Rialto Theater

1539 North 3rd Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 8 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 10, 2014 at 8:32 pm

The New Rialto Theatre at 3rd and Harris Streets first appears in advertisements in the Harrisburg Evening News in the summer of 1922. The Rialto is not listed in the 1922 city directory, but a house called the Family Theatre is listed at 3rd and Harris Streets. Ads for the Family Theatre end in 1922. I suspect that Bruce Calvert (previous comment) was on the right track, and the Family was the same house that was later the Rialto.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on July 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I have a program from 1917 for the “Family Theatre” at 3rd and Harris Streets. Do you think that it could be the same theater? It was printed in Philadelphia, but the city for the theater is unnamed.

carolgrau on March 22, 2010 at 9:37 pm

It was with the Uptown, I don’t remember the owners name he never came around.. Being we were up in the booth we never had much contact with the Manager also..The night of the riot I heard the projectionist got sprayed in the face with mace, Was a projection problem that caused it.. Projectors were junk untill I got there,, I don’t remember the regular guys name but before he retired he left them go to hell. I at least got them usable, but if you did'nt know what you were doing look out,, Most guys with any sense refused to go there, so the business agent would send the new people up there.I used to do it for him, but would go out of my way to find an excuss not to go there.

1posterfan4sure on March 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Norelco, I love your stories, the “reel” dirt on some of these places. From the way you tell it, no wonder they had projection troubles. Sounds like the riot was an event waiting to happen. Tell us, who owned and operated the Rialto? Did it ever have any connection with any other Harrisburg theaters or was it on its own?

carolgrau on March 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

The Rialto was at third and Harris Street right on the corner…Projectors were held together with rubber bands and wedged toothpicks, Real old Simplex Standards, Brenkart Enarc Lamps RCA sound… Terrible place to work,, You had to go into the Theatre and out a door and up a ladder and go up over the roof to get to the booth.. If you had to use the bathroom you had to use trashbags and bring them down at end of your shift.Was a challange when the winter came and the walkway was icy,

JohnMessick on March 22, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Several years ago I contacted the Dauphin County Historical Society. Looking for pictures of Harrisburg theaters I have several of the Senate. One of the Colonial. No interior shots. None of the other area theaters.

1posterfan4sure on March 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm

No, at that time I would not have been welcome on North 3rd Street, certainly not at night when the theater was operating. I’m curious what the Rialto may have looked like inside. It was probably the largest of the city’s neighborhood houses. No pictures exist, I’m sure.

JohnMessick on March 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Another one of your top-notched write ups John. I am trying to think where it was located at. Have you ever been inside?