Rialto Theater

735 E. Lake Street,
Minneapolis, MN 55407

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Carisch Theatres, Finkelstein & Ruben, Paramount Pictures Inc., Publix

Architects: Jack J. Liebenberg

Firms: Liebenberg and Kaplan

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: New Rialto Theater

Nearby Theaters

December 1954 photo courtesy of Larry Kleebauer Sr.‎

The Rialto Theater was opened in 1913. It was remodeled in 1937 by architectural firm Liebenberg & Kaplan in a Streamline Moderne style. It shows their style and is similar to other neighborhood movie houses designed by the firm. In 1969 it went over to screening foreign art house movies and closing in September 1970. In February 1971 it reopened as an adult movie theatre and was twinned in 1975. It was demolished in 1991

Contributed by Sean Ryan

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Sean Ryan
Sean Ryan on November 17, 2003 at 9:30 pm

1953 view of the theater:

View link

dreamspinner3 on January 20, 2004 at 1:14 pm

I remember driving by the Rialto theater as a kid in the late 1970s—it was owned by Ferris Alexander, Minneapolis porn-king, and showed x-rated movies. I think it was torn down in the 1980 atfter Ferris Alexander was tried & convicted for tax crimes.

kencmcintyre on August 29, 2006 at 2:16 pm

This is a 1956 photo of the Rialto:

northstar16 on December 23, 2006 at 12:48 pm

Four historic photos of the Rialto:
http://tinyurl.com/yff2t6 (ca. 1917)
http://tinyurl.com/yhzcnt (ca. 1920, after a fire)
http://tinyurl.com/yfbeha (ca. 1920, same fire)
http://tinyurl.com/ygtgzk (ca. 1953) The photo Sean tried to post a few years ago.

KJB2012 on July 12, 2007 at 8:44 am

Yes, the 1937 Rialto was indeed designed by Jack Liebenberg.

CJ1949 on September 9, 2012 at 2:11 am

1915 construction; Finkelstein & Ruben/Publix. Paramount bought out F & R around 1930, then the local corporation was called Minnesota Amusement Co. For a brief time in 1946 they changed the name to Mindako Theatres but that didn’t take, and it reverted back to Minn. Amuse. Co. The theatre was closed only 5 weeks in 1937 for the Liebenberg remodeling. The Rialto usually was on a 42-day or a 49-day run. The Uptown (also Paramount) was on a 28 day clearance and had that spot exclusively for decades. Paramount/Minnesota Amusement had the theatre until 1960 when it was sold to the Lyle Carisch circuit. Carisch sold in 1969 to Richard St. Marie, who owned the Gopher News distribution company. “I Am Curious Yellow” opened in Sept. 1969 and played over 8 months. The film distributor, Grove Press was impressed enough with the grosses to buy the theatre but “I Am Curious Blue” died at the boxoffice. Grove Press distributed documentaries and eclectic foreign and cult films from their offices in New York. A top officer in the company was quoted in the Mpls. Star newspaper that they found it tough going to operate a theatre in Minnesota from New York. In September 1970, Grove Press showed the last general audience films that would ever be shown at the Rialto. Local porn king Ferris Alexander purchased the theatre and reopened it in Feb. 1971. The theatre was twinned in 1975 and was demolished in 1991.

DavidZornig on July 20, 2017 at 1:02 pm

December 1954 photo added courtesy of Larry Kleebauer Sr.‎

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