Friends of the Rialto

Friends of the Rialto Share memories and stay informed on the latest news about the historic Rialto!
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This group was originally founded in 1985 by Escott O. Norton to bring attention to the beautiful Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena, to aid in research and restoration, and to celebrate the Rialto's 60th Anniversary. The Rialto is entering a new stage as Mosaic Church becomes the new leaseholder. Friends of the Rialto continues to advocate for the theatre and will be working with the church to make sure the Rialto is preserved and protected. This page will keep you updated on the latest news and activity at the Rialto.

Rialto Wurlitzer Update!  The Rialto's organ console has been safely moved to Rosales Organ Builders in Los Angeles. Fri...
05/29/2020

Rialto Wurlitzer Update! The Rialto's organ console has been safely moved to Rosales Organ Builders in Los Angeles. Friend and organ restoration expert Kevin R. Cartwright will be systematically restoring the console to working order, while preserving the handprinted casework. There is no current plan to reinstall the organ, but Friends of the Rialto will continue to push for the return and restoration of this rare instrument to the Rialto Theatre where it belongs!

Here's the latest on the exterior renovation of the Rialto from our friends at the SouthPasadenan. We can fill in some m...
05/22/2020
Rialto Theatre Restoration | Beloved Icon Receives Fresh Coat of Paint | The South Pasadenan | South Pasadena News

Here's the latest on the exterior renovation of the Rialto from our friends at the SouthPasadenan. We can fill in some more details though since Friends of the Rialto has been leading the color selection process.

After a detailed microscopic color analysis of the building was performed by KC Restoration, we presented the findings to the owners and then to the city. Based on the findings we determined the original colors for the stucco, trim, and the 2 original colors for the blade sign. These were approved by the city and work commenced. We then brought KC Restoration back to take samples from the lower marquee, which was installed about 15 years after the Rialto opened. By this time the building and blade sign had been repainted multiple times so we were not sure whether the lower marquee colors would work. According to the microscopic color analysis the lower marquee has also been repainted at least 10 times! We recommended that the first 2 colors be used on the lower marquee, a decision supported by the oldest photo we have of the lower marquee when it was pretty new. It shows 2 different shades, with the vertical bands being a lighter shade.

We are very excited to see the exterior getting the attention it deserves after decades of neglect. Thanks to the owners for doing this work, and collaborating with Friends of the Rialto to make sure the colors are historically accurate!

When was the last time anyone saw the facade of the greatly renowned Rialto Theatre with a luminous red coating? Most likely not in most a South Pasadenan's recent memory, but painters worked thr

05/09/2020
Tampa Theatre - The Show Will Go On

A message of hope from our friends at the Tampa Theatre and the League of Historic American Theatres.

This is a time of unprecedented hardship for theatres and cinemas all around the world. But we will come through this crisis, as we have other crises through...

We focus on the architecture of the Rialto and other historic theatres all the time, but the real human value of a theat...
04/24/2020

We focus on the architecture of the Rialto and other historic theatres all the time, but the real human value of a theatre is measured by the shared experience, coming together with friends and family to watch a show! Just look at the faces of these kids waiting in line in front of the Rialto!
Right now we are not able to go to the theatre and other group events for the health and safety of the entire community. I hope that when the restrictions are lifted we flock back to theatres and support the arts TOGETHER!

- Escott O. Norton, founder - Friends of the Rialto

We focus on the architecture of the Rialto and other historic theatres all the time, but the real human value of a theatre is measured by the shared experience, coming together with friends and family to watch a show! Just look at the faces of these kids waiting in line in front of the Rialto!
Right now we are not able to go to the theatre and other group events for the health and safety of the entire community. I hope that when the restrictions are lifted we flock back to theatres and support the arts TOGETHER!

- Escott O. Norton, founder - Friends of the Rialto

The incredible Mark Herman, a good Friend of the Rialto, who has performed in movie palaces all over the country (includ...
04/17/2020

The incredible Mark Herman, a good Friend of the Rialto, who has performed in movie palaces all over the country (including at our own Rialto Theatre!), is presenting a livestream concert this Saturday! “Like” his page and tune in!

