Thursday, May 11, 2017

Final days of the Rialto, Louisville's million dollar movie palace

I actually knew the Rialto was closing even before this hit the newspaper. I called the theater to find out what the next feature would be after Doctor Dolittle.  I was shocked, and then July 26, 1968, this appeared in the Courier-Journal
and on July 31, 1968 there was this:  
It just seemed impossible and impractical.  How could they really do it?  How could they tear down such a wonderful place, threadbare carpets and all? They only needed $75,000?  It always sounded like a feeble excuse, even when I was fifteen.
 On November 19th, this article signaled its doom, though there was still some faint hope as late as November 27th it might be saved as an arts center. At the time it sounded like an awful lot of money.  It would probably be considered a bargain today.

And all that followed was bad news.

                    It sounds like a very sad affair except for the people who made some money that day.
 Ed Donaldson dropped one of the chandeliers he won in an auction.  No electricity in the building? How was THAT supposed to help anyone?
                                         They began tearing it down at 1 AM?  They just couldn't wait.
A few people objected, but obviously far too few.  The time had not yet arrived for people to demonstrate against such things, to sue to stop them or whatever it took. 

By the end of January, its remains were regarded as something you just had to step over.  Good old days indeed.

And finally, there was this worried article about the lack of a permanent performing arts venue. It would be many years before one was finally built.  A very sad end.

Articles appeared in The Courier-Journal in 1968 and 1969.

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