02/21/05 — Opinion: Paramount memories

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Opinion: Paramount memories

By Gene Price
Published in News on February 21, 2005 2:01 PM

The burning of Paramount Theatre in Downtown Goldsboro brought more tears than those shed by the smoke-filled eyes of our good firefighters who tried to save the historic structure.

Memories of many were recorded in Sunday's News-Argus. And surely tears streaked the make-up of our talented young people preparing to perform there this very week.

An important part of "Old Goldsboro" left us in the flames and smoke early Saturday morning.

But the memories will endure.

Virginia Garrison of Mount Olive -- she was the young Virginia Modlin of Goldsboro at the time -- treasures her original Social Security Card, signed by Paramount Manager Frank Remsburg. That allowed her to play the piano during the Saturday matinee. She was paid $1.

Actually, she received 96 cents. The other 4 cents went for Social Security. Which she has been receiving for the last few years.

Dan Ward also had a most memorable experience at the Paramount. It too was at a Saturday matinee. During a break, the first lines of a popular melody were played. The first youngster in the audience to "Name That Tune" would win that week's prize.

Dan, perhaps 11 or 12 at the time, was the winner.

He scampered to the stage where he was met and congratulated by the theatre manager. Frank Remsburg began dropping the silver dollars in the pockets of Dan's pants. The trousers happened to be held up only by a band of elastic in the waste.

Dan doesn't recall just how much the prize was. "But it was a lot of money for a young'un!" he assured me.

So much so that the weight of the silver dollars was too much for the elastic holding up his britches.

He heard a muffled "clunk" and an uproarious howl from the other youngsters in the audience.

When Dan looked down, his newly realized windfall of wealth - and his pants - were in an embarrassing pile around his ankles.

And that was on the stage of the Paramount...that went up in smoke early Saturday. Destroying everything but the great memories.