The spirits are restless at The Rialto. Can you blame them? For years they have haunted a glamorous relic, forgotten in an age of multiplexes, YouTube and 60 inch HDTVs. It’s not just the ghosts of moviegoers past — the children of the Depression whose nickles bought hope. It’s not just the spectres of all those film icons — Chaplin and Keaton, Pickford and Fairbanks, Brooks and Garbo and Deitrich and Wells, Valentino and Swanson and Bogart and Bacall — the players who flickered and faded, whose magic infused a layer of pixie dust into the pile of those plush velvet seats. It’s the phantom energy of so many dreams wished for within those elegant walls. Dreams of lives as pretty as the ones onscreen. Dreams of futures paved with stars, of heroic adventures on stormy seas, of love affairs so grand they could outlast war and famine. Those dreams still hover there, in that dusty old church of the everyman. They were dreams boosted by soaring musical scores and fueled by buttered popcorn. They were dreams shared in the dark with other dreamers.
Those spirits are restless. Can’t you feel their presence when you walk past? Come back, they say. Come back and bring us back to life.
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