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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • ABOUT PARIS, 1895

Hitler's Children: 1943

Hitler's Children: 1943

March 1943. "New York. A dairy truck on 44th Street." At the Paramount, a double bill where the distinction between "on screen" and "in person" matters, especially if you're Xavier Cugat. Photo by John Vachon. View full size.

 

Paramount marquee restoration

...was paid for by the World Wrestling Federation of all things. They had their restaurant there for a few years before moving out. Really good burgers and lots of rasslin' merchandise if you were into that sort of thing.

Let's Rock

In 1958, my friend Billy and I took the subway into Times Square. We saw The Allen Freed Rock and Roll show at the Paramont (it also was at the Brooklyn Fox). The show had a whose who of headliners at the time. His co-host was Murry the K (Kaufman). What a great time.

Finally, one of mine!

That's a 1941 Dodge Luxury Liner peeking out behind the truck, probably a coupe, with the uncommon factory turn signals and fog lights, plus a radio. It's a very fine, if somewhat mundane, car. Its flathead Six and Fluid-Drive transmission offer smooth, quiet, and may I say, leisurely, performance.

I guess Mr. Dunkel

was a real butter and egg man!

Special Added Attraction

My most vivid recollection of the Paramount Theatre was back in the early 1950s, they were showing the film "The Lemon Drop Kid". I was there with a few friends just killing time before cruising the Times Square area later that night looking for whatever. After the movie ended, the mighty organ could be heard as the stage rose up from its pit. I sort of remember Johnny Long as the band leader. An announcer introduced a special guest, Bob Hope. He was there to promote the film and he read the monologue that he would use on his radio show that week. It was better than the movie.

Slight Correction

The small marquee in the photograph was actually located on the north side of West 43rd Street just west of Seventh Avenue, not 44th Street. The stage door and the loading entrance was located on the south side West 44th Street, just west of Seventh Avenue

The Hard Rock marquee is a repro, the original having been destroyed when the building was converted to offices in the mid 60's. Not too shabby for a repro.

Samuel Dunkel & Co.

Samuel Dunkel & Co. and Sondra Egg Products Corp. were found guilty in 1943 of “conspiring to defraud the United States of approximately $650,000 by delivering under contracts with Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation about 650,000 pounds of rejected egg powder and falsely representing that it had been tested and found to comply with the terms and conditions of the contracts.” They were also convicted of conspiring “to defraud the United States by obtaining the payment of certain false claims.” The sentences included fines and jail time.

That's the side entrance of the Paramount

Paramount's main entrance was in the heart of Times Square on Broadway at the corner of W. 43rd Street. Opened in November 1926, it became one of the most famous theatres in the US. Xavier Cugat was in good company playing there. Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Eddy Duchin, Glenn Miller and Guy Lombardo all performed there at the height of their careers. Frank Sinatra, the Andrews Sisters and the Ink Spots sang there.

The 3,664-seat Paramount was originally owned by William Fox and contained one of the largest pipe organs the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, NY, ever built. It contained 36 sets of pipes and weighed in at around 33 tons. It still exists in the Century II Center in Wichita, Kansas.

The Paramount closed in 1966. The interior space was remodeled to accommodate various businesses. One of them, the Hard Rock Cafe, still uses the Paramount's massive marquee.

Xavier Cugat

That must have been a step down from the Waldorf-Astoria.

Cuchi-cuchi!

For those of a certain age, if you don't know what that means...you weren't really there!

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've seen "Hitler's Children." The star of this 1943 anti-Nazi gem is Bonita Granville, who later went on to produce the "Lassie" TV show. As a tiny one, I spent many a Sunday evening negotiating with my Dad over whose turn it was to watch "Maverick" or "Lassie," as they came on at the same time. I usually won.

Right in the district

It's not surprising that Dunkel's butter, egg and cheese business was located at 345 Greenwich Street, as that Tribeca address is in the heart of the old butter, egg and cheese wholesaling district. These products were known as "staples," a usage which lives on in a short street called Staple Street right around the corner from 345 Greenwich. At its peak in the 1930's the district was home to over 100 wholesale businesses with thousands of employees. It began to decline in the 1950's, though the last few wholesalers held on until the 1990's.

 
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