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The former location of the Rialto, Market St Potsdam, NY.
Interior of Schine’s Massena ( circa 2013)
Schine’s Massena building as it looked in summer of 2015
The Schine’s Massena as of January 2014 was called essential to the downtown revitalization. The Marquee was restored and in storage as were the seats. It was to be used for meetings, live bands and of course movies.
The stage area is small with no backstage area. The building is reported to be in sound condition. The interior was in poor condition. An LLC , the Massena Arts and Theater Association was in charge of the project. I’m speaking in past tense only because I don’t live here now and have no current info.
The Rialto theater building in Massena is gone now. For a time after the theater closed it was used by Fay Motors as a storage barn. Massena once had three indoor single screen theaters operating at the same time.
I understand that the Schines Marquee has been restored and now in storage in anticipation of completed restoration of the entire theater. I hope that’s true.
I remember going inside after it was converted to a furniture store and I could still see the maroon walls and the sculpturing near the ceiling that remained. I didn’t like what had happened. It still makes me somehow a little upset.
I liked the original single screen Roxy with the interesting change return where the coins came down the long shute when you bought your 65 cent ticket. I liked the wide cross aisle in the center that let you stretch your legs out and you didn’t have to stand up to let someone out of your row. I liked the Bill Stearn Sports Reel, cartoons and other short subjects between the double features. Yummy for the 15 cent popcorn in the paper bag. I loved the air conditioning that seemed to follow you part way onto the sidewalk as you left. I liked it when I was still a kid 62 years ago.
I have a post card of this photo I obtained in the late ‘60’s. One movie on the marquee is the 1959 film “The Blue Angel” starring the blond beauty may Britt , once married to Sammy Davis Jr. Like a ring with it’s gem stone sparkling, the brightly lit marquees that once dotted our downtowns are becoming scarce to find. Massena was a bustling village in the midst of the
Seaway and power project at the time of this photo.
Ray. CharlotteNC. (formerly Winthrop, NY)
The “RIALTO THEATER” marquee was a colorful sight for many years in the center of downtown Potsdam. My dad and I spent many Saturday nights watching a double-bill in the 40’s & 50’s. Lobby and window showcards were colorfully displayed inside and out. The theater was attractive and modest in design and plenty roomy. In addition to the popular ‘B’ movies shown on weekends, I remember – “NIAGARA”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, and the 1954 version of “TITANIC”. For me its pretty hard to beat a Randolph Scott western and a Bill Stern Sports Reel. Ahh !! Those were the days.
Ray , Charlotte, NC. (formerly Winthrop, NY)
Yes there was a “RIALTO THEATER” in Potsdam . It closed around the late 1950’s. The Massena theater was more of a neighborhood location not too far from the ALCOA plant. I enjoyed many “Francis” the talking mule and “Ma and Pa Kettle” movies here. There was a certain joy to watching a film in one of these old theaters that just doesn’t come across in the new multi-plex theaters. That’s just my opinion.
Ray. Charlotte, NC
Saw the “The Longest Day” at the Hellman after required reading in English class at Albany College of Pharmacy of Cornelius Ryan’s book about the D-Day invasion.The black and white film version was a great experience to view . Both projection and sound was splendidly displayed. For me this was my best movie viewing experience to that time. The trailer that day was for “Lawrence of Arabia”. Breathtaking on both ! Too bad we lose these theaters.
This is Massena’s newest Drive-In. How about the Sunset Drive In? It was near Massena Center off the road that later lead to Eisenhower Lock area.
My parents and I went to see a movie there in the early 1950’s and to our dismay, the screen had blown down the night before. I wanted to just cry.
So I did. (just kidding about the crying part)
Ray , formerly of Winthrop NY
I loved going to the “Madison” while attending Albany College of Pharmacy in the 60’s. It’s design was plain ,but it was clean and spacious. It looked
Quite elegant in it’s neighborhood setting. When attending “ Von Ryan’s Express” starring Frank Sinatra ,a power outage resulted in issuance of free pass to everyone attending. I remember this since such has never happened to me before or since. Just lucky I guess. The film turned out great!
Ray , Charlotte NC
While a student at the Albany College of Pharmacy I saw as a double bill, “Dr No” and “The Manchurian Candidate”. I’d never heard of James Bond.
What a great discovery. This theater seemed past it’s prime but still very,very classy.
Ray , Charlotte NC
The FALLS THEATER seemed small compared to the larger movie palaces in the area , but Audie Murphy was larger than life at the Saturday matinee. The pop-corn was plentiful and the ticket price was just 15cents in the 1950’s. What a joy it was!
Ray R. , Charlotte,NC. (Winthrop native)
Outdoor movie viewing was great summer fun at the Moonlight Drive-In. As an extra added attraction, a New York Central freight train might be seen passing just behind the big screen.
Ray R. Charlotte, NC. and formerly Winthrop,NY
This was ,I believe,the smallest of Massena’s 3 theaters and very much a neighborhood theater. On a very snowy New Years Eve in the early 50’s my parents and I saw a Blondie and Dagwood film there, at the East Orvis St theater. It was nice inside and the black and white film projected very
Splendidly on the screen. That film franchise never gets old, the comedy is timeless. I miss these little show palaces like The Orvis.
Ray R. Charlotte, NC. , formerly of Winthrop NY
My mom and dad and I attended the Roxy in the opening week in 1951. It seemed so modernistic after having only the Rialto in town til that time. I remember the weekend serial playing about that time was “Captain Video”
Starring Judd Holdren. Popcorn was 15cents and ticket price was 65cents.
We would check out the show cards at both theaters before deciding which
To attend. This was usually a Fri or Sat double feature with sports & news reel ,cartoon,and previews of coming attractions. I would give up a weeks worth of TV now for just one of those double bills. What ever happened to
Randolph Scott? Just kidding, actually I have visited his grave site here in
Charlotte NC .
Ray R. formerly from Winthrop NY