and wouldn't you like to get your hands on some of then to restore them.? Have one of my own in Wagga Wagga it started life as a world war two aircraft hangar moved on to be the general purpose hall for a teacher's college after the war then briefly a live theatre now a ruin but it has a steel frame can't easily be knocked down, can't easily be restored doomed for ever to be in limbo
Mind you, there were a lot of people who just said "TEAR IT DOWN! TEAR THE DAMN THING DOWN!"
GOOD GOD! Thank god they didn't.
My friends from New York City who have been on national tours, have told me they think it is the most beautiful theatre they have ever played in!
In fact, a couple of months ago I went down to the Rialto to see Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight" for the sixth time seeing it live in various locales. Fifteen years ago I took my now wife on our first date to see him there at that time. His show is a touchstone in my life.
I had seen it originally on CBS television in 1966 that made me and many others of my generation want to become professional actors, which I did. I worked with Mr. Holbrook' s lovely and most talented wife, Dixie Carter, in New York. I was fortunate to meet him a couple of times to thank him personally for inspiring me to become an actor. A most lovely and intelligent and extremely talented man. A great soul. He has been touring with the show for 52 years whenever he gets the chance. How many actors do you know of today would even consider doing that?! At the age of 82! God knows, he does not need the money!!
So many memories of Saturday matinees of double features for kids. And other great first run movies as I grew older. A Bike Raffle for a Schwinn every week on Saturday matineees! (I never won!) But what a beautiful, gorgeous, stunning place and palace to see a show or a movie in.
I went about fifteen years ago to see the movie "Oklahoma." The theatre was featured on Turner Classic movies. We got there late from Chicago and sat in the last row of the balcony, where I often sat as a kid. There were five year old kids in front of us and one of them said to his parents, "Mom, Look over there!" It was that big and majesterial of a place to capture a five year old's imagination, just as it had done to mine! They were enthralled! Not like the cinematic multiplexes of today.
Some friends, far bolder than I, would sneak onto the bridges and ride them up when they rose. It was kind of a secret sport in town.
But the magic of the movie palace, a place where the immigrants from Europe (Poles, Irish, Slovenians, Germans, Italians, Slovaks, Greeks, Russians. etc. Joliet was a little Chicago) could enter a most Royal looking theatre; that they were denied in Aristocratic, snooty Europe, was democracy of entertainment at its best. And we got air-conditioning, which no one had!
So many of us from Joliet who went into Show Business share those memories when we talk.
A very few very brave and bold people stood up against the overwhelming populace of Philistines and said "No, you will not tear this remarkable piece of history and architecture down."