...a major piece, in fact, though I'm not really going to go into great detail about the whys and wherefores.
Last Saturday night, the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena finally closed its doors. This time, the shutdown appears to be final...
Built in 1925, it seated only 1200, but took up more than a half-block on Fair Oaks Ave...
The Rialto's last operator ran a chain of "art" theaters. They never made much money, so the place deteriorated over the years to a point where, despite fresh paint in the lobby, it was a rathole by the time the end came. I took a shot of the lobby through the locked glass doors, would loved to have had a final look at the "East Indian"-style auditorium...
So what did the Rialto have to do with me? We'd have to go back to a summer night in 1965, when I was taken there for the first time. What I saw and heard that night led not only to my prime avocation but also to some long-lasting friendships and experiences I would not otherwise have had.
A fire in the early 1970s destroyed a part of the Rialto's interior. After that, I never had reason to go back there. Some of the visible damage remained to the end, I'm told, but it was worse than later movie-goers knew.
Memories of those wonderful days are so vivid -- I have recordings to refresh my memory when I wish -- that I can sit and replay some wonderful evenings there in my mind.
I hope someone saves the place. Given the screw-the-old, make-way-for-the-new mentality of those in charge, I strongly doubt that will happen.
Eighty-two years isn't a bad run, I guess.
1 day ago