Shooting a Pilot

Paramount Interior Travel Channel 2 Travel Channel documentary

So a production team was at the theatre today shooting a pilot for the Travel Channel.  They hope to produce a series of shows about special theatres around the nation….their first pick was the Paramount in Austin.  I asked, Why us? and they told me that they had gotten an email from me inviting everyone to come see Diavolo last season.  In the email I explained that it was an extraordinarily beautiful show in an extraordinarily beautiful theatre.  They came to the show and agreed.

So a film crew of five spent several hours filming and interviewing me and our head custodian, Tony Johnson.   They also interviewed Peggy, one of our favorite ushers. I have no idea if the Travel Channel will air the pilot, but I will let you know when/if we hear something.  BTW – Tony and I didn’t look too shabby after the make-up artist finished with us.  Peggy always looks great.

So, I wanted to share some of the things we talked about during the filming…

The Paramount, built in 1915, was originally called The Majestic and was billed as “the theatre beautiful.”  It was designed by a famous theatre architect named John EbersonEberson is credited with popularizing a new style of theatre around the turn of the last century.  This new style of theatre was called an atmospheric theatre and the Austin Majestic was his very first attempt at the new style.  This genre of theater architecture sought to transport the patron into another time and place, to give the illusion of sitting in an exotic setting.

Eberson’s early commissions were traditional theatre designs, but, with the Austin Majestic (1916), and Dallas Majestic (1917), he began his shift to the atmospheric style. The Houston Majestic, his first truly “atmospheric”, opened in 1923.  Eberson’s design work was so popular that sketches and blueprints were stolen from his studio, and later appeared in other theatres by competing architects.  On a sad note, the Majestic in Houston was torn down several years ago. (BTW, the link to the Houston Majestic above takes you to a page that includes comments from people who remember that grand theatre – how sad that it is gone.) His Majestic in San Antonio  built in 1929 still stands, but the one in Austin is the one that started it all.

 I’ll post more about our theatre beautiful soon…

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One response to “Shooting a Pilot

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