Rich's Theatre

Second Street,
Fall River, MA 02721

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Rich’s Theatre was on Second Street, south of Borden. It was opened in 1882 and survived until 1918, when the Empire Theatre was built. Rich’s entrance was on the block directly behind where the entrance to the Empire on South Main Street would be.

For much of its life, it was a burlesque house before showing movies. Sporting events, such as boxing and wrestling, also were given here. It was torn down and the Empire was built in its spot.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2006 at 11:57 pm

About Rich’s Theatre as a burlesque house, A. S. DeMarteau wrote this nostalgic reflection in a 1954 Fall River Herald article:

“It was a trial for men folks to gain access to the theater without being seen. In those days morals were of the highest character. It wasn’t the thing to be seen entering a burlesque theater to witness a show of this character.

“Any youth caught patronizing this theater was placed in the same category as the ‘wayward’ youth who smoked ‘coffin nails’ or hoisted a short beer now and then. All three were just cause for any young woman to shed herself of a boy friend if he had fallen that low.”

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 28, 2006 at 7:01 am

Did the circus ever perform at this theater? This is from the Circus Historical Society:

“NUGENT, DANIEL. (1866?-February 16, 1901) Agent, known in the profession as “Circus Dan.” Connected with W. W. Cole’s, Forepaugh’s, and Ringling Bros.’, also Rich’s Theatre, Fall River, MA; Walnut and Chestnut Street Theatres; and, at the time of death, with the Star Theatre, Philadelphia. Died there of heart trouble, age 35”.

If your interested in circus history, there is a website here.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2006 at 7:57 am

Lost Memory, that sounds very likely. I discovered Rich’s Theatre was originally built in 1882 and operated by A.A. Spitz of Providence, who in 1917 turned the property over to the Nathan Yamins interests. So Daniel Nugent was about 16 when Rich’s Theatre was built. The theatre was then demolished or incorporated into the new Empire Theatre which opened in 1918 on that same site but with a front on South Main Street. I found this info in a September 29, 1962 article in the Fall River Herald relating to the demolition of the Empire. It spoke of the connection between the Empire and Rich’s.

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