Edison Theatre

7505 NE 2nd Avenue,
Miami, FL 33138

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The Rialto Theatre opened in 1926 as a vaudeville theatre. It was an open-air theatre, consisting of four walls decorating in a Spanish style and no roof (a true Atmospheric style theatre). The only enclosed spaces were the ticket and projection booths, and a small back-stage area behind the screen. By 1928 it was operating as an airdome movie theatre. It was closed in the early-1930’s.

It was reopened as the Edison Theatre, with 500 seats now under a roof and 400 seats in the open air.

It was a functioning neighborhood theatre showing double feature re-runs until at least 1955. The last time I passed by the site in January of 2002 the building had been converted into a sheet metal shop.

Contributed by George Stegmeir

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ron8445 on January 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

As I went to this movie house as a small boy in the late 40’s and early 50’s to see many a Western B-movie double feature I know that the description is not accurate.

It was only half roofless. The rear, towards the lobby, was covered with padded seats. The open-air front half had wooden seats rather than padded ones. The stage was concrete with what appeared to be a Spanish mission motif with a simulated bell tower,complete with bell. and real palm trees on either side of the stage. It was rumored to originally be Miami’s 1st Drive-in but, I’m not so sure.

The_Inventor on February 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I’m a Ron also. Our family would go there because it was cheap. It was cooler in the open air part but you’d have to run like hell when a rain storm came up. The good thing was that it was hardly ever full and you could find a seat.

We probable went there less than 10 times, and 3 or 4 of them required rushing to the back. No matter how hard it poured the movie went on. There were times where you could hardly see the screen.

A slight aside to this, friends of parents owned the grocery store next door, Putzers. Mr. Putzer owned a small freight hauling ship. Because diabetes took his leg in the late 50’s, he could no longer captain and he would lease it out. One of the renters who leased the boat never brought it back as he had a “higher mission”. The renter, “Fidel Castro”.

dallasmovietheaters on August 7, 2016 at 2:18 pm

The Rialto Theatre opened in 1926 as a completely open air facility with Spanish Atmospheric architecture doing live vaudeville. Four recessed bells carried out the Spanish Cathedral feel. Within two years, the film portion of presentations is what people wanted to see and the Edison became an Airdrome (not a drive-in) with far more architectural style than similar facilities. The Rialto struggled, closing during the Depression.

But John A. Cunningham took on the closed theater re-opening as the Edison Theatre and enclosing half of the auditorium now with 400 open air seats and 500 under a roof (see picture in Photos). With palm trees on each side of the theater, natural air, 100% smoker seating, and view to the sky, the Edison was truly a unique hybrid facility in the U.S. Charles O. Ozburn continued with the Edison to its closure in the 1950s as television and shifting populations took their toll on theaters.

I believe the theatre can be listed as demolished for all intense and purposes.

David_Schneider on January 13, 2019 at 5:56 pm

I like the photo in the photos section, though for some reason it no longer appears above on this overview page.

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