Rialto Theater, South Pasadena
Without a doubt, I spent more time in the Rialto than any other theater over the years. I inevitably encountered friends and acquaintances in the lobby, which has always been part of the cinema experience. As a boy, I saw the original Love Bug on my first visit. I seem to remember Let It Be as a double bill with The Magic Christian when both were first run movies. Later when the the theater became a "revival house", I saw Let It Be again, as well as countless films of all descriptions. There were also series featuring Hitchcock, Truffaut and other directors.
The Rialto was always scruffy -- now it's a tragic wreck. Moribund for several years now; it seems unlikely to return from the dead. I photographed it this weekend with my iPod.
Standing next to the Rialto's ghostly ticket booth, it occurred to me that I could access virtually any movie on my iPod and view it on the spot. However, this capability is totally devoid of charm. In fact, it's repellent.
Even when I visited the Rialto by myself, it was a social act.