A tribute to a local landmark, and an Abilene legend.
352 Cypress St
Abilene, TX 79601
Contact: George Levesque, 325-676-9620
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TCRbob
[Music] [Music] it's hours before showtime at the original Paramount Theater in downtown Abilene and one man is here long before the box office opens I just love this theater and I love movies Robert holiday is a fixture in this magnificent landmark from the Golden Age of Hollywood [Music] the theater opened in 1930 and I was born 1940 and I came here when I was three days old I went to lose every day of my life but see downtown we had about 15 theaters downtown but the Paramount was the flagship theater see these theaters were built during the Depression where people could escape looking at the incredible detail and design it's hard to believe how close this showplace came to being bulldozed the Paramount opened its doors to a grand celebration in 1930 it's a big day in Abilene through the years it was the motion picture Palace of the southwest but by the 1970s shopping malls and multiplex theaters pulled the public's attention away leaving the Paramount silent and dark until a generation later when a full restoration breathe new life into this landmark how you doing how y'all doing tonight how's your mama and though how y'all doing I sit out here and direct people to the concession the restrooms or many of them will come out and talk to me you know I was so shocked how many people inversing Searchers my druggist never seen my doctor has never seen it and it's considered to be the greatest Western ever made is this first time you've been here yeah oh here's the history of the theater and here's the opening date 34 the last 30 years mr. holiday hasn't missed a single movie here at the Paramount he sits in the lobby greeting every guest so many whereas students from 55 years of teaching high school and college English courses and film appreciation I love being down here I just you know as I said it has so many wonderful memories well hello there how are you doing I'm on my way down it can take three people to get me down there oh I'm gonna make it hopefully let's try to make it at one hour before curtain time Robert rises from his post these days with a little help and begins his walk to center stage you see Robert is served as the Paramount's film director for decades selecting only the motion picture classics tonight is what he considers the greatest western film ever made The Searchers featuring John and Wayne but before the show begins a little Hollywood history from the man who has spent his life coming to this theater good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the historic very historic Paramount Theater what you're gonna see tonight is the searchers and I had been shocked horrified and whatever to understand that people have never seen the searchers I don't know where in the world you people have been the greatest director in the history of Hollywood probably John Ford and John Wayne you remember you won his Academy Award for True Grit but he always said that I accept this for The Searchers he was nominated for the searchers I speak it's 6:30 talking about the director the cast and trivial things about John Wayne's character in this is called Ethan Edwards and later on he named his youngest son Ethan after the character in this particular film Natalie Wood was a high school senior when this was being made a lot of it comes from my memory because I know those films so well but I have notes that sort of gear me back to hit the most important parts but you know aren't we so lucky to still have this wonderful theater thanks thank all of you for coming here we go I think I can can I make it I never thought I'd ever be on a cane much less this dude oh he's playing the theme from The Searchers okay there we go I never see the movie I've always out here of course I've seen the movie a thousand times Robert means a lot to the theater in to Abilene tell me why he's a treasurer Robert doesn't get up here anymore he used to come up frequently but not anymore George Levesque is the executive director at the Paramount this place is just a showplace it's beautiful what they've done here and you don't see anything like this I want to see the last scene of this movie that's my favorite scene you know my all movie history just about the last scene I'm trying to get hints to the door some music and muffled dialogue tells Robert that the final scene is coming up he's been alone in the lobby for two hours and after a movie he's seen countless times comes to a close he can't help but get one last look at the final scene [Music] [Applause] thank you what you do oh I really do appreciate well thank you that's part of movie oh well bless you I needed to hear that thank y'all for coming thank you can you put into words what this this theater means to you well this was part of my education my background my live I love I'm still glad I can do it and I still love it downtown Abilene we're going to the movies means experiencing a classic from the Golden Age of Hollywood and it means a film historian will welcome you with little known anecdotes of actors and movie makers if this building is indeed a landmark then by all means its ambassador is the first one to arrive and among the last leave long after the final credits roll robert holidays name may have never been in lights on any marquee but his heart and soul have always been here at the Paramount Theater and I still feel even when I'm dead and gone that I feel like a pattern you'll be my spirit I hope will be remaining [Music] you