Rivoli (Pendleton)

Rivoli Theater

(1922-1950)

    355 S Main Street Pendleton, Oregon

Sanborn Map of Rivoli Theater in 1922

Number of seats: 815

Managers:  Gus A Metzger, James W. Dunlop, J.C Stille

The Rivoli Theater opened in 1922 on Pendleton’s Main st. in old converted store fronts. Pendleton was right off the railroad system for the 20s allowing films to be brought into the town easily compared to other towns in Oregon at the time. The theater played features that were being shown all across the country, Vaudeville films and special features specified for the city.This included features about Pendleton, Oregon, their famous Round-Up and westerns about the town. The theater had reviews in Moving Picture World a popular theater newspaper where managers could promote their theater and the films they were showing. Shows primarily costed 25-50 cents for adults, children were typically 10 cents for admission and it catered to all classes, focusing on a family experience. Below is an example of one of the many feature films that were held at the Rivoli in the mid 20s.

Newspaper Clipping from Moving Picture World

Besides showing films, when the manager Gus A Metzger took over he opened it up to concerts and musical performances. concerts were primarily performed by women and sometimes a groups of women.This new addition gave more business for the theater by raising the prices for the special events. Gus A Metzger  integrated them into the theater’s daily bill of what was showing. He would normally have the bill be scheduled with a few short films during the day, than a concert performance followed by a feature film in the evening before another special musical event in the late evening. 

In the Eastern Oregonian Newspaper, The Rivoli Theater would have promotional advertising in thee daily newspaper editions. These Promotional pieces would be there to let the community know of the new films coming to the theater or the theater’s current specials or deals going on at their own Concession stand named Nifty Nook(East Oregonian: E.O., 1922). The deals changed often promoting different homemade candies, fruity desserts or savory items. The Theater mixed up the movies and specials as a way to strategically get more audiences to come into the theater.

Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR (May 1922)
East Oregonian Newspaper (January,1922)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theater ran successfully from 1922 to 1950 before it changed its name to the Centre theater under different management. The theater then closed officially in the early 80s, but back as its original name as the Rivoli Theater. Today in 2018 The Rivoli theater still stands and Is currently being renovated to re-open in 2020. The steps to beginning the renovation process started in 2011 when the Manager at the time wanted to sell the building to the town in order to get money to destroy it. The word got out and the people of Pendleton did not want that to happen. The community created The Rivoli Restoration Coalition and started the development in 2014.

Citations:

  1. East Oregonian : E.O., May 13, 1922
  2. The Sunday Oregonian., April 09, 1922, SECTION FOUR, Image 59,Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
  3. Moving Picture World Newspaper, 1920s
  4. https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/pendleton
  5. http://www.rivolitheater.org