Riverview Theatre

3910 Granby Street,
Norfolk, VA 23504

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

MSC77 on October 9, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Sharing the link to a recently-published chronology of the Tidewater region’s 70mm presentation history. The Riverview Playhouse is mentioned quite a few times in the piece.

rivest266 on July 27, 2022 at 5:06 pm

Opened on October 8th, 1947. Grand opening ad posted.

Jefferydp on August 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Who owns this now? I have an investor that is very interested.

Coate on April 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm

It was 50 years ago today that “The Sound of Music” premiered at the Riverview. With a reserved-seat run of 115 weeks, it’s almost certainly the long-run record holder for this venue. (Anyone know of something that ran longer?) It was one of ten runs in the United States and at least 24 globally that ran the movie continuously into a third year.

snowfire on January 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm

I was raised in this theater. My dad was the projectionist. Saw many movies and had all the free popcorn I could eat….lots of great memories. Would love to know if it’s still for sale and would be interested in helping to bring in back.

HOUNDDAWG on November 30, 2014 at 3:05 am

My dear, departed mother went to The Riverview every week when possible to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC for over 120 viewings. (She sometimes watched it twice the same day)

I’ll always remember how she seemed to float each time she exited the theater.

Powhatanarrow on November 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm

I hope this theater can be saved. I have many fond memories of it when I was 14 years old. I went to see the Ten Commandments in 1957 every week it played here.

paulnelson on November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Marquee is stylish and like the letering and neon.

vtal2000 on July 9, 2013 at 8:41 am

Tripnjive, I work with the owners of this property. We would be interested in speaking with you. Please call 757-434-3316. Be sure to leave a message and we will be in touch.

tripnjive on August 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Tyler10. Would love to talk to you about your experience with the civic and business league. I myself failed to get the owner/realtor to return my calls. It seems other friends of mine have had a similar experience. Let’s talk.

WheatPennyLane on October 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Tyler10- I’ve lived in Virginia Beach but have been shuttled between Norfolk and Virginia Beach all my life. I have also thought about the purchase of this theater and restoring it.

I’m going to see what proper channels I must go through and see if anyone in the working for the City of Norfolk can help me with civic league issue.

Tyler10 on August 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Unfortunately, The riverview I believe is condemned and is an unsafe structure…The last I heard the theatre was selling for $775,000 with the parking lot. The neighborhood that it is in, the civic league doesnt want any sort of music, or restaurnat or even a movie venue in the neighborhood, so it just sits and sits. I had a brilliant business plan for the re-opening of the Riverview, the $$$ was there, developers, A had such a large group of supporters, but I was ignored, and there it sits…

Hello, this is for High Plains Drifter…I was just wondering what your plans were for the theater. Did you want to make it a revival theater? I too would love to re-open the Riverview and make is something amazing. I would love to hear your ideas.

jeffconn on March 4, 2009 at 9:02 am

Spotted a sign posted on the Riverview today:

630-2342 773-2338”

That’s area code 757, by the way.

Ampex175 on February 4, 2009 at 5:43 am

The Sound of Music ran from April 1965 to December 1967 at the Queens Cinerama theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The venue had recently been converted from 3 strip Cinerama to TODD-AO with Philips DP70 (Norelco AA) projectors and OMA6 sound. The deeply curved screen was 73 feet wide x 31 feet high. Sadly, the theatre closed in 1980.

There may indeed have been longer runs. I know that South Pacific ran for well over 4 years at the Dominion theatre, London.

Coate on December 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm
" 'The Sound of Music' opened at the Riverview theater on April 7, 1965. It ran there for nearly three years reportedly breaking all national records for the longest continuous run of this musical." -- posted by bufffilmbuff on Mar 18, 2008

"This theater is noteworthy as having the longest run on record for any USA theater for the original release of 'The Sound of Music' in 1965." -- posted by JeffreyK on Aug 2, 2008

I’m curious why some people believe the RIVERVIEW was the host theater for the longest running engagment of “The Sound Of Music” and what sources are claiming such? I ask because I’ve done some research on the matter and the info I come up with is “The Sound Of Music” played the RIVERVIEW Playhouse from April 7, 1965 – June 19, 1967. If I’ve done the math correctly that would be a run of 115 weeks, an incredible feat, for sure, but certainly not the longest. My research reveals that longer North American runs took place in Portland (116 weeks), Seattle (117 weeks), Omaha (118 weeks), San Diego (133 weeks), and Toronto (146 weeks).

spectrum on December 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm

The 1945 Theatre Catalog has an article showing the plans for the Riverview Theatre. I would assume it was built sometime between 1946 and 1948. Art style is streamline mocerne, it seats 700 and architect were Lublin, McGaughy and Associates. The building includes storefronts to the right of the main entrance. A lobby leads back to an oval shaped foyer, with the auditorium going off to the right. Unfortunately the article did not have any photos of the interior but the plans indicate it had no balcony.

