Rialto Theatre

1481 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Rialto Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally on this site stood Oscar Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre, which was demolished and a new movie theatre was erected, designed by Thomas Lamb and opened in 1916 as the Rialto Theatre.

The first Rialto Theatre was torn down and 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 theater was also outfitted with a TV studio that was used by everyone from Gerald Rivera to Montel Williams.

The theater’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 and sadly, the theater was razed in 1998 to make way for the 30-story Reuters building.

Contributed by William Gabel, John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 157 comments)

AlAlvarez on October 19, 2010 at 8:33 am

Woody, I think that photo may have been just after the opening as the Warner. By the time it closed the 42nd Street marquee was long gone.

Tinseltoes on December 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

Today (12/26) marks the 75th anniversary of the grand opening of the New Rialto Theatre, which would specialize in “Pictures chosen to give you the ultimate in thrill entertainment.” The premiere attraction was legendary animal trapper Frank Buck in “Fang and Claw”, a B&W feature documentary produced by the Van Buren Corporation for RKO Radio release. Doors opened daily at 9am, with last complete show at midnight.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 26, 2010 at 11:26 am

Can you post the ad that you got that info from, Tinseltoes?

Tinseltoes on January 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Awaiting demolition, with marquee messages “Any Surplus Is Immoral” and “A Man Can’t Know What It’s Like To Be A Mother”: View link

KingBiscuits on March 11, 2011 at 2:24 am

The Cineplex Odeon run lasted from 6/12/1987 (opening with Predator) to 7/5/1990 (closing with The Hunt for Red October).

Tinseltoes on April 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Here’s a link to a photo of the 42nd Street marquee of Rialto II, with billing as “New York’s Newest Movie Theatre”: View link

AlAlvarez on July 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Times Square porn theatres circa summer 1970.


rivoli157 on November 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

I believe this theatre had legit fare in the late 70s ,early 80s. “Musical Chairs”,“Marlowe” and a revival of the musical version of “Canterbury Tales”

Tinseltoes on June 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

In this 1936 photo, crowds gather outside for a Republic chiller, one of the first hits at the new Rialto Theatre: boxofficemagazine

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

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