Paris Theatre

550 Washington Avenue,
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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David_Schneider on October 6, 2020 at 1:49 pm

This article from the August 17th, 2020 Miami Herald says the Paris Theater will next become a restaurant:

“Movie house. Nightclub. Adult Cinema. Video Studio. What’s Next for the Paris Theater?”

Here’s a article including some discussion of the theater’s remaining historic elements and renderings of the new concept:

“Preservation Board to Consider Planned Renovations and ‘Supper Club’ Proposal for Historic Paris Theater”

This website promoting the current incarnation of the venue says “In the ’90s, when Miami’s fashion and film industries were riding high, artists such as Madonna, U2, J. Lo, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Martin shot album covers and music videos there. Major photographers such as Helmut Newton, Herb Ritz, Patrick Demarchelier, and Bruce Weber shot campaigns for major fashion magazines and world renowned fashion designers using supermodels of the era to create their content.”

rivest266 on January 28, 2020 at 5:20 pm

This reopened on October 13th, 1961 as “The New Paris” with an adult triple bill program. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on January 25, 2020 at 6:20 pm

The Variety theatre opened on June 20th, 1946 with Alfred Hitchcock’s “Suspicion”. Grand opening ads posted.

PhillipPessar on February 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm

A recent photo of the Paris Theater.
View link

jeffsfonts on March 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Ed Claughton (whose family owned the chain) said that the Variety was referred to as “Claughton’s Folly” because of how soon after WWII his father opened the theater – presumably when the economy had not yet rebounded from the war…

Claughton Theaters also owned the Embassy and Royal Theaters on SE 1st Stret in downtown Miami. They were closed, sold and torn down around 1959 for new construction.

In the late 1940’s, Claughton inked a deal with the late Ed Taigman (a former mayor of North Miami) to build a theater behind his wraparound retail property on NE 125th Street and NE 6th Avenue in North Maimi… however, that deal never gelled. A Walgreen Drug Store sits on that corner now.

CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I think they have things fixed; try the link again, If not go to and put ‘Paris Theater’ in the search box; then scroll down on the response to the Recent News box on the left – the article begins “Historic theater could get second…”

CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I think the Miami Herald is having site problems because I now get an error handling message which is not what you or AlAlvarez were getting. Their home page isn’t working either. Perhaps the link will work later.

CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

I just checked it, both by clicking on it and pasting it in two different browsers and it worked without a “membership required” screen coming up in either.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 23, 2009 at 3:59 am


According to this web page, architect Henry Hohauser was a cousin of architect William Hohauser and had worked in his New York office before moving to Miami in 1932.

CSWalczak on December 23, 2009 at 1:27 am

Here is an article about what is going on currently in, and what is being planned for, the former Paris Theater:

kencmcintyre on April 5, 2009 at 12:01 am

Here is a 1981 photo. Looks like two screens.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

The Variety indeed did open in 1946. In 1961 it reinvented itself as the Paris and switched over to “nudie” pictures full time. It eventually went to full porn.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 6, 2008 at 3:26 pm

The Marty Kaplan I knew owned an ad agency that did advertising and PR for Warner Bros. and those topless faux-French flesh and feather reviews that played in high class Miami Beach Hotel ballrooms in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. He may have also represented talent.

The Paramount Antitrust case had ruled that companies such as Loews and Paramount (Publix, then ABC Florida State Theatres)could not build or buy new theatres first getting without government approval as they had been monopolizing the industry. This put them at a disadvantage in lucrative growing markets such as South Florida where new theatres deals were still hot.

Marty would build the theatres, open them and then sell them off once the courts approved. I don’t know who fronted the cash or whether there were behind the scenes contracts. I do know he was well liked and respected in the industry. I don’t know whether he was the same man associated with the Paris.

GrindhouseGuy on August 6, 2008 at 10:17 am

In re: Marty Caplan. Could be the same guy – don’t know anything more about him. Know more?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 6, 2008 at 9:36 am

Could this be a Marty Kaplan you are referring to? Was involved with building the Bay harbor and Plantation theatres?

GrindhouseGuy on August 6, 2008 at 8:47 am

The exterior of the Variety Theatre c. 1960 is visible, by the way, several minutes into Doris Wishman’s second feature film, Nude on the Moon. A drive-by shot shows part of the neighborhood as well as the theater’s marquee advertising her first feature film, Hideout in the Sun (which premiered there in January 1960). Hideout in the Sun – a nudist film – ran at the Variety for at least 10 weeks according to the film’s pressbook.

