Rialto Theatre

1481 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 26 - 50 of 115 comments

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 8, 2008 at 7:27 pm

I just went there for fun. Perhaps if I was exposed on a daily basis, I might have had a different opinion, but to me it was always an enjoyable time in the city.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on October 8, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I worked in New York from 1978 to 1984. Times Square and 42nd street was a mess and a filthy cesspool, especially after 10PM. I wouldn’t want to go back to that for anything.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 8, 2008 at 7:21 pm

I was looking at Ed Solero’s photo of 9/6/07, and it really brought back memories of Times Square in the 70s and 80s. Although most of the theaters showed porn and there were hookers everywhere, to me that’s what the big city was like. I preferred that to the Guliani/Disney Times Square of today. I think a city should have a little grit.

tsstv
tsstv on October 8, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Here’s some of the TV Studio information from a former Times Square Studios employee.

Following WOR, Times Square Studios (TSS) owned by Marcelino Miyares opened in the 80’s with FNN-Financial News Network. When they moved out, the facility operated a variety of programs from two studios, one on the 3rd floor (Studio 3) and the other on the 4th floor (Studio 4). Both studios were above the main Rialto Theater. The decrepit mechanical room housing HVAC was above Studio 4.

Rumor had it some of the staff used to go up on the roof, get drunk and throw up on tourists below.

Some of the shows included Geraldo, Jane Pratt (short lived Fox talk show), Montel Williams, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, numerous sports and cable shows as well as tapings for corporate videos such as Citibank.

Studio 3 housed green rooms; make up rooms, general client office space, video control room, audio control room, scenic storage, master control and engineering housing the equipment, video camera control (camera shading), the engineering repair office and the lighting director’s office. A small independent music producer was also sharing space on this floor.

Studio 4 is where the talk shows were taped (Geraldo, Jane and Montel). In addition to the studio support rooms as described in Studio 3, there was an audience holding area and electronic graphics department.

The main entrance to the studios at 1481 Broadway was the first door just north of the Rialto box office in between the theater and the arcade. The common staircase separated 1481 and 1485 Broadway. TSS’s general office space was actually in 1485 Broadway above the arcade. Joe Franklin’s office was up the staircase to the left located in a nook above the Rialto and below Studio 3.

We attempted to take over the Rialto upper theater and convert into a talk show stage but the cloud of condemnation from the Times Square Redevelopment Project always hung over it. We eventually gave up on that plan. In 1995/1996 TSS was forced heavy handedly to shut down. The city posted a security detail inside to prevent further operations but we did not go out without a fight. As a matter of fact, the music producer barricaded himself inside so the city wouldn’t confiscate his recording equipment.

Eventually, TSS gave in to bankruptcy and an auction was held for its equipment assets.

BTW, we did find and keep the WOR Romper Room Bumble Bee set piece in scenic storage.

The building was a fun place to work in.

Rory
Rory on September 24, 2008 at 3:09 am

Cool photo! Thanks.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on September 22, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Here’s the Rialto all decked out for HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1944:

View link

SethLewis
SethLewis on August 22, 2008 at 2:23 pm

In my New York lifetime 1960s-1980s, this was never more than an adult grindhouse. Then Cineplex Odeon in one of Garth Drabinsky’s mysterious ways, bought it up and renamed it the Warner. Saw Drugstore Cowboy there on a sub-run with a mysterious neon sign announcing a non existent screen 2

RobertR
RobertR on August 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I never knew it was the “House of Hits” :)
View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 17, 2008 at 8:08 pm

The Rialto II in the basement appears to have operated from 1968 to the mid-seventies. Since the main Rialto never closed one has to wonder where the space came from. Perhaps it was the old restaurant/TV studio space mentioned in Jerry Korvac’s post on Aug 15, 2006?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 7, 2008 at 3:06 pm

In 1935 the Roxy advertised a “Big Stage Show” with no headliners on hold-overs and the Capitol had stopped running stage shows altogether.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 6, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Only six films ran more than a week at the Roxy in 1935. Distributors rarely enforced a contractual second week if attendance is not there because of the house nut guarantee. The two week minimum contract goes out the window on a flop even today. It was even less common with distributor owned depression era theatres.

