Rialto Theatre

121 W. Market Street,
York, PA 17401

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Previous Names: Hippodrome Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Rialto 2012

Originally opened as the Hippodrome Theatre on September 1, 1913. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 4 ranks organ in 1925 when it went over to screening movies. By 1931 it had been renamed Rialto Theatre, and closed June 17, 1952 with Carl Esmond in “The Catman of Paris” & Robert Livingstone in “Valley of the Zombies”.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

57thst on July 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

This was the Hippodrome prior to the Rialto. It opened as a Vaudeville theatre and converted to movies sometime in the the teens or early 20’s.

John Simmers
John Simmers on July 10, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I didn’t know the old Hippodrome and the Rialto were one and the same. The Rialto was one of the theaters Warners Bros. operated in York (along with the Strand, Capitol and the Ritz, and the Lion in Red Lion). The Ritz showed Westerns, I’ve been told, and the Rialto was what was called an “Action House,” specializing in low-budget detective, mystery and horror movies and whatnot. The Strand and capitol were the Warner’s prestige theaters. The Rialto closed sometime in the 1950s when those kind of movies dried up.

Now here’s an interesting story and I’ve always wondered if it was true. When the Rialto closed a finance company took up residence in the lobby, and a false wall was constructed between the lobby and the former auditorium. I’ve heard that as recently as the 1990s, you could open a door and walk into the Rialto’s auditorium, frozen in time as it had been when the theater closed. I think by now the entire building has been taken over for bank offices, but who knows if any of the Rialto still exists.

57thst on July 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Thanks for the info John. I wonder who owns the building? I might venture down some afternoon and see if I can get in.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 11, 2012 at 12:22 am

Triumphal arch entrances had gone out of style by the 1920s, so the Hippodrome probably dated from the 1910s. The house was definitely in operation by 1923, when management came up with this stunt to publicize the Harold Lloyd comedy Safety Last.

57thst on August 6, 2013 at 11:56 pm

I added a picture of the Safety Last ad if anyone is interested in seeing it

Eveler on November 12, 2015 at 3:37 pm

Used to watch the 101 Ranch Boys perform on the stage of the Rialto on Saturday afternoon.

rivest266 on May 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Closed as Rialto in 1952.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 10, 2020 at 8:01 pm

The Hippodrome Theatre was listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory. There were ten movie theaters listed for York.

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