When I was a kid the Riviera Theatre was one of the only places around to see first-run movies. This was before the multiplexes popped up in all of the larger towns. Even though the Riviera was already past its prime you still see glimpses of the grandeur that it once had. The seats were uncomfortable and felt like they could have been the originals from when it was opened in 1925. The carpeting was worn and sticky from decades of spilled soda and candy. All of the ornate and intricate details that were put into the theatre in 1925 had either been covered up or painted over with black paint.
A new multiplex opened up on the north side of Three Rivers and the Riviera quietly passed into a faded memory in the scrapbooks of locals' minds. It lay dormant for five years before Bruce Monroe (who practically grew up in the Riviera) purchased it in 2005. Three years and about $1 million later Three Rivers if home to a true gem in the Riviera Theatre.
I love westerns, especially John Wayne movies, and when I saw that "The Searchers" was playing at the Riviera this past Sunday I convinced my wife to go so we could see the movie and as a bonus - check out the renovations.
I was blown away by how beautiful the Riviera is now. I can appreciate it because I know what it looked like back before it closed and this is a night and day difference. Gone is the black paint and nasty old shag carpeting. A wonderful mix of gold, shades of red, and other lighter tones now add class to a wonderful old theater.
Do yourself a favor and take in a movie or one of the other shows/concerts that the Riviera is now home to. This Sunday, January 25, is the last Sunday that westerns are featured and they are showing "Unforgiven", starring Clint Eastwood.
You can keep up to date on all of the upcoming concerts and movies via the Riviera Theatre website, trriviera.com.