Rialto Theater

102 S. Ocean Avenue,
Patchogue, NY 11772

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 16, 2017 at 9:50 pm

I believe there’s a piece of the Unique Theatre’s history missing. Our description for the Unique/Rialto says it opened in April, 1920, replacing the original Unique Theatre, but our page for the Unique says that that house closed in 1913 when the new Unique opened a few doors away.

It must be that the 1920 opening was a reopening, after the house had been rebuilt following a disastrous fire on July 10, 1919, which was reported in that day’s issue of New York City’s The Evening World. The World article said that the fire had started just after midnight, and had burned for several hours, the local firefighters ultimately needing the assistance of brigades from two nearby towns as well as soldiers from Camp Upton to put it out.

This web page has a scan of a four-page program from the Unique Theatre for the week of August 12, 1918.

The pre-fire Unique had an unusual feature, according to this item from the July 7, 1916, issue of The Patchogue Advance (now succeeded by The Long Island Advance):

“The most perfectly ventilated show house on Long Island is the Unique Theatre, with its open roof and large number of electric fans.”

robboehm on September 16, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Uploaded 1945 theater card.

robboehm on April 6, 2015 at 1:03 am

Additional photo as the Unique, looking north on Ocean Avenue, uploaded.

robboehm on April 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Photos uploaded of Rialto fire and building as the Unique.

robboehm on May 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Approximately a year after he opened the Patchogue Theatre in May, 1913 Mike Glynne acquired the Unique from Nathan Goldstein for a reported $65,000. The theatre was to be named the Rialto and would operate 6 days a week from May to October, Fridays and Saturdays the balance of the year.

robboehm on May 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm

The Rialto, and neighboring Patchogue, were acquired by Prudential in August, 1929. At that time Prudential also operated the Bay Shore, Regent (Bay Shore) and Babylon theaters. The Rialto was immediately closed for renovations and the installation of an RCA sound system.

robboehm on December 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm

The head of the Catholic church in RVC had approached the Lyric theater manager about not having Sunday viewing.

robboehm on December 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm

RidgewoodKen You had an interesting piece about Sunday performances at the Lyric in Rockville Centre in October, about which Ed Solero and I both commented, now deleted. Is it possible that you could restore it? If I see it there I’ll delete this. Had no other way of contacting you.

robboehm on December 13, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Glynn always specialized in large theaters, such as the Southampton, which Newsday always listed as “Glynns” in the movie time table long past the time when he was associated with it. But he also did acquire what is now the Sag Harbor, which is an intimate space. Odd.

Leighton18 on June 10, 2010 at 9:18 am

I saw all of the “biker” flicks (Peter Fonda/Nancy Sinatra) there in the mid-60’s; also some oddities like “The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustus”…it sure ran the gamut from A – Z! I remember the owner or manager turning off the movie one Saturday afternoon and telling the kids (us!)we’d have to go home if we didn’t shut up! I don’t remember what film it was. In the winter of ‘78 I was driving through Patchogue and it wasn’t there anymore; someone said it burned down. Made me feel sad. I believe “Sat. Night Fever” was screening there at the time.

Bway on April 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Just posting to renew the email notifications.

hockeymomnc on November 15, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Wow is right….I seen my 1st horror flick “Dracula” there, ben, Blacula, Even the famous……“Mark Of The Devil” where passe4d out vomit bags…. Needless to say I was only 10….But i was addicted to horror….The Exorcist nearly killed me….It was the most frightening movie I had ever seen….I slept with the light on for “6” months….I wasn’t supposed to be seeing a movie like that…I was after all Going To “St. Francis De Sales” Catholic school….Thanx for remembering something positive…..In this day and age It’s nice to talk about the way it used to be……
Lenore “Canaan Lake”

Bway on September 25, 2008 at 5:16 pm

They have recently built very nice condos on the site of this theater, and the adjoining lots.

Bway on July 16, 2007 at 7:37 pm

I have got to get a photo of the old Rialto site. I passed by the other day, and WOW, there are luxury condos or something going up on the site, it looks fabulous, especially because South Ocean Ave was desolate right there for so long.

drednour on July 7, 2007 at 8:22 pm

My mother,Dorothy Fuchs Francis worked at the Rialto in 1943-1944 as an usherette. It was there that she met my father, Bob Hurd who was in the U.S. Army & home on leave. His father was the projectionist there at the time (Alfred Hurd). My father was sitting in the auditorium watching the show & had his feet up on the back of the seat in front of him, & my mother whacked him on the feet with her flashlight (ushers & usherettes always carried them back then)& told him to get his feet down. The rest is history!!

Bway on June 5, 2006 at 2:13 pm

They are currently building a huge condominium/aprtment project right near where this theater was located. They have condemned an entire street nearby.

Raiona on April 27, 2005 at 6:19 pm


I’m at

Tony Raiona

Violet on April 26, 2005 at 9:16 pm

Wow…since we’re making connections…I’d love to learn whatever happened to Randy Lee, former Rialto projectionist, George Dipple, former usher, and Mark…um can’t remember his last name…but also a former Rialto usher!

PTG1949 on April 26, 2005 at 8:52 pm

If you would like to contact me:

PTG1949 on April 26, 2005 at 8:50 pm

Tony Riona- Do I know you??

NY80- Yes my brother is Peter Glass

valestrania on April 9, 2005 at 12:12 am

I saw my very first movies here, as a young child, circa 1964.

NY80 on April 6, 2005 at 4:06 am


Did you have a brother named peter?

Violet on March 25, 2005 at 3:39 am

I found an essay on line called: Yaphank, the Depression Years, written by the Yaphank Historical Society. Judging from the article The Rialto had to be around since the 30’s! I had no idea the Rialto was that old!

The few young people who graduated from high school [Patchogue] had no local job options…Adults, other than farmers, included
some building trade craftsmen. These were carpenters, painters, electricians and masons. Work for trades people
was scarce as there was little construction, either new or remodeling. Some small jobs at the time included home
additions at Old Field and Belle Terre, the addition of sound equipment booths at the Rialto theater at Patchogue and the redecking of the bridge over the Long Island railroad
on what is now Sills Road

Violet on March 25, 2005 at 3:18 am

Wow! What I wouldn’t give to have taken that photo…or any photos of the old theater for that matter. Everytime I see Cinema Paradiso it reminds me of the Rialto.

Raiona on March 21, 2005 at 1:02 pm


You’re right about the lot seeming so small now. I’ve commented on that to my wife, many times. The same thing with the movies there.
I left in 1966 and just prior to that there was a movie showing there with Natalie Wood and Robert Redford called “This Property is Condemned.” When the name of the movie was put on the marquee. the phone would not stop ringing with people calling asking if the theater was still open! Goes to show you what people thought of the place.