GrindhouseGuy on August 6, 2008 at 8:40 am

I’m hoping folks out there have more info on the Paris during its Variety years. Pre-1961, the Variety was owned/operated, I’ve been told in interviews, by brothers Jack and/or Martin (“Marty”) Caplan. It is also possible that a David Caplan (another brother?) was involved. The Caplan family reportedly owned other theaters in Florida and perhaps elsewhere in the South. Sisters named Marietta and Leila (sp?) were also involved. The Variety premiered exploitation filmmaker Doris Wishman’s first feature, Hideout in the Sun in January 1960. Variety – the entertainment industry newspaper – reported on 20 January 1960 that the opening week of Hideout produced “the biggest single week’s take in the 14-year history of the house” (placing its opening – if correct – around 1946). Variety Theatre, Inc. – presumably the Caplan family’s firm – was incorporated in the State of Florida in November 1956 and dissolved in April 1961 (around the time the Variety became the Paris, as per a previous poster). I would like to know if anyone out there knows more about the Caplan family or can direct me to other resources on the early history of the Variety/Paris, especially in Miami newspapers of the time.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 4, 2008 at 7:40 pm

This became the Paris in 1961.

miamiguy on July 31, 2008 at 2:10 pm

During the last 25 minutes of the movie “Bad Boys” there’s a chase scene where they run through an all-white building passed a couple of model photo shoots. That whole sequence shows the current interior of the Paris Theatre.

When they first come through the front doors, you can see where the owners have built office space over the left (camera-left) two-thirds of the inclined walkway that leads up into the main theatre lobby. The next scene is a very brief look at the main lobby itself.

Except for the office space up front, the entire building was basically gutted and painted white for photo production work.

Harvey on March 24, 2008 at 1:53 am

Okay, right theater.

Miami Herald, The (FL) – June 8, 1984
Author: PAUL SHANNON Herald Staff Writer

He is a South Beach preacher who calls himself John 3:16 Cook, and he believes his lot in life is to be persecuted.

When his days as a rhinestone-studded street preacher in St. Petersburg ended in scandal and the city shuttered his Skid Row missions, he blamed persecution.

He blamed it again when his son committed suicide in a city jail cell in the late 1970s, and when a judge ordered him to stop preaching for five years.

Today, John 3:16 Cook knows exactly why Miami Beach fire inspectors want to shut down the old X-rated movie theater where the marquee proclaims: “Soup, soap and hope — Rated G.” It’s persecution, he says.

“I get into something and they climb on me. I knew they were going to try and stop me somehow. They always do,” he said. “But I only take orders from God.”

“It is a hazardous place,” William Miller, Beach fire prevention chief, said of the mission that opened eight days ago. Miller’s inspectors cited the theater, the Paris at 550 Washington Ave., for broken exit signs, lack of emergency lighting and exits blocked by rows of old seats and posters advertising pornographic movies.

If there was a fire, people asleep on cots or seated in the small chapel would be trapped, Miller said. He has asked the city’s Code Enforcement Department to turn off power and water to the theater.

“We’re going to close it,” confirmed Daniel Skubish, the city’s code enforcement director.

Cook is defiant. “They can’t stop me. I’ll bring 500 people in here for my Sunday service and they’ll all have candles,” he says.

As a preacher, Cook has never been one to shy away from a scrap with authorities. A onetime B-movie actor, Cook says, he found the Lord in the late 1960s, legally changed his name to add the biblical verse John 3:16 and stitched the numbers onto his rhinestone and satin outfits.

The passage, Cook’s favorite, ends: “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Like his friend Lash LaRue — who turned preacher after what the Film Encyclopedia called a “brief and unmemorable” career portraying a whip-wielding cowboy — Cook toured on the South’s tent revival circuit.

After a few years, he settled in St. Petersburg. He opened thrift shops and rescue missions for alcoholics, and drove around in a Cadillac. “I lived high at night to escape Skid Row,” he says.

He immediately ran into trouble with the city, which he says cited him for code violations in his missions. He fought back, but says that his ardor was dampened when he was convicted of drunken driving.

Then, five years ago, Cook was accused of stealing money
from his son’s trust fund. The son, who Cook says was a drug addict, committed suicide in a jail cell while the trial was pending, and Cook’s wife ran off to Oklahoma with his three daughters.

For most of the five years that Cook was on probation, he sold a product that killed fleas and ticks on pets. Cook says he even toyed with the idea of changing his name to John Canine.

That ended abruptly two weeks ago, when Cook says God visited his small Georgia farm and told him to start a mission in South Miami Beach. He forsook his rhinestones for a dark suit with a priest’s collar and picked out the Paris Theater , its cavernous interior littered with posters and empty film reels.

