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The Paramount

 3300 Washington Avenue, Newport News, VA

THEN: NOW: Fire Station
1955 - Courtesy of
This site courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 03/11/03
Thanks, Dave!
Anchor, p. Friday, November 14, 2003 - Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/14/03
Thanks, Dave!

"It's no big deal, but I do have a memory of 'The Paramount, Elvis and Me'. At the time, I was not of 'legal' age to be by myself, so I had a 'babysitter' in the afternoon after school for a bit. Boy, acknowledging that really hurts a 'macho man' such as I was! I was around 8-10 years old and my mother had a teenage girl in the neighborhood 'watch after me' until she could get home from work.

 "As a reward for the 'babysitter', my mother took her and me to the Paramount Theater to see this new 'Rock and Roll' phenom that was 'beginning' to sweep the country. I think he had released 1 or 2 records by then and was gaining popularity very quickly. He was appearing 'live', with some others, on stage at the Paramount. Remember, the Paramount had a stage?

 "To say the least the place was filled with adoring teenage girls screaming to the top of their lungs. I didn't quite understand it? So, we get to the end of the concert, and as my mother usually did, we waited until the theater was nearly empty before we left. We go out through the front doors, take a right toward 34th Street to head to the bus stop at 34th and Huntington to catch a bus home. I'll add here, if you recall, beside the theater and attached restaurant, on the corner of 34th and Washington, was an open lot with a cab stand. There was no building there at that time and you could clearly see to the back walkway behind the Paramount.

 "To make a short story longer, as we left the theater, I noticed a huge group of people, again mostly teenage girls, across the street, spilling onto Washington Avenue in front of Patrick and Silk's. Remember that place? I asked what that was about and was told that 'some' of the 'singers' were going over there to sign autographs.

 "Taking a right at 34th, headed toward Huntington, I noticed 3 guys come out of the back of the Paramount and head toward Washington Avenue in our direction. Turning around to see what all the noise was about across the street at Patrick and Silk's, I kept walking ahead looking backward toward the noise. The next thing I know I've 'run into' one of those guys who patted me on the head and said something to the effect of, 'Be careful there, big guy' or something to that effect. My babysitter says, 'Do you know what you just did?', to which I replied with something like, 'I didn't mean it'.

 "She says (and again I'm paraphrasing), 'No, no, it's OK! You just ran into Elvis Presley!'. To which I'm sure I must have said something like, 'Who's that?'. She quickly spread the word around North End of my encounter with Elvis, and for a couple of weeks every teenage girl in North End wanted to 'touch' the kid that had 'run into Elvis!'. But, the fame was fleeting, as fame usually is, and soon I returned to being nobody.

 "There you have it, 'The Paramount, Elvis and Me', a true story.

"Next, sometime, I'll have to tell you about Marlon Brando's version of Mutiny on the Bounty."

- Wayne Stokes of VA - 05/22/03
WOW!!!  Thanks, Wayne!


Wayne's Elvis story reminds me of one of my own. 
While not nearly so exciting or dramatic, the fact that it has remained in my head
all these many years is a sign of the impact it had on me at the time.

   Mama and Eleanor and I had gone to see "Love Me Tender" at the Paramount. 
I just checked the release date, and it was on November 15, 1956, so it was sometime shortly after that. 
Suffice to say that I was nine years old, and it was a very chilly night.

"Love Me Tender" is, of course, a tear-jerker, culminating with Elvis' death, and I emerged from the theater crying bitterly. 
The frosty air was freezing the tears as they fell on my cheeks. 
Mama told Eleanor and me (if I was nine, Eleanor was 15) to wait outside while she went to get the car for us. 
Unfortunately, I just couldn't stop crying.  I cried and cried and cried.

There was a young good-looking soldier standing nearby in his uniform. 
He took pity on me, and took a tissue and wiped my tears.
I was deeply touched by his considerate gesture to a little girl he didn't even know.

And y'all wonder why I'm such a sucker for a man in uniform!

- Carol Buckley Harty of NC - 05/22/03

(This image enlarges.)

This great piece of memorabilia courtesy of Janice McCain Rose of VA - 05/30/03
Thanks, Janice!

Reviewing the "now" photos of our old beloved theaters brought forth two thoughts -
well, more than that but only two that I can share!
One is a question, the shot of the "now" Paramount Theater (Fire Station)
appears to be on the corner of 34th & Washington, right?
The theater was more toward 33rd.  No big deal!  It's the same area.

- Wayne Stokes of VA - 11/18/03
Thanks, Wayne!

Sparkling Theater Lights gif courtesy of

Paramount Studios Theme wav courtesy of - 11/18/03

Return to NNHS Class of 1965