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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : ALL-AMERICAN TRADITIONS : Cooling Off . . .

June 30, 1991

There are still a few places where you can carry on an old-fashioned, hand-holding kind of romance. Like Paramount. On Tuesday nights from 8:15 to 10:30 at the Iceland Ice Skating Rink, Frank Barrois brings a giant Wurlitzer pipe organ to life and plays a medley of waltzes and polkas for couples who "smooth skate" in circles across the 20,000-square-foot surface. (Admission: $4.50.) Some skaters display the practiced moves of Olympic hopefuls. Others wear rental skates ($1.75) and appear to be having their first encounter with a frozen substance that doesn't float in a drink. Somehow, expert and novice co-exist.

The skating tradition goes back to a time when the area was called Hynes, when the land supported dairy cattle and a large Dutch community. (The name Paramount came along in 1948.) The cows are gone, but at least one day a week, the Wurlitzer lives on.

Iceland Ice Skating Rink, 8041 Jackson St., Paramount; (213) 633-1171.

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