Rialto Theatre

616 S. Fourth Street,
Louisville, KY 40202

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The Rialto was considered the finest and most costly (at one million dollars) theatre in Louisville. It opened in 1921 and was closed in 1968 and demolished in 1969.

It had chandeliers of Bohemian crystal, a great marble staircase, walls of Rockwood tiles. It was Louisville’s first grand movie palace, but is now the site of a parking lot.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Scottoro
Scottoro on May 6, 2005 at 4:17 pm

The last film to play the Rialto was “Doctor Dolittle” with Rex Harrison.

BeltwayBrian
BeltwayBrian on May 24, 2005 at 12:40 pm

Another fine example of Louisville’s short sightedness. Next you’ll tell me they’ve closed the Showcase Cinemas on Bardstown road, or maybe even the Vogue on Lexington road.

clzoeller
clzoeller on June 27, 2006 at 3:16 pm

I was assistant manager of Louisville’s Rialto Theatre from January 1968 until it closed on July 31, 1968. I was the last person to leave the theatre the night it closed. It was a sad day for Louisville and me.

The Rialto’s architecture style was French Renaissance. It was very similar to the Palace Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. The Rialto was Louisville’s first Cinerama theatre, converted in the early 1960’s. It continued to play roadshow engagements until its demise.

Scottoro
Scottoro on October 3, 2006 at 8:41 am

I met Robert Wise about five years ago when he was giving a lecture at DreamWorks, where I work. I told him I was from Louisville (Mr. Wise perked up because was from Indiana) and that The Sound of Music had played at the Rialto, Louisville’s grandest movie palace, for an entire year, reserved seat. His face lit up and he seemed genuinely surprised and immensely pleased.

DonLewis
DonLewis on December 11, 2006 at 4:54 am

A colorful post card rendetion of fourth avenue, the RIALTO and a LOEWS/UNITED ARTIST (now the Louisville Palace Theater).

A closer look at the Rialto marquee shows that “CAREFREE” with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire was playing.

www.flickr.com/photos/lastpictureshow/319625969

kalpal
kalpal on April 19, 2009 at 8:01 am

Need info on a magician named “ASKA” who was represented by the manager of the Rialto in Louisville? It would be between WWII and 1964 since the address for the theater is Louisville 2, KY, ratehr than having a zip code. The suits worn by the magician appear to be vintage 1950s.

DonLewis
DonLewis on May 9, 2010 at 9:01 pm

From 1942 a postcard image of the Rialto Theatre along with a view of the Loew’s State marquee on the right.

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