Rialto Theatre

43 Weld Street,
New Bedford, MA 02740

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Owner Ozie Tessier

A lost theatre of New Bedford. The Rialto Theatre was operating prior to 1927, and continued until at least 1955.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 8, 2005 at 8:31 pm

The address was 43 Weld Street, not Wild.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 27, 2006 at 8:08 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Rialto has an exterior photo taken in May 1941. There was a narrow entrance at the right end of a rather imposing, but small, brick building. There was a small vertical sign over a fancy rain canopy. The Report states that the theater was located at 43 Weld St., that it had been playing MGM product for over 10 years; that it was over 15 years old; that it was in Fair condition; and had 800 seats.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 22, 2007 at 4:56 am

The 1990s (?) booklet The Avenue – Memories of Acushnet Avenue, by Carmen Maiocco, doesn’t say anything about the Rialto Theater. But there is a hand-drawn map of the Weld Square area. It indicates that the theater was across from the old Weld Square Hotel and next to the police station and library in 1960. Weld Square is where Acushnet Avenue meets Weld Street.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 16, 2010 at 11:39 am

The Rialto is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 885 seats and open daily.

AlanHemenway on June 2, 2011 at 1:36 pm

When I was 11-12 years old in 1955 I used to take the bus from Sconticut Neck to go stay with my friend on Weld Street. We would go to the Rialto every Friday night; sometimes on Saturday to the Capital. The Rialto always had a chapter serial that was continued next week. This place was small. Kids were in the balcony with about 8 rows with no more than twenty seats across. The balcony was almost 1/3 the capacity of the whole theater. I’d say that there were only about 550 seats. My father was a projectionist but didn’t work this little theater because it was non-Union.

The photo above is Purchase Street at Weld, by the old Car Barn, which converted into senior housing. The highway covers the location today. The police station was where Weld St, Acushnet Av, and Ashly Blvd met, and the Rialto was next door, and could easily be mistaken for being on Acushnet Avenue.

classic3d on February 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

July 1945 Motion Picture Showmen “Although there was tough sledding those days, I had a hunch back in 1907 that the film business would be good to follow,” declares Oze Tessier. Sticking with it did pay dividends. Today Tessier operates the Royal and Rialto in New Bedford Mass. His daughter, Telly , married to Russell Turner, assists as casher. Tessier’s hobbies are a 12-acre farm, raising purebred horses and gardening. “It took patience in the old days, but I knew things would improve and today it’s a pleasure,” says Tessier. The farm is at South Dartmouth.

Motion Picture Showmen A Compilation of Biographies Copyright 1945 Boxoffice Magazine Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

In 1920 a Bijou Theatre is listed at 49 Weld Street. Anyone know if this is the same theatre?

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