News Column

Paramount celebrates 85 years

August 13, 2014

By Kelly Dickey, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

Aug. 13--ANDERSON -- The doors first opened on Aug. 20, 1929. Eighty-five years later, the Paramount Theatre Centre and Ballroom is having a double celebration with three events this week.

The historic building is celebrating its 85th birthday with a concert, old films and a dance. Gayle Jones Burris, executive director, said this year also marks 25 years since construction for its restoration began, making this anniversary extra special.

"It's kind of like one of those once-in-a-lifetime family reunions where everybody shows up," she said.

The three-night celebration starts Thursday with "An Evening with the Gaither Vocal Band." Bill Gaither and his gospel group will return to the Paramount for a benefit concert at 7 p.m.

Tickets are also available to have dinner in the Hardacre Ballroom with the band prior to the concert and for a meet and greet after party.

Doors for dinner with the Gaither Vocal Band will open at 4 p.m. and the meal will be served at 5 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m. and the meet and greet at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets for the dinner, concert and after party are $125; "Gold Circle Seats" for rows J through M and the after party are $75, orchestra seating for rows N through R, without admission to the dinner or after party, are $50; main floor seating for rows S through EE, without admission to the dinner or after party, are $40, upper balcony, without admission to the dinner or after party, are $30 and after party admission costs $15.

As of Monday, Jones Burris said tickets in each price range are still available.

The festivities will continue Friday with "A Night at the Movies a la 1929."

A 1929 newsreel, a silent cartoon and "The Saturday Night Kid," a 1929 romantic comedy about two sisters vying for the same man, will be played at the theater at 7:30 p.m.

Madison County Historian Steve Jackson will also narrate two Anderson-made films from the early 1900s. Jones Burris said she reached out to the Madison County Historical Society, which provided the two films, which will be played on a 16 mm projector.

Musician George Smith will also play the pipe organ along some of the films.

"I think you have to look at the history of the facility you're celebrating," Jones Burris said. "The Paramount was built as a silent movie house, so it only seemed natural."

Main floor tickets are $2, and tickets for seating in the mezzanine and balcony are $20.

Mezzanine and balcony ticketholders are encouraged to dress up period clothing, and they will also have access to hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

The celebration will conclude with dancing, drinks and birthday cake on Saturday.

The Larry Mechem Band will perform at the theater's 85th Birthday Dance at 8 p.m. in the Hardacre Ballroom. There will be birthday cake, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

Jones Burris said the band will play music from various decades, so there will be something for everybody. She encourages anyone who has taken dance lessons at the Paramount in the last 22 years, or anyone who misses dancing at the Elks should come.

Tickets for the dance are $20.

Jones Burris said all the events are a thank you to the community who has helped keep the theater's doors open throughout the years. She said she feels lucky to be able to celebrate 85 years.

Jones Burris said the community has offered support to the Paramount over the years, and her staff works hard to bring events to residents.

"A lot of people have memories of the Paramount growing up," she said. "We're hoping people will bring their families to share their memories and to make new ones."

Tickets for the events can be purchased 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday at the Paramount Box Office, by calling 642-1234 or anytime online at

Like Kelly Dickey on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KellyD_THB, or call 640-4805.

If you go What: An Evening with the Gaither Vocal Band When: 5 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. concert and 9:30 p.m. after-party Thursday Where: Paramount Theatre Centre, 1124 Meridian Plaza, Anderson Cost: $150 for dinner, concert and after-party; $75 for concert and after-party; $50 for orchestra seating; $40 for main floor; $30 for upper balcony and $15 for after-party. What: "A Night at the Movies a la 1929," featuring a newsreel, silent cartoon and "The Saturday Night Kid." When: 7:30 p.m. Friday Where: Paramount Theatre Cost: $2 for main floor and $20 for mezzanine and balcony What: 85th Birthday Dance When: 8 p.m. Saturday Where: Paramount Theatre, Hardacre Ballroom Cost: $20


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