In the second such instance, Civic Video has taken up residence in a former cinema. This time, the Paramount Theatre of South Hurstville continues to provide movies to the public through the video chain. Let’s take a closer look.
The Paramount was built in 1934, joining a sister cinema at Mortdale (since demolished) and only four other picture theatres in the Kogarah/Hurstville region: the Odeon at Carlton, the Oatley Radio, the Hurstville Savoy and the Kogarah Victory being the others. It’s a pretty damn big building, with a seating capacity of 1,100 when it was built. In 1950, that old vaudeville villain Hoyts (boo, hiss) bought the theatre and renamed it the Hoyts. Sounds much better too, doesn’t it? Hoyts closed the theatre in 1959 (I’m growing more and more convinced there was some kind of Hoyts conspiracy to buy up the suburban cinemas in order to get people to head into the city). Hoyts made sure that a covenant in the sales contract ensured the building could never again be used as a cinema.
Since 1959 it’s been used as a recreation centre, a supermarket and a giant Civic. In the last ten years as video shops have declined, Civic has cut down on its floorspace, sharing with a Subway, a newsagent, a Curves gym and some kind of computer shop out the back. Cramming more into less space isn’t just a residential thing anymore.
CRUSTY UPDATE: Here’s a look at the Paramount in its heyday courtesy of reader Carmen. Thanks!
Doing its best to hide its 70s facade behind 21st century bleating that ‘it’s all about YOU’ is Carlton’s Lifestyle Fitness Centre. Sometime around the turn of the last decade, public consciousness as a whole decided that going to a ‘gym’ was suddenly either retro or gay, but attending a ‘lifestyle fitness centre’ was the new yoga.
The Pacific Gym (formerly the Odeon and later, DeLuxe, Theatre from 1925-1964), not wanting to be branded retro or gay, caved to the peer pressure and started catering to lunch-break athletes and muscle-monkeys from all over the St. George district. That said, I could be completely wrong, and they just have that Pacific Gym roof mural on a standard escape-proof gym membership plan.
UPDATE: The Pacific through the ages. Here it is in 1939…
…and finally, 1970.
Really makes you realise just how ugly that gym is.