We still have movie theaters in Hood River today but can they boast a "Golden Voiced Wurlitzer?" In 1940 the Rialto Theater was promoting Don Ameche in "Four Sons" and Broderick Crawford and Jessie Ralph in "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby."
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Interesting to see how it was before my time. I do remember that organ. I think, but don't know for certain that it was operational in my time.
Do we know who owned that little barber shop or the restaurant/store? Bill Pattison you should have an idea here.
That car is a what? Looks pretty similiar to my Grandpa's car, which was green and I think a Plymouth. I remember riding in the front seat of it and not being able to see out.
Charlott on 21st January 2015 @ 7:05am
Interesting arrangement for the stove pipe in the building to the left of the Rialto. Maybe a design to help control downdrafts?
The chains that hold up the marquee (or whatever it is called) over the front of the Rialto building look to be quite oversized. Wonder if they were salvaged off of some retired river vessel?
Longshot on 21st January 2015 @ 8:41am
I think the front of the theater was remodeled not long after 1940, because the front I remember stayed the same into the 1960's. I do remember that as a kid, I could go to a show there for 14 cents. Then I could get a drink and Milk Duds for a nickel each.
Bill Seaton on 21st January 2015 @ 8:56am
While not sure of the details, we still have one of the hand counters father John L. used to count patrons attending performances...I believe he was hired by the movie distributor to do this in the late forties or early fifties. Great balcony in the Rialto.
Arlen Sheldrake on 21st January 2015 @ 9:03am
I couldn't remember where the Rialto was located. If you click on the tag for Rialto, Arthur has a link to "today's view" location.
Is that a brick smokestack to the right?
l.e. on 21st January 2015 @ 9:09am
l.e., the tile in the facade of the building next door is the clue as to the location. It's the parking lot between Boda's restaurant and Adaptive Computers: https://goo.gl/maps/ATnjK
Oak between 4th and 5th, N side.
Arthur on 21st January 2015 @ 9:29am
Is this the organ that the museum now has?
judy on 21st January 2015 @ 10:37am
So, is that building still standing, The Rialto? I don't remember the arched windows now. So the remodel must have changed the entire facade, to what we see today? And Bill, those Milk Duds you bought, those were Holloway Milk Duds, I remember those as a kid. I thought, hey, that's my name!
James Holloway on 21st January 2015 @ 7:05pm
I think the theater was managed by a Mr. McSwain in the 1960 era. I went to school with his son Baynes McSwain. Baynes died years later defending his country in Vietnam. His name is on the court house plaque if that still exists.
Roger Sheldrake on 21st January 2015 @ 7:13pm
I remember most candy was 5 cents, but the chocolate Flicks were real expensive and cost 15 cents.
Baynes McSwain was my step-father.
The building was torn down years ago and turned into a parking lot.
Jeffrey Bryant on 21st January 2015 @ 7:45pm
Sorry Jeffrey, if this is a bit painful, but when I read this article in the HR News, I thought about photos living on.
That is what this site is all about. The photographers are gone, but the photos live on.
From Dec. 28, 2012 HR News:
Recently, in San Marcos, Texas, a group of photos were found by Linda Thompson, a Seguin, Texas, resident, at an estate auction stored in an old tool box. Curiosity and a love of old photography saved the images and a young man’s artistry was rediscovered.
#The photographs were taken by Sgt. Baynes Ballew McSwain Jr., a Hood River native who, along with seven other members of A 2/12, 25th Infantry Division, were killed in action in the Republic of Vietnam on Oct. 10, 1968. Killed while trying to retrieve a wounded comrade, McSwain was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor.
#He graduated from Hood River High School in 1968. His parents were Baynes and Elizabeth McSwain of Hood River, who owned and operated local movie theaters from 1949 to 1983.
#The photographs were on exhibit in December at the Walker’s Gallery located in the San Marcos Activity Center.
#Thompson said, “These photographs highlight McSwain’s creative talent and a unique perspective. Many of the photos are of the men in his unit, local villages and pictures of children from a nearby orphanage.
