Historic Rialto Theater Sign Coming Down


For almost 90 years the gigantic neon sign affixed to the Rialto Theater has been a landmark in South Pasadena. A mild windstorm last week finally snapped the cables tethering the behemoth and instead of say, new cables, the city is planning to cut down and cart away the historic sign. Landmark Theatres owner Mark Cuban walked away from his lease on the baroque movie palace five years ago and like any building without maintenance it has been deteriorating rapidly.  The theater has been a preservation battle for nearly half it’s existence: a fire in 1972, a proposal to replace it with a drug store and parking lot in two years later, a plan by Landmark to chop the auditorium up into five screening rooms in 1998. Losing the towering sign will be major setback in efforts to bring the theater back from the brink. There must be a better solution.