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Paramount Theater


1300 Ocean Avenue Asbury Park, NJ 07712

History of the Paramount Theater

There has been an overhaul of the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Guests may stroll to the theater from the nearby Asbury Park Convention Center through the boardwalk. Both locations are linked by a boardwalk arcade.

In 1916, Asbury Park Mayor Clarence E.F. Hetrick commissioned the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White to construct a convention center for the city. A $75,000 venue for 5,000 people was offered by the corporation. James A. Bradley, the city’s founder, was the owner of the contested property and had refused to sell it to the municipality.

After Bradley passed away in 1921, the site on which the Auditorium formerly stood was purchased by department store heir Arthur Steinbach, who promptly had it demolished to make way for the construction of the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel.

After the third Madison Square Garden opened in New York and the new Convention Hall in Atlantic City, Hetrick felt pressure to construct a comparable venue for Asbury Park. Voters passed a bond referendum to construct a conference center on the site of the former 5th Avenue Arcade, which had burned down the year before, east of Atlantic Square on the Boardwalk. For the 5th Avenue Arcade location, Hetrick contracted with Warren & Wetmore to construct a theater that could seat 1600 people.

There is a passageway leading from the theater to an arcade right on the water. Connected to a meeting facility with 3,200 seats was this arcade. The complex’s seaside location inspired its design, which combines Italian and French influences with elements inspired by the sea. An enormous gold, black, and purple rosette decorated the theater’s ceiling.

As the owner of four existing theaters in Asbury Park, Walter Reade was opposed to the construction of the new theater. The theater hired him before it even opened so he could schedule the movies. As a nod to Reade’s association with Paramount-Famous Players-Lasky, their theater is known as the Paramount.

Reade debuted the theater’s movie theater on January 1, 1930, with Wings. He premiered a second screening of Wings during a grand opening celebration on July 11, 1930. It included appearances by the Marx Brothers, Ginger Rogers, Ed Wynn, Fredric March, and Carole Lombard.

Notable Events at the Paramount Theater

In its heyday, between 1930 and 1980, the theater hosted both cinema and stage productions. In 1979, this theater with a capacity of 1,600 seats was added to the National Register.

In 1971, the theatre was used for the concert film Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, which featured the Stones performing during their 1971 tour.

The theatre remained in operation until 1978, when it was closed due to declining attendance and competition from other venues.

In 2004, the theatre was reopened after undergoing a $3.5 million restoration. Today, the theatre is used for music, comedy, and other special events.In 2011, the theatre was ranked #2 on the NJ.com list of “The 10 Best Places to See a Concert in New Jersey.”

In 2016, the theatre was ranked #7 on the NJ.com list of “The 10 Best Places to See a Concert in New Jersey.”

In 2017, the theatre was ranked #5 on the NJ.com list of “The 10 Best Places to See”

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