“This is a combat zone,” he says.

As far as the city inspectors are concerned, Cook will have to do his preaching on the street until the code violations are fixed. Increasing the danger of a fire are bare wires and corroded connections on lights throughout the theater, they said. The candle on the pulpit Cook erected next to the screen shouldn’t be lit, inspectors said.

“They can’t stop me,” Cook warns. “These people need someone to help them.”

To make his point, he rushes out and grabs an elderly, bearded man passed out with a quart of malt liquor in the doorway of Irish Mike’s Bar.

“The cops will get you here, come on,” he urges, and drags the man to his tiny apartment behind the theater.

The man sits, looking bewildered, as Cook brushes his hair, towels him off and slips a clean shirt on him. Edward Lawrence’s only comment comes when he is handed a baloney sandwich on whole wheat.

“Hey, that’s pretty good, Pops,” he says.

“This man is a baby, he’s a little pup. He is beyond caring for himself,” Cook shouts, prompting a call for quiet from another apartment. Raising his voice, he adds, “I am willing to do it for him.”
Caption: photo: John 3:16 Cook with Edward Lawrence in doorway of deserted business

Harvey on March 24, 2008 at 1:46 am

Oh hell, wrong theater.

Harvey on March 24, 2008 at 1:43 am


Miami Herald, The (FL) – June 26, 1989
Author: DAVID ZEMAN Herald Staff Writer

For more than a decade, the Roosevelt Theater has leered lasciviously at passing motorists as they slide across the Julia Tuttle Causeway into Miami Beach’s business district.

But the adult movie theater closed with scarcely a whimper this month, canceling — perhaps forever — the South Florida showing of Seven Minutes in Heaven.

Merchants along 41st Street wonder what took so long.

“In two years here, I don’t think I saw a half-dozen people go into that theater,” said Paul Steinberg, a lawyer who works across the street.

His figures do not include the lawyers in his office who used to jokingly don raincoats when they crossed the road for popcorn. Only for popcorn.

It’s hard to conceive that the same theater that bowed out with sex romps was originally called the Lemonade Theater when it opened in 1949 because free lemonade was served during intermission. The Roosevelt showed first-run movies then and even put on plays before converting to “adult” flicks about 15 years ago.

Yet even its detractors concede that the sex palace has become a part of the local fabric.

Thomas Coltrane, who runs a realty office next door, said the theater has guided many customers to his otherwise nondescript office.

“A 75-year-old lady once called me and said, ‘I just can’t imagine how to get to your place,’ ” said Coltrane. “I told her we were right next to the dirty movie theater. She said, ‘Oh, I know exactly where you are.’ ”

The marquee has been empty since building owner Ted Konover bought out the lease from the theater’s operator, Irwin Knohl, the first week in June. Konover, who purchased the building in 1985, and Knohl both refused to be interviewed.

However, Steinberg said Konover has shown him plans to build a restaurant, stores and offices where the Roosevelt stands abandoned at 770 41st St.

Peeking inside the fingerprint-smudged glass doors, visitors can still ogle the posters promoting coming attractions.

There’s the sentimental Legend of Lady Blue, a movie “for those who still remember the first time”; Satin Suite, a “film” that won the praise of Hustler’s discerning art critic; and a medical docudrama, The Naughty Nurse.

Rabbi Gary Glickstein of nearby Temple Beth Sholom recalled when the Roosevelt began promoting Debbie Does Dallas two days before the temple was to host an Israeli Independence Day festival in 1975.

Panicky elders from the temple prevailed on the Roosevelt to delay the ad campaign for a week.

“It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to Arthur Godfrey Road in the last 10 years,” said Steinberg of the closing. “This is the gateway to Miami Beach and the business district. To have a large marquee advertising triple X-rated movies is not the first impression you want people to have.”

The Roosevelt might have fallen victim to a take-out mentality, said Joe Bueno, manager of Video Variety in Miami Beach. Bueno said adult movies make up 50 percent of his store’s weekend rentals.

JKane on July 12, 2006 at 6:38 pm

Quite a coincidence—we went on virtually the same theater “photo safari” in May 2006, shooting the Roosevelt, Cameo, Paris, former Surf and Normandy & other MB theaters! Fascinating info on the Roosevelt—pretty steep rent, though. Never heard of the Tropics theater—where is that located?

woody on May 18, 2006 at 3:21 am

more recent shots of this stunning building (my favorite tropical deco cinema), including a lobby shot

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woody on October 3, 2005 at 7:22 am

here are a couple of shots of this terrific deco building I took a couple of years ago

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