Rialto Cinema

516 Flynn Street,
Alva, OK 73717

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Whatever confusion there may be about the pre-1949 history of the Rialto name in Alva, Boxoffice of March 5, 1949, reveals that the architect of the new Rialto that opened that year was undoubtedly Jack Corgan. His rendering of the proposed building was published in that issue of Boxoffice, and it matches the photos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2009 at 9:52 pm

There’s some confusion about the theaters in Alva. Even the October 15, 1949, Boxoffice Magazine article about the new Rialto contains within itself some conflicting information.

One paragraph says that the first Rialto was a successor to the Liberty and was opened in “… an old, barn-like auditorium that also housed a grocery store and garage….” This is supposed to have taken place after the Liberty burned, which the article says happened on October 12, 1934. The item also says that the razing of the first Rialto began on July 5, 1948, and the new Rialto was then built on the same site (this part is probably accurate.)

However, another paragraph of the same article says that in 1928 Homer Jones “…purchased half interest in the Alva Theatre Company, which was operating the Liberty and Rialto.” A few lines later it says that Jones “…left the Liberty in 1931 to devote full time to the Rialto.”

So, was the first Rialto built in 1929, as the intro above says, or earlier, if the Alva Theater Company was operating it when Jones came to town in 1928 as Boxoffice says, or in 1934, after the Liberty burned, as Boxoffice says? Or did Jones actually operate three successive Rialtos in Alva?

Boxoffice doesn’t identify the source of its information for the 1949 article, but it contains so much detail about Jones’s career that he himself, or someone very close to him, must have been the original source. Most likely the copywriter garbled some of the information about the earlier Rialto, or Rialtos.

The various on-line sources of information about the Rialto and other Alva houses are sometimes not consistent with one another either. The Enid News item from 2008 says that Jones “…purchased the Rialto in 1929.” The OkieLegacy site’s item on the Jones family appears to have taken some of its information from the Boxoffice item I cited (using the first Boxoffice tale about the original Rialto but not their second tale), but also says that Jones owned another theater in Alva which burned in 1933.

Somebody will probably have to do some research in the archives of the area’s newspapers, in articles and ads from the period in which the various theaters were operating, in order to sort out the facts.

What is clear from the Boxoffice Item is that the new Rialto was operating by October, 1949, and that it had 800 seats. The 600 seat figure in the intro to this page must be for the original Rialto, though the seating capacity of the triplexed house of today might actually be pretty close to that if the auditorium had 800 seats on opening.

DonLewis
DonLewis on May 6, 2008 at 1:13 pm

A 1999 view of the Rialto Theater in Alva.

xxx
xxx on October 24, 2005 at 2:07 pm

Alva had five theaters, all around the town square, large and small, (Liberty, Opera House, Pix, Ranger, and RIALTO). Click here to see them all;
http://community.webshots.com/album/37080327UvSytP
and here for history of 1907 New Opera House:
http://community.webshots.com/album/37080327UvSytP

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 9, 2005 at 11:26 am

Listed in the Film Daily Yearbook’s 1941 and 1943 editions as the Liberty Theatre. By the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. it has been re-named Rialto Theatre.

brentclarkf
brentclarkf on May 9, 2005 at 10:09 am

Here’s a “Grand” theatre that is worth the trip! It’s right in the heart of Alva, OK. For those of you who think it’s a long way to travel to go to a movie just go to Enid and you’re almost there. It’s worth it. Enid has lost all of its interesting theatres, so go to Alva.