“The first "talking picture" theater in Ashland”
The Paramount was one of the first transitional theatres built for "talking pictures" and was to be a model theatre for others around the country to showcase films produced by Paramount Studios. The Depression, however, soon changed the course of events for this wonderful lady. Paramount wanted to scrap the project altogether. The plans were picked up by an Ashland-based company with Paramount craftsmen providing the interior furnishings - and the building was then leased to Paramount Publix Corporation. Because of the change in plans, the original design was scaled back by one third. Had the depression not caused a redesign, the Paramount would actually be three times as large! The Paramount Arts Center is said to be haunted by a ghost locals call Paramount Joe. According to Joe’s legend, as the theater was being built, four workmen were in the auditorium. Three went to lunch, and when they came back, they found the fourth dead, hanging from the curtain rigging. Joe is said to make himself known by cold drafts, missing objects, strange sounds, and on occasion an apparition. Folks at the center have many stories about Joe, one of which involves country star Billy Ray Cyrus, who filmed his “Achy Breaky Heart” video there. Billy Ray was said to have chatted with Joe and gotten his advice during breaks. When he left, Billy Ray gave autographed posters to all the female staff, and also left one for Joe. All the posters were hung on the wall, as was the custom of the center. But as time went on and more and more autographed posters filled the wall, staff were asked to remove their Billy Ray ones, since there were so many, all alike. None of the staff wanted to remove theirs, so instead they removed Joe’s. The next day, so the stories go, all the other Billy Ray posters were strewn about the floor, many with their frames shattered as if someone wiped them all off the walls. Now, Paramount Joe’s Billy Ray poster hangs in a special place in the building, in what is now Paramount Joe’s Rising Star Café.
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Paramount Arts Center
- Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sat: 1:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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