Here's the Rialto Theater during a major renovation circa 1930. The marquee advertises several 1930 releases with dubious plots: "Good Intentions" (a racketeer's sudden passion for the straight-and-narrow life is due to his falling in love with a society débutante), "Hold Everything" (A man is mistaken for a champion fighter), as well as "The Big Jewel Case" and a Mickey Mouse short.
But the real story here is that this theater is installing a new RCA Photophone sound system. "Talkies" have arrived with this early "sound on film" system for synchronized film and audio. If that new technology wasn't enough to attract a crowd, the fact that the theater had air-conditioning must have been a big draw on hot summer days.
Sadly, the coming of talkies meant the days were numbered for the Rialto's beautiful pipe organ. The Rialto itself survived four more decades before fading to black. Here's a recent view of this spot.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
Looks like components for the first Bose "surround sound system"!
Dr. Steelhead Catcher on 3rd May 2011 @ 2:33pm
Didn't Scott Johnson and friends travel south and get the old organ for the museum? It is still in parts, as I understand, waiting for someone to help put it back together plus funds to do so.
Judy Judd on 4th May 2011 @ 11:11pm
The organ is back in Hood River after many years in Coos Bay, and is undergoing restoration so it can be displayed at the museum.
Arthur on 5th May 2011 @ 7:32am
That is exceptionally cool about the old organ. I love theater organs and really miss the Organ Grinder. It would be cool to find out about organs in Hood River. I used to visit Dan Smith when he played the organ in the church on Eugene Street (Episcopal church, maybe?). I am not familiar with any others.
David on 6th August 2011 @ 12:20am
Scott Johnson headed up a group to retrieve the organ from the Egyptian Theater in Coos Bay after a group of us from the Museum went there to scope it out. That was 7 or 8 years ago. How it got to Coos Bay is another story. BIG expensive to get it here, put it back together and to get it working again. Should have a special fund raiser for it. Scott was a big hero to the museum for this endeavor and many other projects.
Ellen on 4th March 2015 @ 9:37am