Rialto Theatre

2723 San Pablo Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94607

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Rialto picture from 1937.

The Avenue Theatre was opened on July 27, 1914. It was renamed Rialto Theatre in 1922, and in 1935 became the New Rialto Theatre. It reverted back to the Rialto Theatre name before closing on October 7, 1956. It was shutter for a while before it was converted into a church.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

gsmurph on October 28, 2003 at 1:11 pm

After a period of abandonment, the Rialto was converted in the late 1970’s into a neighborhood church. Not sure if that church is still in operation (at least at that location); but the building still stands.

gsmurph on November 11, 2003 at 11:53 am

The Rialto opened in 1915 as the Avenue (presumably after San Pablo Avenue), named Rialto in 1922, renamed New Rialto in 1935, but apparently reverted to Rialto before closing in 1956.

mpartour on November 12, 2004 at 8:32 pm

My father, J.W. Jespersen, and A.C. Dippo, my uncle were co-owners of the Rialto for a number of years. I knew the “show” from my earliest days until it was sold to Helene Madsen. I am not sure of the year, but intend to research more information and post it in the future.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm

The July 4, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World said that J. W. Jespersen and A. C. Dippo’s new, 400-seat theater on San Pablo Avenue at 27th Street was to be opened on July 27. As it is listed with 740 seats it was obviously expanded at some point. Possibly the 1915 opening gsmurph cites was a reopening after an expansion. It was not unknown for theaters to be expanded within a year or two of opening in those days.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

Street View needs to shift just a bit right to get a full frontal view of the Rialto’s building, now the Miraculous Word Christian Center.

DavidZornig on November 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

1940s photo added via Philip Duhe‎.

dallasmovietheaters on November 14, 2018 at 8:07 am

The theatre was showing “Crime in the Streets” on October 7, 1956 when a brawl occurred. The theatre was padlocked and did not reopen. In 1957, it became home to Saint’s Rest Baptist Church which had taken over the Rialto. They used the projection system to screen, “Noah’s Ark.” After being put up for sale,it was home to Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church and St. Paul Baptist from 1960 to at least 1965.

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