Rialto Theatre

1481 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 12, 2014 at 9:19 am

His name is listed in the side bar under Additional Info — Architects: Thomas W. Lamb

robboehm on January 27, 2014 at 9:56 am

Architect is listed in the heading.

CharmaineZoe on January 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

Don’t know if anyone has mentioned it but the architect for the 1916 theatre was Thomas W Lamb.

Tinseltoes on November 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm

The corner property at the “Crossroads of the World” became too valuable and could only be re-developed vertically with an office building. Also, the Rialto quickly became “old-fashioned” as larger and more grandiose cinemas were built in midtown.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 5, 2012 at 12:28 am

I can’t believe this theater lasted less than 20 years.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on November 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Here is a Rialto Theatre program from July 27, 1919. Dorothy Gish’s NUGGET NELL (1919) was the main feature, and 10% of the ticket price went to the government for a war tax.

Tinseltoes on August 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

Harold Lloyd in Times Square (1930): archive

Tinseltoes on June 21, 2012 at 6:45 am

The Rialto Theatre was featured in this 1932 trade ad: boxofficemagazine

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on April 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I added two of Warren’s really nice photos to the photo section before the links are lost.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Thanks Tinseltoes,Bela Lugosi was the Man of Horror in those days of real Horror movies,not this trash they peddle today for Horror.

Tinseltoes on May 1, 2011 at 8:26 am

Seventy-six years ago today, and in its final month of operation before demolition, the Rialto opened day-and-date with the Mayfair on the world premiere engagement of MGM’s “Mark of the Vampire,” which was advertised as “Too Much Horror For One Theatre.” Starring Bela Lugosi, Lionel Barrymore, and Lionel Atwill, with Todd (“Freaks”) Browning as director, the B&W melodrama was also described as “Not For Weak Hearts!…For your nerves' sake, no standing will be permitted in either theatre. The capacity of two theatres assures seats for every one. The terrifying suspense of this picture demands that you be seated from beginning to end. Please don’t tell your friends the thrilling climax!”.

JAlex on April 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm

An item appearing in Billboard on 9/15/1916 with the headline “It Fooled Rathapfel”:

When Sam Rothapfel got back on the job at the Rialto recently, after a five-day trip, he thought for a moment that some one had slipped a new pipe organ into his theatre. Anything the organ had ever done sounded almost half hearted compared with what it was doing now. Then he remembered that the original scenic background had been ripped out and replaced by a set of transparencies. The plaster had cut off the sound from several groups of pipes, and when it was removed the organ preceded to let out a roar of relief that shook the auditorium.

LouisRugani on March 28, 2010 at 9:43 am

A closeup of the 1947 RIALTO marquee is seen in the David O. Selznick production of “Portrait of Jennie”, and the Rialto is referenced in the plot.

deleted user
[Deleted] on September 4, 2009 at 10:01 am

Here’s an ad for the original Rialto’s final booking, a Universal horror that opened on May 9th, 1935, and ran for one week. Demolition started on May 16th, and a new but much smaller Rialto would open on Christmas Day with the Frank Buck documentary feature, “Fang and Claw.” Arthur L. Mayer, who’d been managing director of the original Rialto in its final years, would also run the New Rialto and continue his policy of exploitation films with “masculine appeal”:
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AlAlvarez on April 27, 2009 at 7:56 am

Opening Next Saturday Noon:

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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 10, 2009 at 10:52 am

From my own collection, here’s a closer view of the entrance and the spectacular (for its day) animated electric sign: View link

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 22, 2008 at 7:47 am

“The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu” would soon move on to the Loew’s neighborhood circuit, where it was the first film to be shown at the brand new Paradise Theatre in the Bronx (9/7/1929).

RobertR on August 22, 2008 at 7:23 am

As the house of hits
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 16, 2008 at 9:21 am

A January 1918 ad for the Rialto and its younger sibling. Note how the names of the starring actors were given much more prominence than the titles of their movies:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 28, 2008 at 11:07 am

This February, 1932 release finally reached New York on July 7th, after months of haggling with state and city censorship groups. Note the advertised “WARNING! Children Will Not Be Permitted To See This Picture! Adults Not In Normal Health Are Urged Not To!”:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 28, 2008 at 8:50 am

New direct links to previously posted images of the original interior. I believe that the decor had been considerably “modernized” by the time of the 1931 “Palmy Days” engagement:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 28, 2008 at 8:43 am

This magnificent outdoor display must have caused traffic jams at the so-called “Crossroads of the World” in September, 1931:
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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 7, 2007 at 9:36 am

There’s a fabulous B&W photo showing the Rialto’s entrance in the recent pictorial paperback, “Dietrich,” published by Taschen as part of its “Movie Icons” series. The photo was taken in 1931 during the engagement of Paramount’s “Dishonored.” Marlene Dietrich’s name is spelled out in large electrified letters across the front of the marquee. Each of the Rivoli’s eight entrance doors is covered with a different portrait of Dietrich in a provocative pose. An entrance-wide sign above the doors and boxoffice has more photos and blurbs like “She Triumphs Again!” and “The Woman Who Is All Woman!” The boxoffice, which had yet to open for the day, has a sign reading “40 cents to 1 PM.”

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 4, 2007 at 8:07 am

A wonderful opening day ad for a “cine-miracle” that was also having its American premiere (March 5th, 1927): www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/metrorialto.jpg

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on January 1, 2007 at 2:53 pm

>>It is built in the conviction that the American passion for the movies is here to stay.

My favorite line in the Times article. And it was written in 1916!