ST. CLOUD -- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown St. Cloud and there was one man who spent more than half of those years working there.

Fredolin "Red" Hanisch was a 52-year employee making him the longest-serving employee of the theater.

Spokesman Brendon Duffy says he began working there in 1929 when it was still called the Sherman Theater and over his five-decade career did pretty much everything.

He was kind of a handy guy and was very self-taught and so I think they thought they could put him to work doing different things like he was a stagehand, he did props, he knew enough about electrician work that he did some of that, he hung posters...

Duffy says back in the early days when big stars would come to town Red would enjoy the opportunity to meet them.

Somehow, Fred Larkin, the manager of the Paramount got Tom Mix to come to do a two-day extravaganza in St. Cloud and Red got to interact with him and take him out to dinner and that was a big highlight of his career.

That was back in August of 1938.

When important acts came to town they sometimes required a 'card-carrying' stagehand to be present, so Red was one of the earliest members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Machine Operators.

Image provided by the Stearns History Museum and Paramount Theater
Image provided by the Stearns History Museum and Paramount Theater

Another long-time employee of the Paramount was Red's wife Irene who worked there for 45 years. Duffy says it's unclear if the pair met while working there or if Red got her the job after they were already together.

Red retired in 1981 and he died in 1985.

A "Century in St. Cloud" is a monthly series on the News @ Noon Show on WJON featuring the stories of the Paramount Theatre as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

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