Rialto Theater

112 North 5th Street,
Beatrice, NE 68310

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The Rialto Theater was operating from at least 1925 to 1955 or later.

Contributed by Lost Memory

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2009 at 6:15 pm

There were apparently two Rialtos in Beatrice, operating at different times and, surprisingly, also at the same time. The July 19, 1941, issue of Boxoffice said “A corporation, backers unannounced, are reported to have started equipping the old Rialto at Beatrice, Neb., just around the corner from the new Rialto, operated by Frank Hollingsworth.”

On January 18, 1941, Boxoffice had run a brief item datelined Beatrice, Neb., saying “Harold G. Bowers, who just formed a new corporation, the Rialto Building Co. here, bought the Rialto Theatre from Dean Randall of Eugene, Ore.”

The December 13, 1941, issue of Boxoffice ran a brief item headlined “Cal Bard Brings Another Rialto to Beatrice, Neb.”, saying that Bard had opened his Rialto the previous week. So far I haven’t been able to find out how long this second Rialto operated.

As Frank Hollingsworth had, in 1940, filed a lawsuit against Fox Beatrice, the local operating company of Fox Midwest Theatres, accusing them of attempting to drive him out of business by denying him access to first run films, I can’t help but wonder if Bowers, Bard, and the “unannounced backers” of Bowers' corporation were not all fronting for the Fox interests, in order to discourage Hollingsworth from pursuing his suit.

When Frank Hollingsworth retired in 1964, the November 9 issue of Boxoffice ran an article about him which said that he had opened his Rialto on April 12, 1933. So far I haven’t found a closing date for Hollingsworth’s Rialto, but he apparently either closed the house or let it go before his retirement. The Boxoffice article said he had sold the Holly upon retiring, but it only spoke of the Rialto in the past tense.

I’m wondering about the source of the address listed above. As there were two Rialtos, and at least for a while both were operating at the same time, can we be certain which of the two that address belongs to? If the source is from before 1933, it must be the address of the first Rialto, and it it’s from sometime later, other than right around the early 1940s, it must be for Hollingsworth’s Rialto.

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