Rialto Theatre

Stonewall Street,
Greenville, TX 75401

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The Rialto Theatre was one of the two larger theatres in downtown Greenville. Seating was listed at 645. It was open in 1930 being operated by Dent Theatres.

Later in the 1930’s by the Lily Circuit until the mid-1940’s when Jefferson Amusemnt Co. (Paramount) took over and operated it until its closing in 1951.
Any further information on this theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

sepiatone
sepiatone on November 8, 2010 at 11:57 pm

From the Victoria Advocate, January 8, 1941:

Four Buildings in Greenville Razed by Hungry Flames.
Greenville, Tex., Jan. 8â€"Hungry flames that ate through four buildings in downtown Greenville were brought under control in a five-hour fight early today after causing an estimated $75,000 damage.
Cause of the fire, which originated in the Southern Café about midnight, was not known, but several café patrons were knocked to the floor by an explosion in the rear of the two-story building, giving first warning of the blaze.
Spreading swiftly despite efforts of the Greenville fire department, the fire destroyed the first floor café and second story, and then licked through an adjoining dress shop, across an empty building and into the Rialto Theatre before weary firemen finally gained the upper hand.
The theater suffered heavy water and smoke damage while the two buildings between it and the café were burned badly.
For a time fire department officials considered calling for reinforcements from Sulphur Springs and Wolfe City, but the Greenville firemen were able to control the fire by themselves.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 5, 2014 at 6:28 am

A contretemps in Greenville reported in the October 17, 1934, issue of Motion Picture Daily:

“Greenville Amusement Co., operating the Rialto and Colonial, Greenville, Texas, complained against the Jefferson Amusement Co. and East Texas Theatres, Inc., Beaumont, on overbuying.

“A. W. Lilly, complainant ; J. C. Clemmons, president of Jefferson; J. M. Gordon, attorney for Jefferson; and Otis U. Sullivan of East Texas were on hand for the hearing.”

Jefferson Amusement/East Texas Theatres, Paramount affiliates, operated the Texan and Rita Theatres in Greenville. The grievance board found in favor of Greenville Amusement, and Jefferson appealed, which occasioned this longer article from the October 22 issue of MPD:
“Texan Worried Over Overbuying Appeal

“Fears that Jefferson Amusement Co. of Beaumont, Tex., will invade towns of from 8,000 to 15,000 population if an overbuying decision against the company is reversed by Campi on appeal were expressed by Jack Lilly, president of Greenville Theatre Corp., prior to his return to Texas.

“Lilly stated that the Dallas grievance board’s decision in favor of the Greenville company which filed the overbuying complaint against Jefferson was unanimous and if Code Authority reverses the verdict of the local board Jefferson will bottle up independents in towns ranging from 8,000 to 15,000.

“‘A theatre must have a split of major first run product in small towns and cannot exist without it,’ Lilly said. He said he also feared a price war between ‘A’ and ‘B’ houses if independents cannot get major films.

“‘If we cannot get top line product we will be forced to cut admissions to meet competition from theatres showing major output. Subsequently the 'A’ houses will reduce their prices to meet ours until we are licked,‘ he asserted.

“‘Independents in Texas are vitally interested in the action of Campi on this case,’ he added. ‘We have been in Greenville for 15 years. Along comes Jefferson, builds a new theatre in the town and takes away major product. If they can do this in Greenville and get away with it they will continue the same procedure elsewhere,’ Lilly said.

“Code Authority will hand down a decision on this appeal on Oct. 25.”

I was unable to find anything about the outcome of the appeal in later issues of the magazine. In any case, Jefferson Amusement did eventually take over Jack Lilly’s Greenville theaters.

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