So I read this heartbreaking post about all of the things that Indianapolis used to have but doesn’t anymore. So many of the things that were mentioned used to be on my side of town and if you have ever watched a once great area succumb to a world of Dollar General Stores and Pawn shops, then you feel my pain.
Out of all of the entities mentioned in the piece, the one that stands out the most for me was the Paramount Music Palace. (Yes, I know this is the second “pizza” post I have done…don’t judge me! LOL) This place was really something. I remember going there the first time with my parents and grandparents who promised that this place boasted good pizza an a lot of organ music.
Now, you have to understand, my grandparents owned an “organ” that I played whenever I visited…and when they told me that this organ would “rise up” I had some kind of levitation act in mind. I had no clue what I was in for. Somehow we ended up arriving at the perfect time. The organ was nowhere in sight. We ordered our pizza and found a seat on the floor level and suddenly the lights went down and…WOW! The Mighty Wurlitzer rose out of this pit and the entire place sprang to life! This was no ordinary organ! This thing was the entire building! A lot of the music played was old-timey Americana tunes that my grandparents seemed to know every word to, but every once in a while, the organist would play something very familiar. Believe me, there was nothing greater than hearing the Imperial fanfare to Star Wars blare out from the horn section located above the mezzanine. (Unless of course it was sitting your grandma under them and scaring her half to death!)
On Saturday nights, if you were still there late into the evening, they showed old Laurel and Hardy movies (sometimes with musical accompaniment). Not only did I go there with my parents and other family members, but I also went there for school field trips and with my friends. My oldest son even went there once and I can still see him dancing to “Under the Sea.”
The organ was eventually relocated to Florida and installed into a similar pizza place, but the recession forced that entity to close as well and the organ remains in storage. There are a number of people who would like to see it return to Indianapolis, but it’s unlikely to happen. Still, it is a reminder that once upon a time, not so long ago, this side of town was not the wasteland it has turned into in recent years. Here’s hoping that someone in the near future will take notice that there are people who want to see quality stores and restaurants come to this area and would support those businesses and perhaps then, the Eastside will ride high again!