Fox Ritz Theatre

5214 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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Fox Ritz Theatre exterior

West Coast Theatres built the Ritz Theatre which opened on October 15, 1926 with Harry Langdon in “The Strong Man”. It was located on Wilshire Boulevard near S. La Brea Avenue, was later operated by Fox West Coast Theatres.

In its later years, it was closed to the public and was used as a reserved film house by Michael Todd. It was also later used as a venue for live theatre and second run films as the Lindy Opera House. A last gasp effort to show vintage films and renamed American Theatre sadly failed and it was closed and converted into a Korean church.

In 1977 the former theatre was demolished and replaced by a parking lot.

Contributed by John Chappell

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

vokoban on June 21, 2006 at 9:15 am

(July 10, 1977)
As a concerned citizen I note with dismay Sylvie Drake’s report that the American Theater, formerly known as the Lindy Opera House and originally constructed in 1928 as the Ritz Theater on Wilshire and La Brea Avenues, has been condemned to the wrecking crews by its current owner. United States Life Savings Co. The theater is to be replaced by a parking lot.
I am sad, disheartened and not a little angry that this action is transpiring. I understand that U.S. Life has made some effort to make a financial go of keeping the building but apparently failed. Though I am fully cognizant that U.S. Life has every legal right to dispose of its property, I think that this action evidences a gross insensitivity toward an artistic facility that once proudly served the aesthetic and cultural needs of the public. I was under the impression, perhaps mistaken, that businesses, agencies, and corporations devoted to public service and serving the needs of the community had a moral obligation in the very least to sustain and support traditional values. U.S. Life gets a black mark for gross negligence, lack of creative moral leadership and general civic irresponsibility in the disposing of the Lindy Opera House in such a cavalier manner. I believe a society does not requite itself by saying, “It isn’t turning a profit!” On the contrary, any society and most of all ours is not to be judged by the corpulencey of its profit margins but by the length and breadth of its vision. Some in the past have had that vision. Just over 20 years ago James Doolittle did much in saving the then-dark Huntington Hartford Theater and the Greek Theater in the form of the Greek Theater Assn. Just recently the Nederlanders have returned to Los Angeles the resplendent old vaudeville house, the Pantages Theater. In an 11th hour attempt to do the impossible I exhort those individuals who gave us the Music Center to use their influence, prestige, and civic stature to help us save the Lindy Opera House.

Committee to Save the Lindy Opera House

haineshisway on June 21, 2006 at 9:29 am

What a shame he wasn’t successful. Every time I see that parking lot I want to vomit on the ground. I recently attended the Ricardo Montalban Theater (formerly the above-mentioned Huntington Hartford) – what they’ve done there in terms of its “redesign” is also reprehensible, but at least the building is still there.

kencmcintyre on May 25, 2007 at 4:58 pm

True crime in September 1932, as reported (breathlessly) by the LA Times:

Two Bandits Escape With $1000 After Forcing Theater Manager to Open Vault
WILSHIRE FILM HOUSE ROBBED Pair Bind Executive, but Fail to Open Money Box Prisoner Then Freed to Work Combination

Two bandits obtained nearly $1000 from the safe of the Fox Ritz Theater at 5214 Wilshire Boulevard early yesterday after they had forced the manager. M. Spencer Leve, to accompany them from his home, 902 Shenandoah Street, and open the vault, Leve told Wilshire police.

kencmcintyre on August 1, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Here is a 1930 photo from the USC archive:

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 7:47 am

Here is a 1954 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on January 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Here is a February 1953 ad from the LA Times:

TLSLOEWS on August 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Nice ads and photos.

drb on June 20, 2011 at 1:00 am

You can see it as the Lindy Opera House at around the 1:00 minute mark here:

DavidZornig on October 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Five 1960 Smell-O-Vision related images added, courtesy of Sid Terror’s Haunted Film Vault Facebook page.

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