Rialto Theatre

108 North Washington Street,
Beeville, TX 78102

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

The Rialto no longer has its stand-alone web site, but now has this Facebook page (which, oddly, still sports a link to the now-unrelated web page.) The Facebook page features some recent photographs of the ongoing restoration work. Earlier this year the Vitrolite on the facade was being repaired.

Patsy
Patsy on November 8, 2014 at 1:57 pm

loranne: If you have a dream, go for it!

loranne
loranne on November 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I would like to open it again. I think it’s perfect. I would show not new movies and it would be a double feature for five dollars. Once a month I would try to bring back old hits like Jaws, so the new generation could see them like we did. What do you think?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 18, 2011 at 6:13 am

Here is a close-up photo of the Rialto’s entrance. The movie advertised is “Captain Blood,” which was released in December, 1935, but a smaller market such as Beeville would probably not have gotten the movie until some weeks later, so the photo was probably taken in 1936, about the time the house reopened. This might even have been the first movie shown in the newly remodeled house.

Patsy
Patsy on October 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

The August 2009 photos show a very nice renovation job!

Patsy
Patsy on October 20, 2009 at 10:16 am

Joe: Thanks for your historical information! Interesting to note that Eberson AND another man designed this one.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 20, 2009 at 2:41 am

The September 15, 1972, issue of Boxoffice featured an article about the 50th anniversary of the Rialto. The house opened on August 19, 1922, over a month after it had been completed. The delay was the result of a railroad strike which had stranded the Theater’s organ in a Cincinnati railyard. Henry Hall finally grew impatient and arranged for a ten-piece orchestra to substitute for the missing theater organ at the opening. The first movie shown in the new house was Douglas Fairbanks' “The Three Musketeers.”

The Boxoffice article gives a higher seat count at the time of the Rialto’s opening than the theater currently has, saying there were 526 opera chairs on the main floor and 200 additional seats in the balcony. Over 1300 tickets were sold for two shows on the opening night, at 10 and 25 cents.

The year after the Rialto opened, the Halls bought a competing Beeville house, the Mission Theatre, later renaming it the Rex. They operated the Rex until 1959. When the Rialto was gutted by fire in 1936, the Halls opened another theater called the Rio, intending it to be a temporary replacement until the Rialto was rebuilt, but Hall was still operating the Rio at least as late as 1972.

Patsy
Patsy on October 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm

This theatre has a red Vitrolite exterior. The work was done by Tim Dunn, Vitrolite specialist located in St. Louis MO.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Sam… magnificent Neon -just been added to my “Neon” collection… Thanks a million!

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on March 14, 2009 at 4:54 am

May of 2005 pics here.

Outside of building HERE
Closeup of H in sign HERE
Underneath canopy shot HERE. Looks like the neon or something has been changed under the canopy since original install. Notice the caps in the metal.
Peeking through the left side of the building HERE and HERE
On the right side of the building, behind the window that says Air Conditioning is this old barbershop. HERE and HERE and HERE.

Yeah, I know I am in the last shot!

JamesDirks
JamesDirks on May 16, 2008 at 10:37 pm

The Hall Rialto Theater Preservation Association is having an interior pre-construction open house party on May 20th, 2008 from 6-8pm. This Theater, originaly built 1922 Classical Rivival, burned in 1936 and re-designed by John Eberson in Art Deco/Modern design. Please come see.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 22, 2008 at 8:48 pm

There are two photos on texasescapes.com:
http://tinyurl.com/yuvzw3

PaulGerdes
PaulGerdes on September 2, 2007 at 12:44 pm

My Aunt Marion Agnes Stephenson (b.1908, d.1971) played that organ during silent pictures showings. She also played the organ during other functions/activities. She later married Clarence Joseph McBride of Laredo, Texas. The following link to photobucket has pictures of her and William Charles Stephenson and other members of this close-knit family.

View link

Additional Genealogical information related to the family is located at: View link

cwfrick
cwfrick on March 21, 2005 at 12:50 pm

am i correct to assume that the Halls that you are talking about now run rio entertainment, inc. ?

Patsy
Patsy on January 10, 2005 at 4:25 pm

So nice to read about this Eberson-art deco theatre being saved in Texas! It just goes to show that whether they seat thousands or just 542 patrons it doesn’t matter….saved over demolished is the right decision no matter what it takes! Amen! Seth: Old courthouses are an architectural favorite of mine, too along with fire stations and railroad stations!