JGKlein on August 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm

This theater is noteworthy as having the longest run on record for any USA theater for the original release of “The Sound of Music” in 1965. That squeaky clean, happy movie came along at just the right time, with the country still recovering from the shock of President Kennedy’s assassination and the growing cynicism about the war in Vietnam. Norfolk couldn’t get enough of that film, with people going to see it again and again. I recall reading that during its initial run, a girl went to see it once a week, and twice on her birthday. (Now that’s a little obsessive by my standards, but hey, if it made her happy, why not?)

I recall that about 1973, “The Sound of Music” was reissued with the tag line “The wait is over! You can thrill again to the happiest sound in all the world!”, and it again played the Riverview Theater. Newspaper ads at the time boasted that the Riverview held the record for the film’s initial run in 1965.

I had a friend who worked there as an usher in 1969 and saw the initial roadshow presentation of “Hello, Dolly!” hundreds of times. Later, the Riverview fell on tough times and had to show adult films to keep afloat, and my friend who once worked as an usher at the Riverview later saw “Deep Throat” there. Now that’s a contrast â€" going from exhibiting “The Sound of Music” to “Deep Throat”. (My late friend was quite a character. He dressed in a trenchcoat, hat, and dark sunglasses to the screening of “Deep Throat”.)

About 1978, Old Dominion University leased the building and presented live theater. I was in a production of “Man of La Mancha” there in 1979. Since the theater was built as a movie house and never intended to be a live theater with dressing rooms, it was quite cramped backstage.

LindseyAW on May 2, 2008 at 8:04 am

I’ve lived in Norfolk all my life and have always wanted to have the Riverview open as a playhouse/theatre. If anyone at all has a way I can get in contact with the owner please let me know. Even if my chances are slim, I’d still like to try.

bufffilmbuff on March 18, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Here is an interesting item from a site concerning the Riverview area in Norfolk where the theatre was located:

“The Riverview was once a state-of-the-art movie theater. The Sound of Music opened at the Riverview theater on April 7, 1965. It ran there for nearly three years reportedly breaking all national records for the longest continuous run of this musical. Mal Vincent once reported in a Virginian-Pilot article, "The Riverview kept a lone print of the movie so long that the studio, 20th Century Fox, finally threatened court action to retrieve it.

It was common for patrons to return to see the movie many times. In the same article Mal wrote, “Lola Newton, the concession stand worker at the Riverview, told the press that she saw the movie twice a day, six days a week throughout the run—well over 990 times.”

I only saw three movies there…. the road show of HELLO DOLLY (sadly a 35mm print though it was in stereo sound—-I still have the special program that was sold there), NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA, and a reissue of PORGY AND BESS. Wish it could be restored though the odds seem to be against it.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 18, 2008 at 6:02 pm

The widescreen, large-format cinematography, 70mm TODD-AO, 6 track stereophonic sound, music filled soundtrack, presentation of “The Sound of Music” was shown as a reserved seat “raodshow” engagement at this theater. It opened April 7, 1965 and played for over a year!

I lived in Norfolk at the time and I remember reading in the papers that either the Riverview or perhaps it was all SOM theaters had someone from Robert Wise, 20th Century Fox and/or TODD-AO check out the theater/s to make sure SOM would be projected and sound as perfect as possible!

“The hills are alive with the sound of music.” Oscar Hammerstein II 1895-1960

vincentpghpa on October 6, 2006 at 9:56 am

Still interested in this. It would be great as a record store during the day and concerts and cult films in the evening.

Bands all day on sundays.
If anyone knows mr. Levin please have him get in touch with me.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 5, 2006 at 5:24 pm

LEVINE THEATRICAL ENTERPRISES is the chain for this theatre.

HighPlainsDrftr on June 7, 2006 at 3:01 pm

The address is in correct.