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John Barry, (Barry Prendergast)persuaded his father to let him have a short stage spot on Sunday nights, he would appear with his group, later known as the John Barry 7, between the two films which were usually reruns showing for one night only as, by then, York’s Odeon and ABC Regal were taking the pick of the general release and the Rialto was becoming difficult to book with the City also boasting other, smaller but more central cinemas. The pop group soon became a draw for many teenagers who would make the “Ri” their regular Sunday night destination.
At opening, the Rialto was one of the cinemas where Holophane, the decorative lighting specialists, were contracted not just for the auditorium and stage lighting but also the wall and ceiling reflective treatments and striking main curtains – all to maximise the overall effect. I vividly remember the curtains (Holophane provided identical curtains for the unrelated Capitol, Scarborough)though, by my day, much of the Holophane lighting was not being used, just open-white footlights (economy?), even so, the huge cinema was still most impressive.
A mural surrounded the upper parts of the foyer walls and this depicted the Roman walls and gates, or bars, surrounding the City of York.
The Rialto and Clifton cinemas in York were once owned and run by Jack Prendergast, father of film composer, John Barry.
Here is a March 1963 poster:
Two more, earlier pictures here:–
A couple more pictures of the rialto – including the huge proscenium mentioned above by Tim:–
Sadly noting remains of this impressive super cinema. It was demolished in June and the site is now a car park for the bingo hall next door.
Demolition begins on 7th of April 2003, as the new bingo hall is now open next door. The site will become a car park. The building has been heavily altered inside for bingo but retained the huge proscenium and original seating in the circle.