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The life of Rio...it almost reads like a movie script
by Bill Clough
Apr 17, 2013 | 1074 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
abandoned seats frame the original walls
abandoned seats frame the original walls
slideshow
he Bee County Courthouse through an upstairs window
he Bee County Courthouse through an upstairs window
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 a red stool in the ticket booth competes with yellow walls
a red stool in the ticket booth competes with yellow walls
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Outside, to the east of the building, a rusty press used to print movie flyers performs its last role, as sculpture.
Outside, to the east of the building, a rusty press used to print movie flyers performs its last role, as sculpture.
slideshow
OPENING SCENE: a mercantile store. Scene 2: Before World War II, when the nearby Rialto The-ater burns, the theater owners buy the building for a temporary place to show movies and name it Rio.

Scene 3: The Rialto returns to life; the Rio shows grade-B movies. Scene 4: By the 1950s, it starts featuring Spanish films.

Scene 5: In 1990, Wayne Dirks buys it from State Bank and Trust and transforms it into a place for private parties, with a garden where the seats used to be and with dancing on the concrete floor.

Scene 6: Later, Dirks opens part of his home as the Nueces Inn bed and breakfast; the Rio contains a sandwich shop. Scene 7: Shaved ice sold in the entrance.

But like the twists and turns of a Saturday serial, the Rio deteriorates. Scene 8: It is abandoned for a decade.

Dirks has hopes, though. He wants to refurbish it into a dinner theater. Those who might scoff should remember, (Scene 9) he is a former U.S. Army artillery officer, comfortable with taking a mission and accomplishing it.

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