In October 1979, after the illustrious Paramount Theater had tried a short-lived second run as a dinner theatre ("Theatre Fabulous"), the decision came to raze the structure. Its sibling showcase, the Des Moines, had already been demolished 10 years earlier. Both places hosted the gigantic world premiere of "State Fair" in 1945, but the excitement had long since ebbed for the two giants of Grand Avenue.
Jerry Tormey has generously shared his SLR sequence of the Paramount's destruction, shown here in three excerpts. (I am busily sewing together all 23 pictures in After Effects to create a motion version.) Thanks, Jerry, for these amazing pictures.
Large crowds came downtown to witness the Paramount's final show--if you look closely at the first photo, you can see a line of spectators along the top of the building to the east, like all the surrounding buildings that afternoon. They all heeded the last call ever to be seen on the Paramount's ageing marquee: "COME SEE THE PARAMOUNT FALL DOWN".