Rialto Theatre

1481 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Rialto Theatre

Originally on this site stood Oscar Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre which opened in 1899 and was demolished in 1916. It was replaced by a new movie theatre designed by Thomas Lamb which opened in 1916 as the Rialto Theatre and was closed and demolished in May 1935. (Cinema Treasures has two individual pages for these theatres)

This second Rialto Theatre was built in 1935. The new Rialto Theatre was one of the new Art Deco style movie houses built in New York City.

The theatre was also outfitted with a TV studio that was used by everyone from Gerald Rivera to Montel Williams.

The theatre’s fortunes were often in sync with the vitality of Times Square for better or for worse. By the 1970’s, the Rialto Theatre became an adult house and then clung to life for the next two decades, finally operating as the Cineplex Odeon Warner Theatre from 1987 to 1990.

Finally and sadly, the theatre was razed in 1998 to make way for the 30-story Reuters building.

Contributed by William Gabel, John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 128 comments)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on November 30, 2016 at 12:57 am

Excerpt from the NY Times review dated April 26, 1941:

The Rialto is following tradition this week in celebrating a quarter of a century of purveying movies to the public with a new screen-and-squeal item, “The Black Cat,” a comedy thriller suggested by a Poe short story…

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 13, 2017 at 10:50 am

This should have a Previous Name listing as Brandt’s Rialto, which was used for much of its existence.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 26, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Please update above.

It was also a legit house in the early 80’s that housed Blues In the Night with Leslie Uggams. After thirteen previews, the Broadway production, directed by Epps, opened on June 2, 1982 at the Rialto Theatre, where it ran for 53 performances. Jean Du Shon, Debbie Shapiro, Leslie Uggams, and Charles Coleman comprised the cast. The show was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Also, the Cineplex Odeon takeover was in 1987 not 1978.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Excerpt from a NY Times review of November 30, 1942:

The mortality rate in “Night Monster” is pretty high, even for the type of chiller drama the customers of the Rialto have become accustomed to over the years at the self-styled “house of horror.”

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 15, 2017 at 6:03 pm

1961 photo added courtesy of the Americas Past In Photos Facebook page.

StevenOtero
StevenOtero on January 9, 2018 at 8:49 am

In the photo posted as 1978 photo courtesy of Al Ponte’s Time Machine The sign says Rialto 2.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 18, 2019 at 8:11 pm

David, the Rialto 2 had an entrance on 42nd street and was in the basement of this same theatre. Once inside you could go from one to the other without being harassed. There is no reason to remove the 42nd street photos since this was basically a twin with two boxoffices and two entrances until Cineplex Odeon mothballed the fully remodelled twin two due to subway noise.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on June 18, 2019 at 9:10 pm

OK. I will delete the above post, and re-add the 3 I had removed, and identify them as 42nd Stret entrance.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 18, 2019 at 9:16 pm

Thank you, buddy.

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