Rialto Theatre

308 S. Saginaw Street,
Flint, MI 48502

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 17, 2014 at 1:31 am

L. F. Sunlin was listed as proprietor of the Savoy Theatre on a list of Flint movie houses in the May 1, 1912, issue of The New York Clipper. An item in the January 6, 1934 issue of The Film Daily said that Sunlin Amusement Enterprises had reopened the Savoy Theatre in Flint.

noellestarr
noellestarr on February 21, 2014 at 12:54 am

I do remember the Royal Theatre in the very early ‘70s when my best friend’s mother worked there as a ticket taker in the booth out front. The owner at the time was Nate S and his son was a pretty good friend of ours, Larry S, who was the projectionist at the time. I remember when “Deep Throat was showing. It was very controversial. At the time, Nate also owned a bar on Flushing Rd. It was very interesting to be able to see this side of life. My friends mother did not sugar coat her job, she painted a clear picture…the Royal Theatre was a seedy place

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on February 1, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Flooded in 1947, but the show goes on: Boxoffice

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 12, 2012 at 4:18 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

The Savoy Theatre is listed at 302 S. Saginaw in the 1915 and 1922 Flint city directories. I don’t know if the lot was later renumbered, or if a new theater was built on a nearby site.

Interestingly, the 1915 directory also lists 302 S. Saginaw as the office of George J. Bachmann, under the category Theatre Contractors. Bachmann, an architect, designed several theaters in Flint and other Michigan cities. Another page of the 1915 directory lists him a second time, as an architect, with offices in the P. Smith Building, which was across Saginaw Street from the Savoy. I don’t know just what to make of the dual offices and dual professions, but it suggests that Bachmann might have designed the Savoy and might even have been its owner, or part owner.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

The Water Winter Wonderland page for the Savoy says the theater opened in 1908. A Savoy Theatre at Flint suffered a fire on May 13, 1913, according to a list of theater fires in the September, 1913, issue of Safety Engineering. It didn’t reveal the extent of the damage, but if it was considerable and substantial repairs had to be made, that might explain why the theater was called the New Savoy for a while.

William Dakota
William Dakota on July 29, 2011 at 2:12 am

I managed the Royal theater when it had changed from the Rialto. It was an open all night theater and drew the gay audience. When it was the Rialto they had Vaudeville shows and later talent stage shows. It was long and narrow. It had a nickname the Rathole, because they claimed rats came into the theater from the back alley. I never saw any.

It had been remodeled with new seats and carpet in the lobby and aisles. The entrance was also made over and it was a clean theater and got over the rathole name calling. It was still open all night and they even had “THE HUSTLER” with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman first run. I left to operate the book store next door, Le Stag Shoppe. When the downtown Flint died with ten large businesses moving out to the malls, the Royal lost their lease. They opened a store front theater a block away and exhibited porn films. Now that too is gone.

steelbeard1
steelbeard1 on June 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Actually, the Rialto was the second name the theater had. It was renamed the Royal in the early 1960s which showed art house films which evolved into grindhouse films and finally porn.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

This page has some pictures of the theater and of the site after the theater was demolished: View link