Please share! Tune in this Saturday at 5pm PDT (8pm Eastern Time) to watch me perform a LIVE concert at Bandrika Studios on its fabulous Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ! "Like" this page on Facebook to stay connected for this and future broadcasts!

Yesterday's article on the Rialto restoration includes an interview with Friends of the Rialto's founder Escott O. Norto...
04/07/2020
Rialto Theatre Restoration | Catching up on Progress Made in Face of Coronavirus | The South Pasadenan | South Pasadena News

Yesterday's article on the Rialto restoration includes an interview with Friends of the Rialto's founder Escott O. Norton, as well as an update from the owners. Even with our current world situation, some work continues!

Exterior restoration work on the Rialto Theatre is going strong. "After many decades of neglect, the Rialto is finally getting the attention she deserves!" Escott O. Norton, founder and pres

Independent theatres are facing devastating losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As much as we want to we can't go see a...
03/26/2020

Independent theatres are facing devastating losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As much as we want to we can't go see a movie and support them so theatres are looking at creative ways to keep engaging the audience. Laemmle Theatres, an 80+ year old family owned local chain specializing in independent and foreign films, has come up with a way to show movies to their patrons and collect a share of the revenue. They are calling it Laemmle Virtual Cinema, and at this point the only way to access it is through their emails. Three new movies were announced today, with three more coming soon. You can join the mailing list at the link below. Until we can sit together in movie theaters again, please consider supporting Laemmle Virtual Cinema. https://www.laemmle.com/connect

With a little more time on my hands I finally got to exploring my copy of the latest edition of Robert Winter's Architec...
03/24/2020

With a little more time on my hands I finally got to exploring my copy of the latest edition of Robert Winter's Architectural Guide to Los Angeles, considered by many to be the "bible" of local architectural guides. And guess what I found? Friends of the Rialto is mentioned in the listing for the Rialto Theatre! I consider this a huge honor, and while I haven't read the entire book cover to cover, I don't see a lot of non-profits mentioned! Thank you all for the continued support and for spreading the word about the Rialto! - Escott O. Norton, Founding Director

P.S. If you don't have this book on your shelves, get it! I have a clean copy on my shelf and a beat-up copy in the car!

03/22/2020
Joe Rinaudo

Friends, since we can't go to the Rialto or ANY theatre right now to enjoy live entertainment, I want to let you know about a very special live concert happening tonight at 6pm! The amazing Joe Rinaudo, restorer and performer of precious hand cranked movie projectors and other unique contraptions will present a "CoronaVirus Quarantine Concert" from his livingroom on the Style 20 American Fotoplayer! If you have never heard Joe on the Fotoplayer you are in for a real treat! Fotoplayers were used to accompany silent movies in theatres that didn't have full organs or orchestras, and didn't even need a musician because they could be operated using a player piano roll. There were thousands of these instruments made, only about a dozen are still working. Don't miss this very rare concert, tonight March 22, at 6pm!

Joe Rinaudo's prized possession is his style 20 American Fotoplayer. The machine was built in the early 1920s to give musical accompaniment to silent movies. It plays music via two piano rolls and is augmented with organ pipes and sound effects galore.

COVID-19 should be taken seriously. There is good advice out there and also quite a lot of panic and bad advice. Please ...
03/13/2020

COVID-19 should be taken seriously. There is good advice out there and also quite a lot of panic and bad advice. Please use reason, follow advice from qualified sources, and take care of yourselves and others.
In addition to those whose health is at risk, many people will be affected financially. Jobs will be lost, businesses will shut down, potentially forever. Cancelling some public events is a necessary step to take in the short term, many theatres and sporting events have already done so and I expect more will soon. This will be disastrous for smaller arts organizations and small businesses. Here is something you can do to help:

1. If you were planning to buy a ticket to a theatre or special event and decide not to go, please donate the equivalent amount (or more) to the arts organization of your choice. They still have to pay the bills whether the show goes on or not. Your support could mean the difference between surviving or closing.

