By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the Historic Paramount Theatre will show a classic film for each decade from the 1930s through the 1980s, and put on a production of the musical Smoky Joe’s Caf‚ this summer.
The theatre just finished its children’s production of Grease: The School Edition! along with the Abilene Performing Arts Company as part of its anniversary celebration.
Betty Hukill, executive director of the Paramount, has been working at the Paramount off and on since 1989 and said it has been exciting watching the theatre stand the test of time through the various transitions Abilene has made.
The Paramount was restored in 1986, the first building in downtown Abilene to be restored by the Abilene Preservation League, which will celebrate its anniversary at the theatre in April.
For the classic movie series, Hukill said the films were chosen out of the Academy Award winners throughout the years, the decades of the ’30s through the ’80s representing the opening of the Paramount through its restoration. It Happened One Night opens the series Feb. 11 representing the 1930s; Casablanca will air in March for the 1940s; Annie Get Your Gun, starring Howard Keel, whose widow and biographer will be on hand for the show, will air in April for the 1950s; The Sound of Music will air in September for the 1960s; The Godfather, Part II will air in October for the 1970s; and the series will end with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in November representing the 1980s.
Hukill said other films might be added throughout the year. She said she is looking forward to the year and the anniversary.
“I think it’s extremely exciting that the Paramount is still a vital part of the Abilene community,” Hukill said. “I’m really thrilled that the Paramount is still alive and kicking.”