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Throwback Thursday: Stanwyck, Crosby, Anna May Wong

by Leonard Maltin
July 17, 2014 12:00 AM
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Paramount Theater Ad (1932) 680

Talkies, we’re told, killed vaudeville, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in this ad from April of 1932 where Paramount promotes its all-star stage shows as much as the main feature starring Barbara Stanwyck. And look at those lineups, at both the Times Square and Brooklyn Paramount movie palaces! Doors opened at 10:30, which meant that patrons could arrive in the morning, pay a reduced admission price, and stay all day if they chose, through several performances. It was no picnic for the performers, however, who had to do their acts four or five times a day. The New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall reviewed both the film and the Manhattan stage show, noting, “There is a glamorous spectacle called ‘Springtime in the Orient’ wherein the clever Anna May Wong appears. She sings in Chinese and recites in English. Walter O’Keefe, as the master of ceremonies, furnishes a good deal of amusement.” No mention of Crosby at all! (His breakthrough feature, The Big Broadcast, wouldn’t be released until that fall.)

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  • Jerry Beck | July 17, 2014 8:09 PMReply

    Interesting that it's a Columbia Picture that's on the bill. Love these old movie ads!

  • Terry Bigham | July 17, 2014 3:57 PMReply

    I know about the Times Square Paramount (Cornell Woolrich mentioned it in his "Deadline At Dawn") but I never knew Brooklyn had a Paramount! Wong, Crosby, and Burns and Allen all starred in Paramount features, of course. After his stage career, Jessel produced such movies as "Nightmare Alley" and wrote such books as "Elegy In Manhattan".

  • mike schlesinger | July 18, 2014 6:57 PM

    The Paramount, Brooklyn was the home of many of Alan Freed's legendary rock 'n' roll shows. It's the setting for the latter half of the wonderful Freed biopic "American Hot Wax" (though it was actually filmed here in L.A. at the Wiltern).

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