2. If you are avoiding going to your favorite small local business in the short term, consider buying gift cards or gift certificates now, the income will help get your favorite local business through these trying times.

3. For the theatres that remain open, support them by buying a ticket for a show or movie. Most theatres staying open have put in place more stringent sanitizing practices, and with less people in attendance you can keep your distance. The W.H.O. recommends keeping 1 meter distance, which is not too hard. Here is more info from the W.H.O.: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

Stay safe and healthy, we can get through this together!

-Escott O. Norton, founder - Friends of the Rialto

We've added a bunch of new photos showing progress on the exterior renovation.  We are also doing a presentation on our ...
02/19/2020

We've added a bunch of new photos showing progress on the exterior renovation. We are also doing a presentation on our involvemnt in the process at the Cultural Heritage Commission Thursday, Feb 20 at 6:30pm. The meeting is open to the public and in the Council Chambers at 1424 Mission Street. Join us!

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Photos by Escott O. Norton - Friends of the Rialto

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Pho...
02/19/2020

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Photos by Escott O. Norton - Friends of the Rialto

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Photos by Escott O. Norton - Friends of the Rialto

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Pho...
01/18/2020

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Photos by Escott O. Norton - Friends of the Rialto

This album will document the exterior restoration of the Rialto Theatre, which started the week of January 15, 2020. Photos by Escott O. Norton - Friends of the Rialto

Exciting News!  After many decades of neglect the Rialto is finally getting the attention she deserves!  Scaffolding is ...
01/15/2020

Exciting News! After many decades of neglect the Rialto is finally getting the attention she deserves! Scaffolding is up on the exterior as the Rialto owners start repairs on plaster and molding, fixing original windows, and a new paint job to return it to the original colors! On the interior, the tenant has pulled the permits to remodel the lobby, which mostly involves adding an ADA accessible bathroom in what was last used as the concessions back room, but was originally a bathroom.

Friends of the Rialto is working to insure the original colors are brought back for the exterior, and working with both owners and tenants to make sure all historic elements are protected, preserved, and restored. Thanks to the Shomofs (owners) and Mosaic Church (tenants) for working with Friends of the Rialto to accomplish a successful restoration!

This is LONG overdue and good news for the Rialto Theatre!  In short, the lease with Mosaic has been renegotiated so tha...
12/25/2019
Big Changes Slated for Rialto Theatre | Owner Reboots Delayed Repairs, Grants Mosaic Long-Term Lease | The South Pasadenan | South Pasadena News

This is LONG overdue and good news for the Rialto Theatre! In short, the lease with Mosaic has been renegotiated so that the owners will be responsible for restoring the exterior and leasing the retail spaces, and Mosaic will be responsible for interior work only, some of it to be done by the owner’s team. This means restoration work will start much sooner!

It’s been difficult getting Mosaic to commit to allowing more non-church use of the Theatre, so we hope this change in responsibilities will help them do as they have said publicly. Friends of the Rialto will continue to work with all parties during the restoration and activation of the Rialto!

Under new arrangements worked out between the Shomof Group, owner of South Pasadena's historic Rialto Theatre, and its current tenant, the Mosaic church group, Shomof will take charge of and shor

Mosaic Church is hosting another classic movie screening at the Rialto Theatre, and this one is free!  Let’s fill the th...
12/04/2019
MOSAIC PRESENTS: Miracle on 34th Street

Mosaic Church is hosting another classic movie screening at the Rialto Theatre, and this one is free! Let’s fill the theatre and prove that we want more movie screenings!

MOSAIC SOUTH PASADENA INVITES YOU TO A SCREENING OF THE CLASSIC MOVIE: MIRACLE ON 34th STREET.

Happy Birthday! 94 years ago yesterday, on Oct. 17, 1925, the Rialto Theatre opened!What’s next?? Currently the theatre ...
10/18/2019

Happy Birthday! 94 years ago yesterday, on Oct. 17, 1925, the Rialto Theatre opened!

