It’s the return of Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount in downtown Seattle!

About three years ago, I noticed that film-score preservationist and silent-film accompanist Dennis James was hosting a series of silent classics at the Paramount, including some films which I’d long heard of but never seen such as Douglas Fairbanks’ “The Sea Hawk”, if I recall correctly. I’ve tried to attend every single one since, with varying degrees of success. I still regret having missed Keaton’s “The General”.

James graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington when I was kid, sometime around 1980, and while he was attending IU would stage these elaborate presentations of classic silent horror films such as “Phantom of the Opera” or “Nosferatu”. These shows inevitably included a massive parade of cosumed adultas and children across the stage of the IU Auditorium (the one near Showalter Fountain), and the audience would applaud loudly for excellent costumes while a veritable blizzard of paper airplanes filled the air.

Combining these impressive events with the non-stop silent comedy super-8 loops at the pizza joint Noble Roman’s that my family ate at all the time meant that I have a lifelong love for and interest in silent movies.

To see them in the splendidly restored absurd opulence of the Paramount, a movie and vaudeville palace fortunate enough to have retained its Mighty Wurlitzer, is something I savor so greatly it’s difficult to convey.

A big thankee to Spencer Sundell for the heads up!

4 thoughts on “Silents are back!

  1. AZ’s friend Anne Kibbler did some interviews with Dennis James for her piece in the Indian Alumni Magazine on pipe organs (I believe IU just overhauled the one we’re familiar with as part of the Theatre Building overhaul, etc). The piece is referenced, but not available, at

    If I recall correctly, Dennis said that he was open to playing at IU again, if they’d ask.

  2. Ooh, I’m jealous. Dennis also used to perform before matinees at the Ohio Theater in Columbus when I was a kid. It was always a great treat to go and see him. Pass the popcorn!

  3. The original silent “Nosferatu” is about my all-time favorite vampire movie. Probably the funniest “serious” vampire movie besides. Especially the scene where the vampire is running all over London with his big, heavy coffin looking for his newly-purchased house; and with less than two hours before sunrise, he suddenly realizes (with an “Oh, shit…” look on his face) that he’s been running around all night on the WRONG SIDE OF THE RIVER…

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