100 W. Race Street,
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Rialto Theater, Searcy (Official)
Previously operated by: Commonwealth Amusement Corp.
Architects: Carl Boller, Robert O. Boller
Firms: Boller Brothers
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Grand Theatre
The old Grand Theatre on West Race Street was razed in 1923 and rebuilt that year. Five years later, the name of the theater was changed to the Rialto Theater. In 1939, the Rialto Theater received a beautiful Streamline Moderne style facelift, complete with a new facade, neon-lit large marquee and elegant interior decor. The Rialto Theater was again remodeled in 1949 by the Boller Brothers firm when it was part of the Commonwealth Amusements circuit.
This wonderfully maintained theater is now owned by the city of Searcy and leased. It is one of only a small number of single-screen historic movie houses in the state that still operates daily and features weekend matinees.
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Recent comments (view all 5 comments)
Here is a 2004 article about the Rialto:
The view on Google is interesting. Almost standing under the marquee when the photo was taken, as opposed to the usual drive-bys.
You may try zooming out or turning left or right, it’s clearly from a car. Narrow streets though, and not much of a sidewalk.
This is my hometown. When I moved there in 2004, the Rialto’s lights were mostly still working. Now, I think just one neon bar lights up at night. I interviewed the theater’s owner (Victor Weber) a couple years ago. He showed me that the building’s walls are several inches thick. He also still uses an antique ticket dispenser at the box office window. Weber used to own lots of other theaters in the county (most of them closed or gone by now).
His favorite movie is “Gone With the Wind.” :)
Looking at the latest streetview, the marquee has been repainted and all the neon looks like it works.