Paramount Theater

426 S. Salina Street,
Syracuse, NY 13202

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., RKO, Schine Circuit Inc., Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Thomas White Lamb, James A. Randall

Firms: Merrick & Randall

Previous Names: Temple Theater, RKO Schine Paramount Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Paramount Theatre exterior

The Temple Theater was opened on August 10 1914 with vaudeville, plus movies. It was designed by architectural firm Merrick & Randall. It had a seating capacity of 1,800, with 1,000 of them on the main orchestra floor. It was taken over by Publix in 1929 and they remodeled it to the plans of architect Thomas Lamb and was reopened on December 5, 1929 as the Paramount Theater, opening with Eddie Cantor in “Glorifying the American Girl”. It was later operated by Warner Bros and later RKO who involved Schine Theatres and it was renamed RKO Schine Paramount Theatre in fall of 1935 It was closed on April 15, 1967. It was demolished in August-October 1967 along with its neighbor, the RKO Keith’s Theater. Like the Keith’s, the Paramount Theater remained a first-run house until it closed.

Built before the Loew’s State Theater, the Paramount Theater, Thomas Lamb also designed the Loew’s State Theatre, RKO Keith’s Theatre and the Strand Theatre in Syracuse, but the Paramount Theater was not as large as those three. The Paramount Theater may also have been substantially modernized when it become the first Syracuse theater converted to CinemaScope in late-1953 presenting Richard Burton in “The Robe”.

Contributed by George

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

kencmcintyre on December 27, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Here is a December 23, 1953 ad from the Syracuse Herald Journal:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2012 at 5:25 am

From what I’ve been able to puzzle out from a number of fragments in a long list of sources, a theater called the Temple was built on this site by a William Cahill in 1914, and was designed by a local architect named James A. Randall. In the late 1920s, it was leased to the Schine circuit, and in 1929 it was either remodeled or rebuilt to plans by Thomas Lamb, and became the Paramount.

The office building in front of the theater was called the Cahill Block, and dated from 1913-1914. The Temple Theatre’s auditorium seated about 1,200, so at the very least it had to have been expanded if it was converted into the larger Paramount. At least one source implies, though doesn’t state explicitly, that the Temple was demolished and replaced, while other sources imply, but don’t explicitly state, that the Temple was only remodeled.

I’m hoping somebody will be able to come up with other sources that solve this puzzle. I’ve pretty much exhausted the sources available on the Internet.

GeorgeC on December 22, 2021 at 7:46 pm

Substantial information on Schine’s operations in Syracuse can be found in the 1947 US Supreme Court response to Schine Circuit’s request for a re-hearing (RE: the Federal court’s anti trust decision)

From the court’s summary of evidence and testimony, RKO had operated the Paramount since 1929 and possibly earlier

Appendix A pg 160: “At this time (1929) RKO was operating the Paramount and Keith theaters and Schine was operating the Eckel which it had acquired in 1927”

“During 1935 Schine and RKO formed a partnership and pooling arrangement of all their first run Syracuse theaters and first run product and organized the SKE Operating Company for this purpose. Shortly thereafter the SKE Operating Company acquired the Strand Theater lease from Warner”

The Federal court determined the Schine Circuit violated the Sherman Act. Schine operated 132 theaters in six states and the court required 58 be sold.

In Syracuse, the court required an end to the pooling agreement with RKO. But Schine was not required to sell the Eckel, the one theater it owned. Instead Schine was allowed to operate a second first run theater in Syracuse, a deal it completed in 1947.

The court doesn’t identify the second theater. But it had to be the Paramount, which along with the Eckel, were the only Syracuse theaters advertised as Schine’s from the late 1940’s through the mid 1960’s.

dallasmovietheaters on December 11, 2022 at 12:10 pm

The Temple Theatre launched on August 10, 1914 with a vaudeville-centric policy which also inserted films. The architects of the original were Merrick & Randall who created a Louis Seize styled venue. The 1,800 seat venue had 1,000 of its seats on the main floor with the remainder in the balcony and boxes.

Publix took on the theater at the expiry of its initial 15-year lease and reimagined it with talking pictures added to the programming policy. It relaunched December 10, 1929 as the Paramount Theatre with Eddie Cantor in “Glorifying the American Girl. The theater technically passed through Warner Bros. to RKO during its initial five years of operation.

At the conclusion of its five-year lease in 1934/5, Schine got involved with the venue and it became the RKO Schine Paramount in the Fall of 1935 - a mouthful. Schine would eventually have to divest itself of the Eckel for antitrust reasons. RKO dropped off of the operational ledger and Schine’s Paramount closed temporarily to install a Magic Mirror widescreen in 1953 to present CinemaScope titles beginning with “The Robe.” The Paramount appears to have closed April 15, 1967. It was bulldozed in August through October of 1967.

And contrary to the entry above which claims “there is little information on this theater,” there appears to be abundant information including every show ever booked at the Temple and the Paramount, every updating of the theater, each architect associated with the creation or updating of the venue, and even the contractors who installed the HVAC system.

GeorgeC on November 19, 2023 at 11:11 pm

dallasmovietheaters … would appreciate inks to all the information about the Syracuse Paramount.

Schine did not have to sell the Eckel. It remained a Schine theater until the early 1970s. At that time Schine ether sold or leased the theater and it was renamed the Biograph and ran hardcore porn.

Schine was found in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act (US vs Schine Circuit) Although Schine had to sell many of its theaters in NY state and Ohio, in Syracuse the court required Schine and RKO to end their pooling agreement. By ending the pooling agreement with RKO, Schine, which owed one first run, the Eckel, was allowed to purchase a second first run theater.* In 1947 the Paramount became Schine’s Paramount and was under the circuit’s control until it closed in 1967

  • See second to last entry, the link to Page 29
    See link to page 160 for details on the Schine - RKO pooling agreement in Syracuse
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