#“Bayne’s legacy is carried in the hearts of his comrades, and now through his images,” said Thompson.
l.e. on 21st January 2015 @ 9:13pm
Baynes McSwain actually graduated from HRHS
in 1965. We were classmates. He was a good guy, and his death was so very sad
Jeanie Senior on 22nd January 2015 @ 12:11am
Baynes McSwain, Sr. was my step father. His first wife and all three children have passed away.
I was able to obtain copies of a few of the photos Baynes the younger took in Vietnam. He was a good photographer.
Jeffrey Bryant on 22nd January 2015 @ 3:03am
On a brighter note, on Sundays in the afternoon in the 50's, the boys and dates used to go down the left aisle and sit adjacent to the aisle. Then to Pop's place. Then off to the orchards to park and still get home early enough to be wide awake for school on Monday morning. Amazing how we survived without computers and smart phones.
Buzz on 22nd January 2015 @ 6:03am
My sister-in-law and her sisters used to work at the theatre. I think that is probably where my brother met her.
I always bought Jujy Fruits, as you could get your monies worth from them, as you could just let them slowly melt in your mouther. That 5 cents was precious in those days.
I always liked to sit in the upstairs as you could see a whole lot better....
charlott on 22nd January 2015 @ 7:13am
when looking at current street view the "space" where the parking lot is looks narrower than the theater. Is part of it still there maybe?
dk on 22nd January 2015 @ 7:34am
That whole building fit in the space of the parking lot. I think there is something about a classic design that makes it seem bigger than it really is. I've noticed the same thing with the Mt. Hood Hotel, which seems much bigger than the parking lot at Pietros.
Arthur on 22nd January 2015 @ 7:47am
drove by there today and its much bigger than google maps makes it look.
dk on 22nd January 2015 @ 9:11pm
The museum gals confirmed, the organ that they have is from that Rialto. It is still waiting to be re-assembled and ready to play. Quite an undertaking and a lot of $$$ My friend Phyllis Dalleske Mockler worked at the theater.....that was when Derald first saw her. When the building came down, you could see old Coca Cola ads painted on the side.
judy on 23rd January 2015 @ 7:38pm
what a great institution it was and could have been still
Sad! Many great memories of first dates and family
I loved the classic bowling alley also with the pay phone and all!
Well! Think a lot before demolition. Too bad the mcmennins weren't around!
Bern Mortensen on 24th January 2015 @ 3:04pm
By the early 1960's the Rialto wasn't the only show in town. During warm months on the weekend a tent would be set up in the parking lot behind the Thriftway store on the Heights. For two bits we could watch cartoons, such as Woody Woodpecker, IN COLOR. Color TVs were a rarity. When a family bought one down the street we thought it was a travesty, since their kids were wearing rags and about the only color show was "Disney's Wonderful World of Color." We got by with black and white TV for a long time.
Jeffrey Bryant on 26th January 2015 @ 3:43am
What great stories and memories. I moved to Hood River in 1970, and I have only a foggy memory of the Rialto. I was a regular at the Trail Theater and knew Baynes McSwain from there and the golf course. I'm sad to hear about Baynes Jr. I would thank him for his brave service. Thanks to Jeffrey and Jennifer for sharing your memories. Baynes was a nice guy and a good business man.
Shawn Ellsworth on 29th January 2015 @ 9:12pm
An extensive remodel of the Rialto Theater began in January of 1945. This information comes from the "Yesteryears" column of the Jan. 28, 2015 edition of the Hood River News.
Bill Seaton on 31st January 2015 @ 11:15am
In a partnership with his brothers, Baynes McSwain operated theaters in Hood River from 1949 until his retirement upon selling the theaters in 1983.
Foster McSwain, the adoptive father of Baynes McSwain, had movie theatres in Ada, Oklahoma starting in 1917. The McSwain Theatre is still operating there. Blake Shelton was regular performer at the theatre for two years before moving to Nashville and recording his first chart topper, "Austin."
Jeffrey Bryant on 31st January 2015 @ 4:54pm