Home | Stories | News | Theaters | Drive-Ins | Profiles | The Authors | Other Books | Links
Myrtle Beach, SC

Gloria Theatre
210 9th Avenue North (City Directories 1959 - 1972)
Listed as Fox Theatre in the 1974 - 1978 City Directory
Built around 1937

Advertisement for the Gloria Theatre from The Myrtle Beach News dated January 4, 1952.

"The Newest and Best Pictures"

Click to Enlarge

Rivoli Theatre
908 Chester Street
Opened: June 19, 1958

The Rivoli Theatre opened on Chester Street in Myrtle Beach on June 19, 1958. The first film shown was "This Happy Feeling" starring Debbie Reynolds. The property was owned by the Merle Investment Company of Charlotte, NC, and the theatre was operated by the Beach Corporation, headed by Wyatt L. Parker. James A. Porter was the first resident theatre manager.

Costing $400,066, the theatre was designed by architect Harold J. Riddle and built by Crescent Beach contractor J.A. Baldwin. The two abstract figures, male and female, holding up the columns of the theatre facade, were commissioned by Mr. Riddle and created by artist Gerard Tempest. In the 70's Mr. Tempest left Myrtle Beach for New York and later Italy where he attained an international reputation in the art world. The figures are made of reinforced cement, and many coats of paint have covered them since their creation. Inside the Rivoli there also remains a bas-relief mural, artist unknown.

With 1,078 seats, including a stadium-seating style balcony, the Rivoli boasted the latest in a four-channel stereophonic sound system, duplicated only in one other theatre at Ft. Collins, Colorado. Its screen measured 21 X 50 feet. The lobby featured terrazzo floors and walnut paneling. Of four other theatres in Myrtle Beach, the Rivoli alone featured a full-service refreshment stand. Youngsters were admitted to the Saturday matinee for five bottle caps, according to several Myrtle Beach natives.

The high point in its history as a movie house came in 1967 with the world premiere of the movie "Don't Make Waves" starring Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale, Terry Moore, David Draper and Sharon Tate, who was murdered by the Manson family two years later.

In 1999, the City of Myrtle Beach purchased the property for some $700,000 with intent to convert it to a 500-seat performing arts center, primarily as a venue for the many non-profit thespian, dance and musical groups in the community. Architect Steve Usry created a conceptual design for the new Rivoli and estimated the cost of construction at somewhat more than $3.5 million. According to the Usry design, the 200 stadium seats would be retained, and 300 orchestra seats would be added. The stage would be enlarged and an orchestra pit provided. The ceiling over the stage must be raised to provide for backstage flies. A wing added to the north side of the building would accommodate dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms or offices. In the front annex, adjacent to and accessible from the lobby, would be a visual art gallery.

The theatre has undergone several reincarnations--most recently first as a children's theatre and then as a nightclub. Pursuing one of the strategies contained in the Arts Element of the City Comprehensive Plan, the City aims to convert it into a fledgling cultural arts center. Funds ($363,000) from the Carousel Horse auction will launch the effort to redesign and operate the landmark former moviehouse. The non-profit Myrtle Beach Corporation for the Arts (dba, Rivoli Corp.), formed by City Resolution in 2004, will operate the theatre primarily as a venue for non-profit arts organizations.

For information on the Rivoli Theatre in Myrtle Beach, contact:
Myrtle Beach Corporation for the Arts
(dba, Rivoli Corporation)
P.O. Box 1229
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578
(843) 267-5845 Fax 626-4944

Cinema Theatre
811 Main Street (Listed in City Directories 1978 - 1986)
757 East Broadway (Listed in City Directory for 1974)

Camelot Theatre
1901 Kings Highway North (City Directories 1974 - 1978)


The Myrtle Beach News
August 8, 1952

Broadway Theatre
Advertised in The Myrtle Beach News in 1952. Address unknown at this time.

Gayety Theatre
1100 New Conway Highway (City Directory 1965)

Home | Stories | News | Theaters | Drive-Ins | Profiles | The Authors | Other Books | Links