Now, 35 millimeter movie projectors are about to disappear and join all those other passe things in the old technology graveyard.
Movie projectors in the Rialto Theatre in Three Rivers will be useless after the first of the year when all movies go to digital formats. The existing projectors play 35 millimeter film.
“It’s starting to get very hard, and by the end of the year, it’s going to be very difficult (to get first run movies),” said Virginia Herring, who leases the theater from the Economic Development Corporation of Three Rivers, the nonprofit entity that owns the theater.
As an example, she said she has had a lot of requests for the documentary “Obama 2016,” but she can’t get it because it is only in digital format.
“People should realize I’m the profit part and the EDC is the nonprofit part,” Herring said.
As owner of the movie theater, it is the responsibility of the EDC to keep the facility equipped with usable equipment to help keep whatever business that is in it viable.
To address the problem, the EDC “is launching an all-out effort to muster contributions to pay for the projection equipment,” said Jim Huff, EDC president.
Huff said two digital projectors would cost $120,000 – $60,000 each. The projectors’ brand name is Christie.
He said he realizes that’s a lot of money to raise by the end of the year, “however the community has a lot to lose if we are not successful.”
The two current projectors’ brand name is Strong, and they were manufactured in the 1970s. They work fine, but they will be outdated the first of 2013.
Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the movie theater can send it to Rialto, P.O. Box 398. Three Rivers, Texas 787071.
Herring said the theater was built in 1948. And the lobby now has a 1940s era projector people like to look at. It is a Super Simplex.
One movie screen has about 250 seats, and the second screen has about 150 seats; the latter can be used for CPR training and presentations.
“It can be rented out for that,” Herring said.
The EDC purchased the Rialto on Nov. 6, 2000, after it had been closed for 21 years, according to Huff.
“The EDC did extensive repair to the theater, which opened the following year,” Huff said.
Herring leased the movie theater from the EDC in December 2009.
She usually employs six to eight people. The movies are shown all week in two showings: one at 7 p.m. and the second at 7:30 p.m. On weekends, she adds two additional showings: one at 4 p.m. and one at 4:30 p.m.
And the Rialto not only shows movies, the building has made its debut in an independent film titled “The Teller and the Truth,” made by Austin filmmaker Andrew Shapter. The movie is due out at the first of the year.
“Three Rivers is blessed to have a city square. Our downtown area creates an impression. the Rialto Theatre helps make that impression more positive; it enriches our own community. The Rialto provides good, affordable entertainment without the need to travel our highways to see a movie,” Huff said.
“It’s part of our history.”