Rialto Theatre (South Pasadena, California)

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Rialto Theatre
Front view of theatre
Address1019-1023 Fair Oaks Ave. South Pasadena, California
Coordinates34°06′50″N 118°09′03″W / 34.1140°N 118.1508°W / 34.1140; -118.1508
OwnerIzek Shomof
ArchitectLewis A. Smith
General contractorWilliam G. Reed
Rialto Theatre
Built1925; 94 years ago (1925)
ArchitectLewis A. Smith
Architectural styleMoorish Revival[2]
NRHP reference #78000700[1]
Added to NRHPMay 24, 1978

The Rialto Theatre is a 1,200 seat theater in South Pasadena, California. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is considered one of the last single-screen theaters in Southern California.[3]


The Rialto was built in 1925 by Lewis A. Smith, who was also architect for the Vista Theater on Sunset Boulevard.[4] The Rialto's architectural style was described in The Los Angeles Times as "an odd mashup of Spanish Baroque and Egyptian kitsch."[3] The theater has an orchestra pit and its original design featured balcony seating along both sides of a deep stage.[5] The interior has several original murals and a drinking fountain made of Batchelder tile.[3]

The Rialto was operated by Landmark Theatres until it closed in 2007. The Simpsons Movie was the last movie shown in the theater, and 200 people attended the final screening. The building was closed to the public in 2010, after part of the facade fell onto the sidewalk.[3] There have been two fires in the building, and it survived an attempt in 1977 to turn it into a parking lot.[5]

Izek Shomof, a developer of older buildings in downtown Los Angeles, purchased the Rialto in December 2014 for an undisclosed price. Shomof indicated he will turn the property into an entertainment venue that will include a bar and possibly a theater to screen old movies.[3]

In 2016 the Rialto was featured as a location in key scenes of the hit movie musical La La Land.[6]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Robert F. Shryock (November 17, 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Rialto Theatre". National Park Service. and accompanying 15 photos
  3. ^ a b c d e Shyong, Frank (9 January 2015). "South Pasadena's historic Rialto Theatre sold to downtown developer". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Architects: Smith, Lewis" Pacific Coast Architecture Database Retrieved 13 January 2015
  5. ^ a b Shyong, Frank (5 July 2014). "Will South Pasadena's Rialto theater rise again?". Retrieved 11 January 2015.
  6. ^ http://www.travelandleisure.com/culture-design/tv-movies/la-la-land-movie-locations-to-visit#intro