Preservation salvation at old Paris Cinema
Au revoir to dubious sign of past
WORCESTER, MA — It might be the perfect accent piece for a home bar, a game room or a basement recreation center.
But buyer beware.
You're going to need a lot of space.
The Paris Cinema sign that sits above the former marquee space at the long-vacant downtown movie house has been donated to Preservation Worcester and the nonprofit hopes to sell it at the organization's annual salvage event.
Deborah Packard, Preservation Worcester's executive director, said officials at the Mayo Group, which owns the Paris Cinema building on Franklin Street, offered the sign free of charge at a recent corporate breakfast that was sponsored by Preservation Worcester.
Ms. Packard said she's not sure what the sign is worth, but it might be of enough interest to a niche collector, who could find some use for it as an aesthetic piece.
Such items are often sold at antique and collectibles shows.
The market for the sign, however, might be narrow, given its size.
The sign actually comes in seven pieces, which now spread at least 30 feet across the second floor of the building's white painted, metal façade.
One piece showcases the word “Paris” in cursive blue lettering, with a red star serving as a dot to the “i.” The six other pieces — each about 6 feet high — are the letters that spell the word “CINEMA.”
Ms. Packard said she was told the sign will come down in about two weeks and it will be stored at the architectural garage on Harrison Street, where the salvage event will be held sometime in the fall.
Preservation Worcester officials didn't know how much was specifically raised at last year's event, which featured items such as doorknobs, mantels, old wood doors, stained glass and furniture. But they said it was between $5,000 and $8,000.
The Paris Cinema has been listed on Preservation Worcester's Most Endangered Structures List.
For years, the Paris maintained a seedy reputation because of its X-rated screening rooms and racy bookstore and video shop.
But before it became an adult entertainment center, the Paris, built as the Capitol Theater in 1925, was considered to be one of the so-called “palace theaters” that were designed by big theater chains to make the everyday person feel like royalty.
The theaters, for example, had elaborate lounges, imposing lobbies, and lavish interiors that were very often adorned with European antiquities.
The Capitol's inside, for example, was designed to resemble an open-air Spanish amphitheater.
Doc here... Wouldn't this sign make a great addition to your man cave. Right next to your Schlitz neon bar sign, could be The Paris.
Thanks to Tomkat (on the prowl) for the article, which was published in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette on March 16th, 2012.