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Rialto Theatre

767 Broad Street,
Augusta, GA 30901

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Rialto Theatre

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The Rialto Theatre was located a stone’s throw between the Imperial Theatre and Modjeska Theatre in Augusta. It was opened September 23, 1918.

Was it ever known for Grade A product like the Imperial Theatre and Miller Theatre? Sadly, very few Academy Award movies played on that screen in a theatre much smaller than the Imperial Theatre or Modjeska Theatre.

On March 7, 1953 the Rialto Theatre was playing its usual fare, "My Pal Trigger" with Roy Rogers and Trigger, the smartest horse in the movies. Of course Gabby Hayes co-starred. The Rialto Theatre almost always had a second feature. That day it also played "The Toughest Man in Arizona".

Most often the drive-in ads in the paper were larger and better than the ads for the Rialto Theatre. So even in those days advertising was not the main source. From what I was told since I was way too young to remember, many kids would spend Saturdays watching double bills, and then hop the city bus back home.

The inside of the theatre from pictures I’ve seen was very plain. It closed on January 18, 1956.

Contributed by Mike Rogers

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I got your EMAIL.TLSloews.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Hot August day in 1947 and the RIALTO is playing “SIX GUN SERENADE”

Cajun
Cajun on September 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

The Rialto was the bottom end of downtown theater venues…a long shooting gallery style of house with no balcony. It showed third run films and re-issues witha b-western and serial format on weekends. It was located between the Modjeska which played a similar format and the Imperial, a first run house. Admission was nine cents for kids in the late forties and I saw lots of films there. I believe it closed in the late fifties.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for adding to our theatres,hope you have many stories.

rivest266
rivest266 on February 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

September 15th, 1918 grand opening ad has been posted here.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 25, 2012 at 6:08 am

thanks so much,rivest266.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Ron P the only first run theatres play A pictures Downtown were the IMPERIAL and The Miller.The Rialto was closed in the 50’s,The Modjeska would sometimes run a A picture ,but most of the time they played B pictures.I wanna say it played at the IMPERIAL because they got alot of MGM product.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Miller sat close to 1500, while the IMPERIAL sat 881 in my days there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2018 at 12:50 pm

This article posted at the web site of Augusta Magazine on July 31, 2018 says “[o]riginally the Rialto was to open on Wednesday, September 18, [1918] but due to unforeseen problems that the Chronicle never mentioned the opening was delayed until Monday, September 23.”

The article also says that the announcement of the Rialto’s imminent closure appeared in The Augusta Chronicle on January 6, 1956. The house was scheduled to close January 18. The building was then remodeled into an office for Augusta Federal Savings & Loan, then in 1985 was converted into offices for an optometrist, which it remains today.

One inexplicable claim the article makes twice is that the Rialto operated as a movie theater for more than 60 years. By my count, September 23, 1918 to January 18, 1956 is several months short of 38 years.

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