Rio Theater

20396 Bohemian Highway,
Monte Rio, CA 95486

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Rio, 1982

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theater was built in 1950 with a World War II surplus Quonset hut. It has been in operation since 1950 and the inside auditorium ceiling is draped with the largest piece of Cristo’s Running Fence in existence. The walls (inside and out) are decorated with hand painted murals from local resident artists. It is definitely a one of a kind theater with a mom and pop atmosphere.

Contributed by Suzi and Don Schaffert

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on April 14, 2005 at 3:58 pm

In my theatre travels I have only seen one other Quonset hut style theatre and it is now an Ace Hardware warehouse in Hartwell GA. The front facade is still intact. The marquee is still there, but isn’t being used to at least advertise hardware specials in neon!

ilind
ilind on September 25, 2005 at 9:28 pm

Here’s a link to a photo of the theater taking in the summer of 2003:

View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 20, 2005 at 7:28 pm

I can’t help but think of a clothing store that my mother used to patronize in South Jersey called the Ideal – Their slogan was “It’s more than a quonset hut!”, but it really wasn’t. There were quite a few quonset huts still existing in New Jersey in the 1960’s, but I think they are all gone now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 12, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The July 9, 1949, issue of Boxoffice magazine published an item saying that the Rio Theatre in Monte Rio had recently opened. Owners of the 500 seat independent house were S.A. Bartlett and S.A. Bartlett Jr., formerly operators of a theater in Grass Valley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 17, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Google Maps is way off on this theater’s location. Searching at Google Maps' own web site, the address 20396 Church Street fetches the correct location. That’s the address Google will have to be sent, even though the theater itself lists Bohemian Highway as the name of its street. I managed to find the Street View of the theater and update it, but it was a really long drive, at the corner of D Street a mile or more north of the location of the pin on the map.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 17, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I’ve just realized that if you use the pavement arrow in Street View to move two clicks left, a thumbnail photo will appear, and if you click that thumbnail it will display the photo, plus thumbnails for more than a dozen additional photos of Monte Rio, including several more depicting the theater. The photos include links to their sources, which look better and can often be further enlarged.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

A few 2012 photos can be seen here, here and here.

russellquinn
russellquinn on April 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Only 6 days to save this movie theater. Pledge today! Save the Rio! http://www.savetherio.com

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