The Capitol had generally longer runs in 1935 with DAVID COPPERFIELD running five weeks and MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY running four weeks).

CHINA SEAS, ANNA KARENINA and A NIGHT AT THE OPERA ran for three weeks each.

Rory
Rory on January 5, 2008 at 4:19 am

That’s very interesting about BRIDE, considering that the Roxy had over 5000 seats. Another one of my favorite films from the thirties, CHINA SEAS, I’ve read, ran at the Capitol in NYC for three weeks. For those days that’s something.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 5, 2008 at 2:56 am

THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN premiered at the ROXY and had a rare (for 1935) two week run.

William
William on January 5, 2008 at 12:29 am

Rory, it’s listed as the Embassy 2,3,4 theatre.

Rory
Rory on January 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm

I don’t see the Mayfair listed here. Could it have gone by a different name? Would you know what theatre “Bride of Frankenstein” premiered at? Boy, the Roxy sure was one huge theatre.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on January 4, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Although the Rialto was an action and horror house for most of the forties, it was not an exclusive Universal outlet except mostly for those double-feature re-releases. Exploitation B films from all distributiors played here.

In 1931 DRACULA premiered at the Roxy and FRANKENSTEIN at the Mayfair.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on January 4, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Rory, my grandfather always described this theatre to me as where all the old Universal horror flicks played. He grew up in upper Manhattan as a child in the 1930’s and would often venture to Times Square to catch a double feature. I’m not saying that his recollections are entirely accurate, but it does appear that a number of those old Universal classics played here either on original release or packaged as double bills in re-release.

In a post above from October 23, 2005, CT member RobertR linked to this 1938 clipping featuring an ad for such a twin-bill re-release.

Rory
Rory on January 4, 2008 at 6:06 am

One of my favorite movies, “Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man,” opened at the Rialto on March 5, 1943. Way before my time, but it’s interesting to me. Now it’s even more interesting to find this site and discover what the Rialto ended up showing.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 18, 2007 at 11:14 am

The Italian film Mafioso, successfully revived not too long ago, had its original 1964 American premiere at the Rialto and the Murray Hill.

nonsportsnut
nonsportsnut on October 23, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Any idea what happened to the murals inside the Rialto (Dracula, Frankentein, Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges) that were done in 1939?
Frank Reighter

nonsportsnut
nonsportsnut on October 23, 2007 at 9:07 pm

The building at that location, built after the demolishing of the Rialto Theatre, is the Reuters Building.
Frsnk Reighter

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on October 14, 2007 at 3:13 am

1481 is now a 32 floor high rise with a Chase Bank on the lower floors, one of the four towers that were part of the redevelopment of the 42nd street block. The southwest tower on 8th avenue is yet to be built.

nonsportsnut
nonsportsnut on October 14, 2007 at 1:57 am

Hi Ed,
Thanks. I had the book (“Ghosts of 42nd Street” by Anthony Bianco)at one time (Before I downsized), but couldn’t remember the name or author.

The 1481 Broadway address was once the early home of the Times Square Visitor’s Center, now housed at 1560 Broadway. Anybody have any idea what is at 1481 Broadway now?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 13, 2007 at 2:00 am

Frank… A photo of Mayer unveiling that mural in the Rialto (the likenesses of the Stooges are clear in the shot) can be found in the excellent book “Ghosts of 42nd Street” by Anthony Bianco.

nonsportsnut
nonsportsnut on October 12, 2007 at 11:03 pm

I’m a member of the Three Stooges Fan Club in Pennsylvanis.
According to the New York Times (Nov. 23, 1939), Arthur Mayer, operator of the Rialto, the theatre would be redecorated in the pre-
Christmas period with a series of murals reflecting the theatre’s film policy. including Dracula, Frankenstein, Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges, done by artist Nat Karson. Unveiling would take place Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 1939), to celebrate the 4th Anniversary of the opening of the “new” Rialto.
Can anyone add to the story, such as what happened to the Murals? Also, the Fan Club is trying to document all the Three Stooges' Personal appearances. Please email me at
Thanks,
Frank Reighter

Also the Fan Club is trying to document all the Thre Stooges Live Personal Appearances. Can anyone supply any dates and locations? Please email me at
Thanks,

Frank Reighter