Thursday, August 23, 2007

Childhood memories - faded glory

A landmark from my childhood is closing down. Water damaged, peeling painted, condemned Rialto.
I grew up in a small suburb of Los Angeles, South Pasadena. Oh, we have are claim to fame. Several movies and TV shows (The Player, Halloween, Back to the Future, 30 Something) have been filmed there. The Rialto was our only theater. Built in 1925 she began with vaudeville. I remember Saturday afternoon matinees. I'm sure we spent a big dime to get in and spent the hot summer day wondering with Casper, the Lone Ranger and Road Runner. As a teenager, and more wise to pinch my pennies, we would first go to the Thrifty's up the street to buy our candy (again for a dime) and then enjoy them at the movies. The Rialto had a balcony, but, you know, you only went up there for you-know-what!

I saw the Godfather there, when I was much too young. I saw Gone With the Wind (no, not in 1939!). Romeo and Juliet. Rocky Horror Picture Show (they showed that, for several years, every Saturday at midnight). She went through a period of showing classics and foreign features. My Brilliant Career. Gosh, I loved that movie. Gallipoli. Oh, how I cried after that one.

Well, according to many, it's past her prime. To expensive to upkeep and not in keeping with the mega-plex stadium seating. It's only big enough for one screen. So until some gazillionaire can undertake her upkeep, it's closed.

I think the saddest part of this goodbye is how it ended - with the Simpson movie. Come on! The Rialto is a classic, a homage to yesteryear, of finer times, grace, style, dignity. Not Homer's DUH! I'm disappointed.

Many memories in that building (NO, no make-out sessions by me, thank you very much!). But the memories are with me, not 2000 miles away


Valerie said...

"The Last Waltz at The Rialto"

I too was thinking of my favorite memory from The Rialto. Do you remember when we went to see "The Poseidon Adventure" with mom and a big group of Pauline's friends on a Saturday night? It was always fun and cool to hang out with Pauline's friends or any friends for that matter at The Rialto.

Also, I remember a big discussion in our home when Pauline was seeking permission to see "Carnal Knowledge" with her friends. When was that? It must have been rated R and she probably just turned 17?

Yes, I too remember seeing movies I was far too young to see at the time, like "The Godfather," "Animal House", and all the arty movies in the late 70's, early 80's. I saw "Papillion" w/ you, Barbie. Yes, I remember seeing "Gallipoli", and I'm surprised, Barbie that you didn't mention seeing "The Last Waltz" over and over again. You had a crush on Rick Danko and I thought Robbie Robertson was gorgeous, silk scarf, cigarette dangling from mouth, mischievous smile and all.

My favorite candy that I would buy from the counter were Flicks, shaped like a smaller Hershey's Kiss in a cylindrical foil tube colored red, gold or blue. What happened to those?

It's funny, when I go to the movies today, I think I still sit in the exact same spot I sat in at The Rialto back in the day, center, ¾ up, or sometimes on the right side, ¾ of the way up.

I'll miss The Rialto, but like you, I have fond and funny memories. I can't wait for the Fox Fullerton to reopen in 2010 and start building memories for many years to come. When it does re-open, one of my first requests to the management: "The Last Waltz!" And Barbie, there's a plane ticket in it for you, if that happens!

Valerie said...

I just thought of another really inappropriate movie I saw with either you or mom at The Rialto: "Shampoo." I was only 10 and you were ? Barbie or mom, how could you!

Oh and also I remember seeing "The Graduate" there.

One thing I do remember about seeing movies back in the day is that movies were often re-released years after the initial release date. Kids, that's back before beta, vhs or dvds. So "The Godfather" may have had an initial release date of 1972, but it was re-released a couple of years later at first run movie theatres, and that's probably how and when I saw "The Graduate." Because I can't imagine seeing it when I was 2 in 1967. But I do remember that mom wanted to see 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I did see that when it was originally released in 1968, and I was only 3! Remember, I have that bizarre photographic memory.

Paul Merrill said...

We had lunch with Marti & the Battenfields today - and we were remarking how memories are the only way we will experience some things ever again.

But then there's heaven - full of Rialtos, with no tarnishes!

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

Ahh, the lat waltz, yes I remember. But I think my most vivid memory of a movie I knew I shouldn't have been watching (with my MOTHER!) was that THX something, George Lucas' first movie. I remember thinking, "This is so weird, all these bald people, what the heck is going on?" But I was at the movies and that's all that counted.

Suzanne said...

Remember Patty Duke???? You all do have lots of movie wonder you're so good at the games!!!

Kristiem10 said...

Aww, I hate to see a historical site being shut down. Too bad it's not getting restored.