Rialto Theatre

336 Georgia Street,
Vallejo, CA 94590

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Rex Theatre

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This was the first of two Bell Theatre’s to be located in Vallejo. It was opened on March 7, 1904. It advertised ‘High Class Vaudeville Acts’. The first show featured comedy acrobats, a lady violinist, comedians, comedy musical artist pictured melodies and a Biograph showing the latest pictures. The Bell Theatre was short lived, as on October 4, 1904, and it reopened as the Empire Theatre with the manager named Sydney Barrington. It featured vaudeville and the latest motion pictures on the Kenetoscope. Regular admission was 10 cents and reserved seats were available for 20 cents. The Empire Theatre closed in 1905.

In 1907-1908 the building was in use by William R. Lain as a furniture, carpet upholstering and stoves store. In December 1909, it was converted back to theatre use, and reopened as the Don Theatre showing movies only. There were now 350 seats and it was operated by Thomas Smith. On August 9, 1910 it was purchased by Carl and John Dexter and it became the Rex Theatre. The theatre then changed owners a number of times: in 1913 Peter Hanlon then Bert Walters. 1914-1916 J.D. Tams became the owner, in 1916 Joseph Smith, son of Thomas Smith, remodelled the Rex Theatre.

In 1918, it was re-named Rialto Theatre. The Rialto Theatre was closed in 1925. It became Smith’s Stationary store, later Dee’s Stationary store.

Contributed by Ken Roe, David Ducay
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