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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Rialto: 1921

Rialto: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Washington Film Exchange. Moore's Rialto." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Tom Moore's Rialto

The Rialto was opened in 1918 by Tom Moore. According to Headley, Moore was a competitor of Harry Crandall, whose movie palaces have been imaged here. Despite early successes, the big theatre (ca. 2,000 capacity) was situated too far north of the entertainment district, between 8th & 9th Streets north of G, to do well, and it was soon repurposed for stage shows. Like other theaters, its last function was a convention (of the American League for Peace and Democracy in 1939), and it was razed in 1940.


As Landtuna noted, Rudolph Valentino appeared in this movie, yet is not mentioned in the theater cards or the Washington Post. Ms. Phillips had an illustrious career in bit parts later in life, from "The Postman Always Rings Twice" to "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Whether she was 89 or 97 when she died, looks like she did not get cheated.

[Dorothy's husband was also her director, according to a profile on the same page as the item cited below. - Dave]

Climax After Climax

Washington Post, Jan 2, 1921

At the Picture Houses

"Once to Every Woman," the newest Universal production, opens a week's engagement at Moore's Rialto Theater today. Dorothy Phillips, who is featured in the film, first appears as a school girl, the pet of the family, and after many dramatic episodes attains her ambition in grand opera, but forgets her home and family. Then comes climax after climax in a stirring denouement. Prominent in the cast are Robert Anderson, William Ellingford, Emily Chichester, Elinor Field, Mary Wise, Katherine Griffith and others. Director Breeskin, of the Rialto symphony orchestra, promises an exceptional interpretative score. A comedy, the Fox News and other features complete the bill.

Count Your Change

A closeup.

Only once?


The mysterious Dorothy Phillips

Wikipedia, Internet Movie Database, and offer three different birthdates for Dorothy, ranging over nine years. Regardless, she outlived this movie, dying in 1980 at 89, 90, or 97, depending on who's counting.

Simply Complex

It would take more then just a closet to hold all the possible letters and numbers needed! Bonus is that movie title and actors name would have to be short enough to fit that space. Still, it's still an interesting solution to the problem.

Gone missing

Where are all the D's and P's on the posters? I can't tell if that was intentional or not.

[Come closer ... - Dave]


According to the IMdB, this was one of Rudolph Valentino's first films, and has been lost. No negative or print is known to exist.

Love that sign!

It looks like it uses interchangeable letter modules with incandescent illumination. Way high tech.

I imagine the supply of letters took up a whole closet.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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