Rialto Theatre

812 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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Showing 26 - 50 of 63 comments

nickb on March 12, 2008 at 1:34 am

An updated link for the photo Ken posted in October 2006. The caption dates it as circa 1920-29, but the Tower Theatre clearly puts it as 1927 or later, and I believe you can see the neon vertical of the Los Angeles Theatre (1931) over on the left. Does anyone know their ‘30s cars? (Or Conrad Nagel features?)

kencmcintyre on October 5, 2007 at 10:00 am

Here ia an LA Times ad from 7/4/25:

kencmcintyre on September 28, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Take a look at the interior photos of the State I posted a few months ago. That could be quite a venue.

davidreed on September 28, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Any info on the owner? Its a goodlooking house, not opulent but noting to dismiss…Maybe a comedy club or a revival house. Its a shame to see that mammoth marquee going to waste to advertise Womens clothing! How about….. LIVE FROM THE RIALTO – WHOOPI GOLDBERG
(or incert your favorite comedian) imagine a shot of the Restored marquee as the opening for a weekly comedy show on some network like HBO? Crazy, maybe, but what if!!??

patinkin on August 11, 2007 at 6:39 pm

I know what you mean about the tiles. Alot of those buildings on Broadway, Hill, Olive and Spring have those glass tiles, most of them
are over basement storage areas. When I was little kid, I snuk into the Bullock’s or May Company’s basement once, and there was one tile with a crack in it, and being the budding pervert that I was, climbed up some boxes and spent a mesmerised hour looking up women’s skirts on the sidewalk. Those things were a cool way to illuminate a basement.

vokoban on August 11, 2007 at 9:50 am

Glovedude…I’ve been in the Palace bathrooms which is a strange experience…you are under the sidewalk with those purple glass tiles above you with people walking over you as you go.

vokoban on August 11, 2007 at 9:47 am

What I’d give to be able to see one of those rats you saw and still have the theater intact…..You’re lucky you didn’t run into the Reverend Jim Jones there in the 70’s….I think I put a comment about it on the Westlake Theater page.

patinkin on August 11, 2007 at 3:47 am

Hey Vokoban…I remember going to the Westlake back in the early 70s. My friend’s mom would drop us off for a double-feature and then split. Ahhh, parenting in the 70s….no wonder we turned out this way. Anyway, I think the last thing we saw there was “Guide for the Married Man” and a Rock Hudson movie. I remember seeing rats running up the aisle every now and then.

patinkin on August 11, 2007 at 3:25 am

I’ve been to every downtown theatre at least once, and most, many times starting around 1962. My dad ususally picked the flicks, and I really hated his taste in movies, so I would go exploring every nook and cranny, even making it on the roof , crawl spaces, backstages, underground, even a few times the cat walks, with the theatre dark and everybody watching the screen, nobody noticed a little skinny Mexican kid wandering about. The only time I actually watched the films is when I got to pick the film, usually “Godzilla vs.Mothra” or “300 Spartans”, then and only then would I sit quietly. You know what was great about alot of these theatres? The restrooms. Those things were palaces by themselves. Fancy tiles. Mahogany wood. Thick carpet. Giant jardinieres and sand jars for decoration. I felt like the Sultan’s kid taking a leak in those places.

patinkin on August 11, 2007 at 3:14 am

This was one of those theatres where they would hand you a little bingo card with your ticket , I believe they called the game Keno, and they called the numbers during intermission. Many of the theatres downtown played this game, I suppose to bolster the number of dwindling cutomers. I remember my dad won once, but he had to share the pot with about 15 other winners, and I still remember to this day his cut….$6. The Tower had Keno, and I think the California did as well.

vokoban on July 29, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Yeah Joe, its almost as bad in there as the Westlake…..TRASH!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 29, 2007 at 6:10 pm

I thought the shop in the theatre was selling Esther Williams brand swim wear, as displayed by that rather disturbing collection of mannequin torsos suspended from the underside of the marquee.

vokoban on July 29, 2007 at 10:49 am

I hope you’re joking about Esther Williams….if not, rent The Mambo Kings….

kencmcintyre on July 28, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Here are some July 2007 photos. I think the Esther Williams film was part of the Conservancy program a few years ago:

kencmcintyre on July 14, 2007 at 11:28 pm

The Rialto was showing x-rated films in November 1969, per an ad in the LA Times.

William on June 4, 2007 at 5:12 am

You can see the marquees of theatres Rialto and Tower in the film “Let’s Do It Again”. Also in the shot is the Orpheum, but much smaller.

kencmcintyre on May 26, 2007 at 5:04 pm

True crime in February 1922, from the LA Times:

Twelve Hundred Dollars Taken From Messengers in Theater Crowd at Eighth Street

As they were about to drive away from the crowded corner of Eighth street and Broadway shortly after 10 o'clock last night with $1200 in cash and 6000 theater tickets, R.W. Neily and F.W. Peters, messengers for the Grauman Rialto Theater, were held up and robbed by three men in a large automobile.

vokoban on May 14, 2007 at 11:05 am

Thanks Lost Memory, I’ve put a bunch together of Main street here:

View link

There’s one that shows the Burbank and another that shows the Rosslyn.

vokoban on May 14, 2007 at 10:53 am

Here is a ‘then & now’ I put together that shows the Rialto from 1928 and now.

View link

RandyHenderson on October 31, 2006 at 6:17 am

The Million Dollar Mermaid marquee was for Mambo Kings, set in the early 50’s.

kencmcintyre on October 3, 2006 at 6:51 pm

Here is an exterior photo, circa 1920s:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2006 at 5:15 pm

An early 1920’s photo of the interior of the Rialto, as it looked following William Woollett’s 1921 remodeling for Sid Grauman.

kencmcintyre on June 26, 2006 at 5:27 pm

I doubt if anyone will wax nostalgic when the Wells Fargo building on Bunker Hill is razed fifty or sixty years from now. “That was a great skyscraper, wasn’t it?”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 26, 2006 at 4:16 pm

ken mc: I don’t recall ever having seen a picture with the Music Hall sign on the Tower.

Looking at that picture, I suddenly realized that almost all the buildings in it were then less than thirty years old. Everything looks so shiny! A lot of the buildings in the Bunker Hill project are now older than most of the buildings on that stretch of Broadway were in 1946. I wish I had a clearer memory of seeing downtown at that time, but I was only a rug rat, and about the only thing I remember clearly from the late 1940’s is those old two-color traffic signals with the “stop” and “go” arms that would pop up, accompanied by the ringing of a bell.

kencmcintyre on June 26, 2006 at 3:52 pm

Here is a 1946 photo of the Rialto, with the Music Hall a bit north: