The Standard, Montreal, Saturday, December 27, 1924
The Superb New Rialto Theatre Fills Long Felt Want In North End District
MAYOR ATTENDS FORMAL OPENING OF NEW RIALTO
Beautifully Appointed North End Theatre Latest Local Theatrical Triumph
B. M. GARFIELD WILL MANAGE NEW HOUSE
Well-known Theatrical Manager is Popular Choice for Executive Position
While the development of the moving picture business in Montreal has been rapid, also successful, within the past few years, no feature of this progress is more remarkable than the establishment of the new Rialto Theatre at the corner of Park avenue and Bernard avenue.
Apart from the fact that this theatre is constructed in probably the fastest developing portion of Canada’s metropolitan city, and fills a long-felt want on the part of the public in that section, it is without doubt, one of the most elaborate theatrical structures, not only in Montreal, but throughout Canada.
A visit to this theatre will amaze the most fastidious.
In no part of the city will the patron of the “movies” be more happy in his or her environment, and with the management offering the best and most up-to-date pictures, the future of this uptown playhouse is assured.
It will be opened to the public on Saturday evening, December 27, at 8:15 p.m., with His Worship, Mayor Duquette, as guest of honor.
With the theatre unexcelled as far as beauty and style are concerned the public have a further assurance of satisfaction in the fact that Mr. B. M. Garfield has been appointed manager of the theatre.
Mr. Garfield needs no introduction to the theatre-going public of Montreal. Coming from New York to look after the local interests of the company he represented he has been here for six years, meeting with marked success in all of the theatres to which he has been attached. His appointment to his present position by the United Amusements Corporation, Limited, will ensure the patrons of the theatre the very best and latest in the world of filmdom. Mr. Garfield is also secretary-treasurer of the Montreal Theatrical Managers’ Association, representing all the leading theatres of the city.
As for the theatre itself, it is a marvel of beauty, the entire house being finished in the elaborate and rich style of Louis XVI, a style unexcelled in modern times.
From the front entrance to the stage curtain, the entire house is a work of art.
This is not surprising when it is understood that the work has been carried out by the well-known theatrical artist, Mr. Emmanuel Briffa, of Detroit, who brought here with him three experts in the work of direction1.
Mr. Briffa is known all over the continent for this special kind of work, having decorated 132 theatres in the United States and Canada, including a total of 36 in Canada, and 14 in Montreal.
“This theatre is one of my best,” declared Mr. Briffa, to a representative of the Standard.
A Work of Art.
And no wonder, for the marble, the woodwork, the fixtures and the draperies are all of the style of Louis XVI. The panels are all painted in silk finish decorated with gold-leaf, and no bronze used on any part of the house. While the hand-painted medallions on these panels reveal the work of the real artist and are a pleasure to the eye.
The entrance to the theatre is on Park avenue. Entrance is made through large wide doors, finished off, as are all the other doors in the house, in the unique panel style of Louis XVI — every panel figure a different one.
Once inside the doors the theatre-goer finds himself in a spacious main lobby, finished in real marble, from which entrance by two stairs is made to the gallery of the theatre.
From this second lobby entrance is also made to the main part of the theatre, where a full view is had of the edifice, which seats about 1,400 people.
Looking straight ahead one is struck with the decorative beauty of the place, from the luxuriant asbestos curtain, all hand-painted, to the magnificent dome, with its variegated lights, and the ceiling and walls with their seductive coverings of silk imitation and gold leaf adornment.
The lights in the dome are of colored cut glass, not painted, but originally colored in the making, giving a soft and mellow effect, not unlike that of the romantic moonlight.
In fact the lights all over the house are extremely effective in this regard, blue and amber colored; blue, when the pictures are being shown and amber at intermissions.
Over the asbestos curtain, on the proscenium arch, are three pictures, hand-painted, and representing music, the drama and comedy. These points2 are indeed a work of art, as are the paintings on the other panels in the upper part of the theatre.
Flower designs cover most of these panels, while many other panels are given over to medallion designs, especially the ceiling panels and those on the bottom of the floor of the gallery to be seen from the main floor. These medallions are all hand-painted in a background of gold leaf.
The wall panels are all silk painted and gold-leafed, as are also the angles between the doors upstairs and downstairs.
What with the mixture of gold-leaf and silk imitation, exquisitely hand-painted medallions, and just as exquisite hand-painted figures, these panels are not only a pleasure to the eye, but create an environment which cannot help but satisfy the most fastidious of the theatre-goers.
In ascending to the gallery the patron of this theatre will tread marble steps and walk between marble bases, such bases also adorning the large and commodious boxes, four in number, as well as the walls of the theatre.
These marble walls are further adorned with a Tiffany finish.
But the coloring and decorative features are not the only ones.
Everything is provided for the comfort of patrons including all conveniences of the most modern type.
Palatial Ladies’ Room.
In addition there is provided a delightful resting room for the ladies. This department is fitted up in conformity with the rest of the building and finished in Louis XVI style, with hand-painted panels and silk-painted and gold-leaf decorations, with an elaborate setting of mirrors.
The balcony upstairs is built at a decided elevation allowing a clear view of the stage from any section of that part of the theatre, there being no posts, in fact, no obstruction whatever, to the view from that portion of the theatre.
On the main floor, at the back of the theatre, is situated an aquarium, which is also made the more elaborate by a back-ground of hand-painted panels. Near the aquarium is situated a large water fountain, gilded and hand-painted.
The United Amusement Corporation, Limited, of which Mr. George Nicholas is managing director, has succeeded in giving to the people of the north end of the city one of the finest theatres in the country and believe that it will be one of the most profitable of the large number of houses operated by that company in this city, numbering nine in all.
Reproductions posted in the lobby of the Rialto Theatre at 5723 avenue du Parc, Montreal. Transcription by Justin Bur.