Monday, November 28, 2005


(Originally run 7/16/04 on our old site)

Becca Van Patten Smith

I really enjoyed reading about this. One of my first bad times was at the show. I don't remember if it was Saturday or Sunday afternoon, but my Dad dropped my brother and me off and drove back home and we would walk home after the show, down Race Street. We each had our dime to get in. I always gave my dime to my brother to pay our way in,,,,,, it turns out that this day the cost of the shows had gone up from a dime to 20 cents, so guess who was left outside, sitting on that very high curb, crying? Mr. King came out to find out what was wrong; when I told him I didn't have any money to get in because we didn't have the extra money he, of course, let me in and called my Daddy to let him know … and Irvin (my brother) got in BIG trouble when we got home. Daddy paid K.K. the 20 cents, too.

It was very good growing up in a small town.

Robert (aka Bobby Scott) Fuller

The Rialto memories have tweaked a few of mine.

When it comes to both the Rialto and the Plaza theaters, I was a lucky lad. John and Ruth Fuller, my uncle and my aunt, were good friends with K.K. and Ernestine King; they were members of a fairly good sized Poker club that met on Saturday nights. A by-product of that friendship was that I became good friends with Jackie, the King's daughter, who was just a bit older than I. On the Saturdays that Uncle John and Aunt Ruth hosted the Poker playing, Jackie came to our house in the morning and we put in a couple of hours of play out in the field or down by the creek. After we cleaned up, we were driven to the Plaza, where we saw whatever was playing there; afterward we walked up Spring St. to the Rialto to see the serial and cowboy movie. I felt so important walking into the theater without a ticket. That went on for several years until both Jackie and I left childhood and moved into adolescence. While Jackie and I no longer played and went to the movies together, I rarely missed those Saturdays at the Rialto.

Some of my favorite cowboys were (Not in order of preference) Tex Ritter, Tim Holt, Wild Bill Elliott (who played Red Ryder in some of his movies), "The Durango Kid" and Johnny Mack Brown; but my favorite was Hopalong Cassidy. Even today, as I do my morning workout with weights, I watch Hoppy on VHS tapes that I've made from our satellite TV.

(One of the funniest things I ever saw in my life was in Tokyo, on television: a Hopalong Cassidy film ... with a Japanese soundtrack! -tlp-)

And yes, as Ernie suggested, The Rialto was the place where Anita and I held hands for the first time.

Another memory of the Rialto is when I went to the first movie ("An American In Paris") after I had polio. "Deacon" King saved a parking spot on the east side of the Rialto, and my folks drove me there. Deacon then paused the movie previews, and I was hoisted in a side door to my seat. Of course that's still one of my favorite movies.

As years have passed, The Plaza - for me anyway - has become increasingly nostalgic. That's where all the "B" movies were. Many were what we might call "film noir." My memory is not too accurate about it, but I think the Plaza was only open on the weekends, maybe just Friday and Saturday. It was such a tiny house, with no lobby at all. I think they sold popcorn in little paper bags, but I can't remember where it was popped or where they sold it. I do remember the explosions when guys would blow up their empty bags and pop them during the movie. And the rumors about rats in the place meant that every kid there kept their feet off the floor.

Thanks, Ernie, for putting The Rialto back on the front burner. I hope others will throw in some memories.


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