Rialto Theater In Aitkin

The original movie theater in Aitkin showed silent films and wasn’t set up to show talkies. As the world transitioned from silent movies to talking pictures in the early-1930s, many people thought talkies would be a quick fad and that movie-goers would gravitate back to silent movies. Who would want to hear actors talk, after all?

But the owner of the silent movie house in Aitkin saw the excitement building behind talkies and decided he wanted to be a part of the age of modern movies. So, construction started in 1936 for a new movie palace downtown that was equipped to show talking pictures. As was the fashion, it was built in a streamlined Art Deco style inside and out. There was one screen, a smoking room for men, a powder room for women, and a crying room for families where little ones could make all the noise their little lungs could produce and not bother fellow movie fans.

2020

Today, the theater looks the same as it did when it opened, although a concessions area was added in the 1950s and the original screen has been replaced and shows contemporary films. You can find the theater on Minnesota Avenue.

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