Intermission Extended

Mar 14, 2012

Recently, I wrote about the impending removal of the historic Rialto Theatre’s famous sign. As of today, there may be hope: structural engineer Michael Krakower has been hired to formulate a plan to shore up the sign and make sure it will be able to remain in place. Krakower previously worked on Pasadena’s historic Raymond Theatre.

Don’t start sighing with relief just yet, however. The sign is still slated to come down, unless Landmark and Krakower can convince the city that all future plans for the sign are safe. After that, building officials must approve the plans. For more on the story, check out Patch’s coverage here.
I’m no expert, and this is all hearsay, but I spoke to a structural engineer who told me that given what he could see, a plan for securing the sign should not be an issue. One film producer even told me that he could have a crew fix the sign in a couple of hours if given the chance. A contractor standing outside the theatre when I was taking pictures told me he’d seen worse safety violations in home renovations.
Do I have hope? Yes. Am I convinced we’re in the clear? Not yet. Though I’m reminded of Dustin Hoffman’s fantastic portrayal of producer Stanley Motss in Wag the Dog. When presented with a seemingly insurmountable problem of war, he would joyfully compare it to a catastrophe he had averted when shooting a film.
“This is nothing!” He said at one point. “Did you ever shoot in Italy? Try three Italian starlets wacked out on Benzedrine and grappa, this is a walk in the park!”
I sincerely hope that fixing the sign really is a walk in the park. But I also hope that this issue of sign safety and neglect finally forces the hands of those in control of the gorgeous treasure box theater sitting right in the heart of South Pas. The Rialto is just waiting to be polished and reopened, with its jewels given back to the greater community.
Trust me on this: I’ve seen very recent photographs of the interior of the building taken from just about every angle. It’s even more spectacular than many of you realize, and it’s in surprisingly great shape from the pristine light fixtures to the exquisite carved details.
In fact, it’s still downright dazzling in there.

You hear that, Landmark? We still have a long way to go, but let’s try to channel a little Stanley Motss. “You think you’re in a spot?” He asked. “You think this is a tight spot? Try making the Hunchback of Notre Dame when your three lead actors die, two weeks from the end of principal photography!”

More as this develops.
(Oh Mr. Cuban, I’m still waiting to hear back from ya… 🙂 )

For updates, make sure to join us at the Friends of the Rialto: website
Or friend the Friends of the Rialto on Facebook

Read the Full Story at Glimpses of South Pasadena



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