Friday, February 12, 2010

The Rialto

One from our Voraxical Theatre blog:

At one time, there were a great many theaters in Louisville, and of course, entropy being what it is, most of these beautiful places have been destroyed by some not-so-beautiful humans.

Case in point: the Rialto, which did a splendid business at 616 S. Fourth Street from 1921 to 1968. It was demolished in 1969 and turned into a parking lot, just like in the song. With its imported European crystal chandeliers, dazzling white marble staircase, walls covered in Rookwood tiles, enormous Pilcher organ, and breathtaking facade in the Italian Renaissance style, it was something truly marvelous to behold.

Reportedly, the last film to play the Rialto was Doctor Dolittle.

1 comment:

Scott Santoro said...

It was indeed a tragedy the Rialto was demolished. It would have found excellent reuse as a symphonic hall like Pittsburgh managed to do with its Stanley Theatre (now Heinz Hall). As a child, I saw several movies there, including Doctor Dolittle. Its Cinerama screen was relocated to the United Artists, which called it a D-150 screen, though the only two D-150 movies did not play there. The Bible played the Rialto and Patton played the Showcase Cinemas on Bardstown Road. D-150 was a 70mm process with a lens that supposedly corrected some of the distortion on a deeply curved screen. It took months to completely demolish it because the balcony was overbuilt with solid I-beams. Once it was torn down, it had a domino effect. One by one, the other theatres as well as restaurants, shops, departments stores, fell. The city should never have allowed the demolition.