Rialto Theatre Silver Screen May Shine Again

The Rialto Theatre today. Affeldt hopes to return the building to it’s original condition.

On a tour of the building, Affeldt explained that the previous owners basically just closed the doors and walked away. There were still films lying around up in the projection booth, so the theatre is still in very good condition.

He plans to keep the old seats, which are reclining and very comfortable and were recovered a few years before the theatre closed.

Affeldt has spent $70,000 to replace the technical equipment in the theatre. He has purchased an up-to-date projector, a new sound system and a new platter, which is used to rewind the films.

He said that the balcony will not be used because of liability, but it will not be taken out. He added that maybe someday the balcony will be used for special occasions or could be rented out.

He is hoping to have some open houses in the near future to show of the theatre.

In the future, Affeldt plans to reconstruct the original center ticket kiosk and the marquee. He also plans to redo the concession stand. The theatre was redone to lower the ceilings and Affeldt has had started the process of returning them to their original height. He also plans to redo the bathrooms to make them larger and more accessible.

Plans to restore the buildings original facade, including a string of lights on the top of the structure, will come in the future.

The building was originally constructed as a vaudeville theatre, so it has a performance stage. When it was converted to a movie house, a screen was built into the structure. Affeldt hopes that one day the screen will be movable and the stage can be used by the Summerstruck Children’s Theatre for their performances.

He estimated two to three years to get the building back to its original condition.

He said that a film manager would be hired to run the theatre and live in the upstairs apartment that is also being reconstructed.

“The major problems were the plumbing and the technical aspects, and we’re taking care of that,” he said. “Then we’re going to come back overtime and fully restore the building.”

Affeldt explained that a new movie will be shown for a week and then will be replaced by a different film. In larger cities, movie theatres are required to show films for a certain amount of time, but because Winslow is a non-competitive market the week showing can be done.

“The theatre is a good deal because it will give people something to do. There are people in Winslow that go to Flagstaff twice a month to see a movie or a play, now they can come here,” he said.

Affeldt has a knack for saving old buildings and restoring them to a beautiful, functioning business, as evident by his latest accomplishment, the La Posada Hotel.

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