Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Sign at Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena is Coming Down

Copyright Lea Antonio 2007
Sad day.  The Rialto Theatre's sign --- crumbling, peeling, rusting and glorious --- is coming down for safety reasons.  I for one have always considered the Rialto Theatre, in its Spanish Baroque splendor, the centerpiece of our small town, and am so sad that the building will lose its crown.

As recently as a few years ago, you could still see lines forming on Fair Oaks Blvd. at midnight for screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Shining, and Halloween, which was filmed right here in South Pasadena.  We sat on the uncomfortable seats, with the springs poking painfully into our bottoms, hoping that the armrest wouldn't fall off in the middle of the movie.  But that was all part of the "experience" --- a little throwback to a simpler time when widescreen televisions and 5.1 sound were unknown.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to paint the Rialto sign while it was still a thriving part of our community, and I look forward to the day when it can re-crown our small town treasure.

South Pasadena Patch has posted an update, indicating that Landmark Theatres has hired a structural engineer to develop a plan which MIGHT enable the sign to remain on the building if it can be safely secured.  Details can be found here:


Escott O. Norton said...

Very nice painting! Thanks for posting about the Beautiful Rialto. I want you to know that the preservationists and my group, Friends of the Rialto, are working with the city and Landmark, (the leaseholder) to find the best solution. This might be removal or it might be strengthening it in place. If it is removed we will closely monitor the process and make sure it is stored in a safe place. If you want more info please visit my site,, or email me at

Lea Antonio said...

Thank you, Escott. I will indeed check out your site and courage my friends and neighbors who also love the Rialto to do the same.