What’s next?? Currently the theatre is leased to Mosaic Church, and is only really used a couple days a week. We have been pushing for more than a year for the lease holders to allow us to rent the theatre to outside groups for film screenings, concerts, and special events. We will continue to try to activate the Rialto on a regular basis, while also monitoring and advocating for the proper restoration of this historic landmark.

There has been some forward movement on renovations, but it is not happening as quickly as we would like. Still, we would rather have the work done right slowly than damage done because work was being rushed through.

Please stay tuned here for accurate information, not rumors. We have built a good relationship with both owners and tenants, as soon as any news can be verified we will share it here.

Thanks for your continued interest and support!

Escott O. Norton,
founding director
Friends of the Rialto

A new development via our friends at the South Pasadenan.  What does this mean for the Rialto Theatre? Is Mosaic growing...
09/11/2019
MOSAIC CHURCH | Operating at the Middle School: Agreement is Drafted | South Pasadena News | The South Pasadenan

A new development via our friends at the South Pasadenan. What does this mean for the Rialto Theatre? Is Mosaic growing? Or moving? We've reached out to the Rialto's owners and Mosaic, as soon as we have anything official we will let you know here. Whatever happens, Friends of the Rialto will continue to advocate for restoration and reactivation.

At its meeting tonight, the South Pasadena Unified School District is set to consider a contract for up to five years allowing the Mosaic Church to use the South Pasadena Middle School auditorium, caf

Who remembers this?  There was an amazing time, I think in 1983, when the Rialto and Nuart showed EVERY Hitchcock film e...
08/25/2019

Who remembers this? There was an amazing time, I think in 1983, when the Rialto and Nuart showed EVERY Hitchcock film ever made! It was the best “film school” ever!

Our favorite Neon!
08/12/2019

Our favorite Neon!

Did you know there are still 2 pieces of original 93 year old carpeting installed in the Rialto?  This closeup shows som...
07/27/2019

Did you know there are still 2 pieces of original 93 year old carpeting installed in the Rialto? This closeup shows some of the original colors!

Two styles of original plaster corbels in the Rialto Theatre, still looking beautiful after 93 years! @ Friends of the R...
07/25/2019

Two styles of original plaster corbels in the Rialto Theatre, still looking beautiful after 93 years! @ Friends of the Rialto

Friends of the Rialto was on the scene during filming for Nightmare Cinema (available now on demand). Here are some behi...
07/04/2019

Friends of the Rialto was on the scene during filming for Nightmare Cinema (available now on demand). Here are some behind the scenes photos taken during the shoot!

In June of 2017, the Rialto Theatre was used as a location for the horror anthology film, Nightmare Cinema. The Rialto was extensively used as the wraparound for 5 different short films,, each by a different director. Mick Garris wrote and directed the wraparounds and one of the films. The other directors all came during the shoot for a quick still shoot. Here are a few behind the scenes photos I took during this fun shoot! If you like almost any style of horror there is something in Nightmare Cinema for you! Check it out!

Steve has been a Friend of the Rialto for years now, working behind the scenes and supporting our efforts.  When we were...
06/28/2019
Q & A With Departing Library Director | Steve Fjeldsted Talks Future Aspirations | South Pasadena News | The South Pasadenan

Steve has been a Friend of the Rialto for years now, working behind the scenes and supporting our efforts. When we were not able to program events at the Rialto, he put on free events at the Library that we co-sponsored. One of my personal favorites was a "sold out" screening of LALALand with a Q&A with the production designers that I hosted. A great memory! He has been a great booster for the community and will be missed. Thank you Steve!

