Can We Save Our Rialto?

Sep 23, 2011

On Sunday, October 2nd, South Pasadena’s Rialto Theatre will be, once again, the main attraction. The revitalization symposium will begin with student filmmaker Miranda Gontz’s documentary of this historic gem, followed by expert speakers recounting their experiences restoring the Orpheum Theatre in L.A., the Alex in Glendale, and the Pomona Fox.

Built in 1925, the Rialto is a blend of Moorish, Spanish Baroque and Egyptian stylings. It originally featured live vaudeville as well as films, has an orchestra pit and seats 1,200. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places but is not considered a national landmark and therefore is not safe from demolition. A complicated trust ownership and a long-term master lease held by Landmark Theatres is another part of the problem in deciding the future or demise of South Pasadena’s hometown theater.

Some communities have changed the actual building purpose of their aging theatres, while others have reinvigorated the original venue and adapted it to modern standards. These changes became possible because of private investors, community-based nonprofit efforts, or a combination of the two.

The public is welcome to come learn, listen, and join the discussion. Help determine the fate of a grand ol’ lovely lady, the historic Rialto Theatre.

Revitalization Symposium on the Rialto Theatre
Sunday, October 2, 3-5 p.m.
South Pasadena Community Room
1115 El Centro St., South Pasadena



1 Response for “Can We Save Our Rialto?”

  1. There are MANY ways that the Rialto can be revived and restored into a cultural and social center for South Pasadena. 25 years ago I formed an advocacy group called Friends of the Rialto, and have recently revived it. Over the years I have researched successful historic theaters all over the country. We are talking to all interested parties with the ultimate goal of bringing the beautiful Rialto back to life as a Theater. We will have a display on Sunday, and you can join our Facebook page for current information: If you are not on Facebook, please e-mail me at and I will keep you in the loop!



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena