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My first summer employment as a young man of 16, was as an usher at the Rialto Theater for the princely sum of $1 per hour (old tuxedo jacket and flashlight included). By the time I took the bus Newport into town and had lunch or diner, I just about broke even.
The summer I worked there I remember seeing Von Ryan’s Express enough times that I knew the script by heart. That would have been around 1965.
One interesting fact was during that time, the theater did not sell popcorn because the manager, as I recall, thought that it created too much of a mess to clean up.
At that time there were several theaters still operating in downtown Wilmington. The exodus to the suburbs was just on the horizon.
As the downtown theaters closed, the Rialto operated for a while as an “art theater', before going dark. It was later revived for a while and played classic films. I remember seeing Casablanca there and being amazed at how different it looked on the big screen, after having only viewed it on tv.
The State was quite popular with the college students. From time to time, I remember seeing music acts being presented. (I believe I saw the Kiss Clones playing there one night. I am not certain, but I believe there was some sort of skylight system over top of the stage that had been painted black in later years.
The theatre was closed and there were two mysterious arson related fires, with the second fire creating enough damage to “justify” tearning down the popular landmark.
Video of the damage may be seen at: www.youtube.com/everetttheatre