A new chapter begins for Steve Fjeldsted, departing the South Pasadena Library after nearly 13 years as its city librarian. He officially leaves on June 27 in the role of director of library, arts and

I was invited to see Nightmare Cinema at the cast and crew screening last week and it was amazing! If you've ever enjoye...
06/24/2019

I was invited to see Nightmare Cinema at the cast and crew screening last week and it was amazing! If you've ever enjoyed any kind of horror movie there is something in it for you! The movie is made up of five dramatically different stories, each from a different director. You will find yourself alternatively laughing, cringing, cheering, and hiding under your seat!

The Rialto Theatre is the fictional cinema in the title, and is the "wraparound" for all of the stories. She looks great, both beautiful and creepy! I have seen almost everything shot in the Rialto and I guarantee that no other movie has shown as much of the Rialto as Nightmare Cinema! I strongly urge you to see it in a theatre with a group of people, this kind of movie is an even better experience when shared! Click the link to see where it is screening, or get together with your friends and watch it online. - Escott O. Norton, founder, Friends of the Rialto

http://crankedupfilms.com/nightmarecinema?fbclid=IwAR0mTkMJJffpQtXW9IiiMDnrIrFd_1eNx76RKBENOURTtrfVqG6AkDzqMPM

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1023 Fair Oaks Ave
South Pasadena, CA
91030

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TRUE BEAUTY NEVER DIES
It would be great to have a theater instead of another church in the neighborhood.
AS A CHILD I WOULD GO TO THE RIALTO EVERY SATURDAY IN THE 1950'S. I FIRST SAW THE ''WIZARD OF OZ'' THERE, I WAS SO AMAZED AS A CHILD OF 7 I STAYED AND WATCHED IT AGAIN- ONLY ONE PROBLEM, MY PARENTS DIDN'T KNOW I WAS AT THE SHOW AND IT HAD GOTTEN DARK. WHEN I GOT HOME THEY WERE FRANTIC. I GOT THE BEATING OF MY LIFE. STILL LOVE THE MOVIE AND THE RIALTO BRINGS BACK SO MANY GREAT MEMORIES. ANOTHER THOUGHT, BETWEEN THE TWO MOVIES THEY WOULD HAVE A RAFFLE AND GIVE AWAY CANDY IF YOUR TICKET WAS PULLED OUT OF THE RECEIPT BOX. ONCE A YEAR THEY WOULD RAFFLE A BIKE. SO MUCH FUN.
To screen this film at The Rialto....contact [email protected]
::FREE CONCERT AT THE RIALTO:: Mosaic presents MSC Worship Night. Wednesday 8pm. Go to mosaic.org/events for tickets.
FREE-South Pasadena Public Library screens "Best F(r)iends Vol.1" the 2018 Black Comedy with cult film stars Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau. Also Special Guests and Q & A with the stars by Carl Kozlowski, Pasadena Weekly Film Reviewer and Arts Editor. Thursday, November 29 at 7 p.m. Library Community Room. 1115 El Centro Street
2 Free theater seats from the Rialto. They are free standing (2 arms each). We bought them, they need cleaning, but I've run out of steam. Free to the first person who can come and get them. Please send a message to me if you would like them. I'm in Highland Park.
One year ago I was rooting for La La Land to win the Best Picture Oscar because the Rialto starred in the movie, and it ALMOST won! (Friend David Wasco, DID win for Production Design for La La Land!) This year, the Rialto is not featured in any nominated film, so I am rooting for The Shape of Water. Director Guillermo del Toro shows his love of classic movies and this film, and I love that the characters live above a (fictional) historic movie palace! They shot the interiors at the real Elgin Theatre and the exterior shots at Massey Hall, both in Toronto, Canada. Here's a good article on the filming locations, but there are spoilers so see the movie first! www.atlasofwonders.com/2017/12/shape-water-filming-locations.html Congratulations to all of the nominees, what a great year for movies! Escott O. Norton - Founding Director, Friends of the Rialto
is the place open today? can the public come visit inside?
Walked by the theatre just a few days ago. Tell me about the medallion on the sidewalk. Says 100 years in 1988. Flyer on window said says 90th Birth day in 2015.
If you need an architect for this historic theater, we've got some experience! Keep us in mind.