Rialto Theatre

112 North 5th Street,
Beatrice, NE 68310

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The Rialto Theatre was opened prior 1923. It suffered damage from a fire in late-1923 and was repaired and reopened in January 1924. It operated until shortly after 1941 when it was replaced by a new Rialto Theatre on Court street in December 1941.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2009 at 9:15 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm

The April 12, 1933, opening date of the Rialto on Fifth Street was a re-opening under new management. The July 31, 1933, Motion Picture Herald published a list of Publix Theatres affiliates and subsidiaries that were in either Federal receivership or in bankruptcy. The Beatrice Theatre & Realty Corp.,operating the Rivoli and Rialto Theatres in Beatrice, was listed as having filed for bankruptcy on January 6, 1933.

The February 3, 1930, issue of The Film Daily said that the Rialto and Rivoli Theatres in Beatrice had been sold to Publix by Hostettler (the Hostettler Amusement Company of Omaha, affiliated with Universal Pictures, had built the Rivoli Theatre in 1926.) But the Rialto goes back to at least 1923. The January 5, 1924, issue of Exhibitors Herald had this item about it:

“The Rialto theatre at Beatrice, Neb., has been re-opened by Blaine Cook. The theatre was damaged by fire a few weeks ago, and laid up for repairs.”

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