Some of my happiest childhood memories are of hours spent in downtown theaters just like the Rialto, usually in Saturday kiddie matinees that offered – for 14 cents, as I recall – two feature films, a dozen cartoons, assorted short features and at least one serial.
Those hours at the movies accomplished a vital mission:
They kept millions of kids happy, and maybe even exercised their minds with thoughts of adventure, space travel, worlds beyond the city limits and the never-ending need to fight the good fight for truth, justice and the American way.
I’m sorry Ben Puente Jr. thinks efforts to restore the Rialto as an art center are a waste of taxpayer money. He says in his letter to the editor, “Money wasted on Rialto,” that “we need to invest our tax dollars in the right way – in our kids and in our future.”
You pointed out accurately that much of the Rialto restoration effort has been funded by private sources. But even if that wasn’t the case, I’m afraid the future Mr. Puente foresees for the kids wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as the future in my past, spent happily in a cinematic wonderland that brought my imagination to life.