not been demolished. It was in the building with the beige brick front and a bit of Spanish Colonial Revival detailing, next to the grassy lot on the corner of Righter Street. It is occupied by a facility of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.

HelenaNative on September 3, 2015 at 9:00 am


Thank you for this info. I have seen photos of the Paramount and the Pastime Theatres and wondered where they once stood. I uploaded the photo of the Paramount and have one of the Pastime. These photos were taken from a local Helena historical photo book.

For some reason, your photo of the building that was once the Paramount vanished when I uploaded this photo. I will take a photo of the building as it now exists and upload it.

Do you know the address where the Pastime once stood?

50sSNIPES on August 25, 2023 at 4:32 pm

The Jewel Theatre opened in 1915 and closed in 1927. The building for the Jewel Theatre was located next door to the Saenger Theatre which opened in 1923 with a 900-seat capacity (600 in main auditorium and 300 in balcony) by Mr. B.W. Bickert who also operated the Jewel.

After the neighboring Saenger Theatre closed in 1930, Mrs. B.J. Bruen leased the building to the Publix Theatre Corporation on July 17, 1930 said earlier that morning that nothing had been done toward letting the contract. She said however that representatives of the Publix Theater Corporation would be in Helena within the following days. The bulletin came in question was the building formerly occupied by the Jewel Theater. After the Saenger interests were taken over by the Publix Theater Corporation, the building was condemned by artchitects of the new owners and plans of extensive remodeling were announced featuring new equipment, both to cost in the neighborhood of $75,000. This will eventually call the theater the Paramount Theatre.

The theater reopened its doors as the Paramount Theatre on February 26, 1931 with Nancy Carroll in “Stolen Heaven” along with an educational comedy reel, a musical novelty, and Paramount News.

Information about the Paramount Theatre goes as follows: The lobby and entrance vestibule featured multiple colors on tiles. From the lobby which runs into the entrance to the inner foyer, there were stairways with plenty of room for people, and numerous exits were installed which allow the audience to leave within three minutes after showing. The interior was decorative as “Art Moderne”, with magnificent plastic decorations with deep carpets and tapestries which were hung in all parts of the theater. On the main floor featured smoking and waiting rooms as well. The main auditorium as of 1931 has an original capacity of 800 seats (which were later eventually downgrade to 743 by the end of its operation).

In May 1965, the Paramount Theatre closed for a time following a problem with their air conditioner. And on October 21, 1965, the Paramount Theatre made a major schedule change to only operate on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. At the time, it was operated by Gene Boggs.

The Paramount Theatre closed for the final time in 1969.

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