Rialto Theatre

41 Main Street,
Woonsocket, RI 02895

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Additional Info

Previous Names: Lynch's Theatre, Smith's Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Rialto Theatre

Lynch’s Theatre was opened on September 11, 1908. This was a major theatre in downtown Woonsocket. By 1922 it had been renamed Smith’s Theatre. By 1926 it had been renamed Rialto Theatre. It was still open in 1955. but had closed by 1955.

It was demolished many decades ago.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

From an article on Woonsocket theatres in The Providence Journal.

Copyright Providence Journal/Evening Bulletin May 16, 1985

“Shortly after the turn of the century, Lynch’s Theatre opened across the street [from the Olympia] at 41 Main. From its original vaudeville fare it switched to movies, changing to the Rialto, offering "Entertainment to Chase the Blues Away” and “Free! Beautiful! Five Piece Dinette Set. Bring your green coupons” (according to a 1944 ad)."

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm

An item in Boxoffice magazine, November 30, 1946 mentions the reopening of the Rialto after having been closed for nearly two years:

To Reopen at Woonsocket
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – The Rialto, 800-seater, is to reopen after being shuttered since February 1945. Maurice Saffner, owner, said the theatre’s policy would be reissues, and foreign films, with the house being managed by his son, Melvin Saffner.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

Italian films shown at the Rialto, item in Boxoffice magazine, August 28, 1948:

The Rialto, Woonsocket, R.I., will reopen September 20 with its regular policy of re-issues and first run foreign films. The house is owned by Maurice Safner but is the “baby” of his son Melvin, who is manager. The foreign element of Woonsocket is predominantly French (about 30,000) but the theatre has a large followig of Italians from surrounding cities and towns. Thus, such films as “Shoe-Shine,” “Panic” and “Open City” have been a good draw at the Rialto, which was closed for the summer months.

[Note: of the three titles mentioned, “Panic” is a French film, the other two are Italian. In Woonsocket, the Laurier often showed French films over the decades.]

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Rialto reopens for reissues plus French and Polish films. Item in Boxoffice magazine, November 16, 1946:

The Rialto, Woonsocket, R.I., owned and operated by Maurice Safner, closed since February 1945, will reopen this month. The house will play reissues and French and Polish films to cater to the large foreign element in the Mill city. Prices will be 50 and 16 cents. Melvin Safner, son of Maurice, who manages the Olympia across the street from the Rialto, will operate. The Safners now manage four houses, including the Laurier in Woonsocket and the Lafayette in Central Falls.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm

The Rialto Theatre had a fire in July 1924 which almost destroyed the theatre.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 7, 2015 at 10:52 am

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Rialto; Card # 565. There is an exterior photo taken May 1941. Address is 41 Main St. Condition is Fair. It was showing MGM films. There were 577 orchestra seats and 223 balcony, total 800.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 15, 2019 at 9:46 am

The Rialto was previously known as Lynch’s Theatre.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 18, 2021 at 4:18 am

A previous name for this theatre was SMITH’S Theatre, per a 1922 directory.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 28, 2021 at 8:27 am

A good early history of Woonsocket’s theatres can be found in The Woonsocket Call, June 1, 1942. Find that issue by searching here: http://woonsocket.advantage-preservation.com/

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 28, 2021 at 11:40 am

Lynch’s Theatre first opened on September 11, 1908. Ad posted in the photos section.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.