Rialto Theater

1540 Curtis Street,
Denver, CO 80202

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Rialto Theater

Opened in 1913 as the United States Theater, It was renamed Rialto Theater in September 1916. The Rialto Theater was a key player on Denver’s theatre row. The Rialto Theater was apparently operated by Fox Theatres for much of its existence. It was still open in 1950. More information is needed.

Contributed by Tinseltoes

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

The September, 1916, issue of The Doherty News, an electrical industry trade publication, features a nocturnal photo of the Rialto on page 17. Text on page 22 describes the theater:

“The new Rialto moving picture theatre on Curtis Street, Denver, is a notable example of electrical illumination. The outside lighting is an important feature as it embraces 2,564 electric bulbs, giving a light equal to 82,250 candlepower, or 7,250 candlepower more than the exterior of the Denver Gas & Electric Light Company’s building. The interior of the Rialto is lighted with 800 incandescent bulbs, and the devices for diffused illumination, when the films are being shown, are complete and also ingenius.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

An article about new theaters in Denver that appeared in the August 5, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that finishing touches were being put on the new Rialto Theatre on Curtis Street. However, the Rialto was apparently not a new theater at that time. In this comment on the Isis Theatre page, paulomalley says that the Rialto opened in 1913 as the United States Theatre.

I found the following item about the United States Theatre in the March 4, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The United States theater, one of Denver’s newest downtown photoplay Houses, which for several months was operated under lease by R. H. McCluskey, has closed down. Plans for the future of the theater are a matter of much discussion in the local field. McCluskey’s retirement is said to be due to the expiration of his lease, which the owners would not renew, and it is understood that Albert Lewin, principal owner, is considering plans for remodelling and enlarging the theater. If his plans mature, it is reported, he will make it one of the largest moving picture houses in Denver and will conduct it himself.”
The September 16, 1916, issue of the same publication said that the United States Theatre in Denver had been remodeled and renamed the Rialto. As the project had cost only $20,000, it’s likely that the changes had been less extensive than originally planned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

The earliest mention of the United States Theatre I’ve found is this item from the March 1, 1913, issue of Motography:

“Announcement was made that work on the United States theater building, a $100,000 moving picture house to be built in Denver, will begin about May 1. The promoter, J. J. McClusky, of New York, has taken a ninety-nine-year lease on the two lots.”
I’ve been unable to discover if J. J. McClusky was related to the R. H. McClusky who operated the house under lease until 1916, or how ownership of the theater passed to Albert Lewin (see MPW citation in my previous comment.)

DavidZornig on December 12, 2017 at 7:53 pm

1922 photo added credit Getty Images/Underwood Archives.

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