Rialto Theatre

Main Street and E. 5th Street,
Bayard, NE 69334

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First opened as the Star Theatre on November 25, 1915. It was renamed Rialto Theatre on January 22, 1923. On November 26, 1928 it was taken over by the Fox West Coast Theatres chain and was renamed Fox Rialto Theatre. Fox bowed out in mid-1930 and it was taken over by an independent operator but was closed in early-1931.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm

The earliest mention of the Rialto I’ve found in the trade journals is in Exhibitors Trade Review of November 29, 1924.

dallasmovietheaters on August 2, 2020 at 3:03 pm

The Star Theatre launched on November 25, 1915 by L.F. Flower with “Ole Johnson in Mexico” as its opening film. It operated before the town had electrical light service so had its own generator. When the New Ideal Theatre opened in September of 1918, it became fairly clear that the operators would struggle in a two-owner town. Flower bought the Ideal in 1919 to reduce ownership to one operator and downgraded the Star to weekend operation only.

Flower then sold the operation to Thomas Ishmael who closed the Star after a brief period of operation. The town was operating with just one theater. But at the end of 1922, William Ostenberg, Jr. and Lloyd Streed took on the Star renaming it as the Rialto Theatre with a grand relaunch on January 22, 1923 with Thomas Meighan and Lila Lee in “Back Home and Broke” supported by a Buster Keaton comedy short, “The Boat.”

On November 26, 1928, Fox West Coast Theatre Circuit took on the location calling it the Fox Rialto Theatre. Fox promised the Rialto’s conversion to sound three different times in 1930 but appears to have simply and quietly dropped the theatre from its chain in mid-1930. The theatre closed under new operators early in 1931 though doing some live local events during the year.

At some point, the theatre became the Rex Theatre and wired for sound. Fire just prior to the May 19, 1945 gutted the interior of the theater.

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