Clio Logo

The Rialto movie house opened on September 6, 1922 with 1,000 people paying 20 cents for a matinee or 30 cents in the evening and on holidays. The first major film shown at the Rialto was Ben Hur in 1927, which was the exclusive area showing of the epic film. Shortly after the theater closed briefly to convert to 'talkies' from silent movies. After suffering a fire in 1931 due to faulty wiring in the organ. it was reopened as a fireproof ultramodern amusement center. In the early 1960's, the theatre was renovated for wide-screen stereophonic sound and one of the first films to be shown was Gone with The Wind, which played for approximately six months. Reflecting the changes in the movie industry during the 1970's, it was converted to a triplex. In 1996, there was a threat to convert the theater to retail. A strong movement by Westfield residents and the Westfield Main Street organization (subsequently Downtown Westfield Corporation} persuaded the developer otherwise through a 'Save the Rialto' campaign . This campaign became a model in working with national retailers for The National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street program in downtown revitalization. The Rialto was again renovated in 2009 and after celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2012, is now a state-of-the-art digital entertainment venue offering movies and live broadcasts.