On the Upbeat, Positively Carolan

Surprise!

One of the most amazing and unexpected thrills of my life occurred many years ago. The city of Portland had tried to buy the historic Paramount Theater on Broadway that started life in the 1920’s as an ornate movie and vaudeville palace and in 1974 was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

This was a wonderful 2000-seat venue, and along with the Seattle Paramount was African-American owned and happily block-booking solid live acts at reasonable prices. So they didn’t want to sell their theater.

Well, the city wanted it in the worst way as part of their new Downtown Performing Arts Center. And when in 1983 they instituted condemnation proceedings, I’d had it. I wrote Letters to Editors of the Oregonian and television stations. I wrote the City Council. And I talked to anyone who would listen. All to no avail, I’m sorry to say.

But soon after the deed was done, I was driving up Broadway and as always glanced at the Paramount marquee. And to my astonishment, the final posting on that marquee was a thank you to moi …

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Oh and when I was in high school I twirled batons on that big beautiful stage!

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