Seth
Seth on October 21, 2004 at 9:19 pm

Paul, is she still in the bank lobby? She’s stunning. I’m a huge fan of old courthouses, and I haven’t seen any that really look like her. Most are the sword and scales variety.

PaulGerdes
PaulGerdes on October 21, 2004 at 1:21 am

ok, I just can’t pass up the chance to spread the word on the incredible talents of my grandfather, W.C. Stephenson.

here is a link to one of his sculptures.. if anybody is interested, I can send or post info from my website that has much more information about him.

http://www.beeville.net/LadyJustice/

and

http://www.beeville.net/WCStephenson/

PaulGerdes
PaulGerdes on October 21, 2004 at 1:14 am

Here is some more information on the Rialto/Beeville

Restoration project planned in Beeville

  • By Associate News Service

BEEVILLE – Optimistic Bee County residents gathered at the old theater in downtown Beeville on Monday to survey a restoration project they are undertaking.

Directors of the nine-member board of the Hall-Rialto Preservation Association have announced that they are in the process of purchasing Hall-Rialto Theater, originally designed by architect W.C. Stephenson and built in 1922.

The project actually began on Sept. 10, 1990, when, in keeping with the Bee County Historical Commission’s function of encouraging the saving of historical buildings, Mrs. Roland Beck Sr., Mrs. Wayne Dirks, John W. Galloway and James M. Goodman Jr. were appointed by the Commission to evaluate the feasibility of restoring the old theater, which was advertised for sale.

“After much going back and forth for inspections and discussions with the owner, we determined the building to be of great historical value as well as a useful facility for the community as a whole, and organized to undertake a restoration project,” said Mrs. Dirks, who now serves as co-chairman of the association with Mrs. Beck.

Also serving on the board of directors of the newly chartered non-profit corporation are Margie Palmer Carter, Easterling Davis, John W. Galloway, R. G. “Bob” Horn and Bill Whitenton. Other board members include Joseph Sydney Hall III and David Silva.

Included in the building will be the Ralph Whitenton-Rialto Barber Shop Museum.

“We are inviting anyone interested in assisting with the restoration and preservation of the Hall-Rialto Theatre to call 358-3016 or contact any member of the board,” said Beck.

Lif
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from an on-line publication of The Beeville Publishing Company P.O. Box 10 111 N. Washington St. Beeville, Texas 78104-4508 361/358-2550 361/358-5323 (Fax)

PaulGerdes
PaulGerdes on October 21, 2004 at 12:53 am

Hey guys.. Google does wonders… I’m the grandson of W.C. Stephenson, the Architect of the Rialto/Beeville.. here’s a bit of info on the building from Beeville.net

39 – THE RIALTO

The Rialto was built in 1922 as the flag-ship of a 22 theater chain for H. W. Hall and family. The Classic Revival theater was designed by W. C. Stephenson, a noted local architect. Mr. Stephenson designed the 1912 Bee County courthouse as well as many other local landmarks.

After a 1935 fire destroyed the interior of the theater, it was remodeled in an elaborate Art Modern style. The theater redesigned by John Eberson, a noted architect in 20th Century theater design, incorporated a varied mix of Art Deco and the Moderne with a touch of the Craftsman. Eberson is well known for the design of the Majestic theater of San Antonio.

The Rialto reopened in 1935 to serve as a cultural center for Beeville and the surrounding area. John Wayne, Jeff Chandler and Jimmy Stewart made personal appearances at the theater to raise money for the War Bond Drive for WWII. The Rialto also provided a venue for civic activities.

The 1936 Rialto was the only theater between San Antonio and Corpus to have refrigerated air. Other innovations were chairs curved to fit the back and the latest design in head-phones for the hearing impaired.

After sixty years of operation the Rialto closed in the mid 1980’s. Future plans are to restore the theater to its former glory.
Photos and More

More pictures see
www.Beeville.Net/Rialto

Seth
Seth on June 30, 2004 at 9:39 pm

I forgot to mention that this was the first Hall Brothers theater. They eventually owned a small chain of Rialtos across South TX. As a matter of fact, the marquee and ticket booth feature ‘H’ monograms, and the cornerstone calls it the Hall-Bro’s Theatre.

Seth
Seth on June 30, 2004 at 9:35 pm

I was wondering why my submittal of this theater never showed up. But now I see that the name was misspelled in the original post. The theater is the Rialto. The style isn’t really art deco, the theater is, after all, from 1922. Maybe art nouveau? I have a photo of the cornerstone, which says that W.G. Stephenson was the architect. I believe this was one of the first air-conditioned theaters in the nation.