Fox Ritz Theatre

5214 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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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.

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:

TLSLOEWS on August 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Nice ads and photos.

kencmcintyre on January 17, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Here is a February 1953 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2007 at 7:47 am

Here is a 1954 ad from the LA Times:

kencmcintyre on August 1, 2007 at 6:37 pm

Here is a 1930 photo from the USC archive:

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.

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.

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

vokoban on June 21, 2006 at 8:59 am

Here’s an article describing the change to the Lindy Opera House from the LA Times:

(Feb. 20, 1963)
The Ritz Theater on Wilshire Blvd. at La Brea, which has been used only infrequently since early 1960, will reopen as an opera house for the presentation of grand and light opera, musical comedy, concerts and concert galas. The 1,320-seat house, operated for many years by Fox West Coast Theaters, has been subleased from them by the Lindy Pen Co. for its subsidiary, the Lindy Opera Co. The deal is understood to be for four years. Sidney Linden, president of Lindy Pen Co. reports that the exact date and attraction have not yet been set. The theater will be renamed the Lindy Opera House.

SteveHopkins on March 30, 2006 at 4:32 pm

The Ritz was used extensively (almost a supporting character) in John Cassavetes' “Opening Night” for both interior and exterior scenes. The film is worth a look.
My last memory of movie-going at the Ritz is a strong one. It was my 8th or 9th birthday and my mother took me and a gang of friends to
a revival of Disney’s “Cinderella” here. Why such a vivid memory?
We were all in the balcony and I developed a brutally painful earache
during the picture, but I refused to leave even though I was moaning
and groaning through the whole thing, and pretty much ruined the movie for everybody in the auditorium. Ahh Childhood.

haineshisway on February 12, 2006 at 9:31 pm

My mother always described the Ritz as a “white elephant”. She also had some mishap in the theater that she enjoyed talking about. The only film I remember seeing there was Haji Baba, and, of course, the unique and strange Scent of Mystery in ToddAO and Smell-O-Vision. When it became the Lindy Opera House, I saw several legit shows there, including a tour of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

UKuser on November 2, 2005 at 12:44 am


T'he Los Angeles Theatre' on South Broadway, LA is playing host to the UK television show ‘Dead Famous LIVE’. We are currently looking for people who would like to come along as part of the studio audience.

‘Dead Famous LIVE’ is a studio entertainment show all about Hollywood History and the paranormal. We will be welcoming celebrity guests on to the show and investigating famous locations around Hollywood which are rumoured to be haunted including the Los Angeles Theatre itself.

This is an invaluable chance to get access to the Los Angeles Theatre, the place where Charlie Chaplin’s ‘City Lights’ premiered in 1931 and to have a thoroughly great day out! (And its free!!)

We’re transmitting ‘Live’ back to the United Kingdom so expect it to be exciting and fun!

We will be filming on three days from 11th – 13th November between 11.30am – 4pm. If you are interested in coming on one or all of these days then email me for tickets!


I look forward to your responses!

William on December 14, 2004 at 9:40 am

The theatre may have opened with that seating capacity, but when Fox West Theatres reseated many of their during late 30’s – early 40’s. They reseated theatres with wided American Bodiform type seats in doing this reducing seat capacities and making the theatre more deluxe in style during this Skouras era.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2004 at 9:23 am

The seating capacity of the Ritz Theatre given at opening was 1,660.

stevebob on November 29, 2004 at 7:37 am

During 1976, the Ritz got some new signage that I believe rechristened it the “American Theater”. A bicentennial-themed stage show opened there; it had a short run, and the building was demolished soon thereafter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 20, 2004 at 6:33 am

From 1963 until it was demolished in 1977, the Ritz was known as the Lindy Opera House, and was a pet project of the owner of the company that made Lindy ball point pens. I recall that the grand opening, scheduled for November 23rd, had to be delayed until December, due to the assasination of President Kennedy.

JimRankin on May 25, 2004 at 6:13 am

This theatre is one of some 200 that could be described as “Skouras-ized For Showmanship” which is the title of the ANNUAL of 1987 of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America. In the late 1930s through the 1950s, there occurred on the west coast of the United States a phenomenon known as the ‘Skouras style’ in recognition of the oversight of the Skouras brothers in their management of several cinema chains. They employed a designer by the name of Carl G. Moeller to render their cinemas/theatres in a new style best described as ‘Art Moderne meets Streamlined.’ The then new availability of aluminum sheeting at low cost was the principal material difference to this style allowing for sweeping, 3-dimensional shapes of scrolls to adorn walls and facades in an expression that would have been much more expensive and not at all the same in plaster. With the use of hand tinted and etched aluminum forms, the designers could make ornaments in mass production that allowed much greater economies of scale. The ANNUAL also show in its 44 pages how some 20 theatres were good examples of this combining of aluminum forms with sweeping draperies heavily hung with large tassels, and with box offices and facades richly treated with neon within the aluminum forms. Few of these examples survive today, but it was a glorious era while it lasted, and this collection of crisp b/w photos is a fitting epitaph by the late Preston Kaufmann.
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 44 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to lend it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

William on October 17, 2003 at 9:04 am

The Fox Ritz Theatre was located at 5214 Wilshire Blvd.

William on December 20, 2002 at 1:00 pm

This is has been razed for many years. A parking lot is now what is playing.

Bill H
Bill H on October 14, 2002 at 7:12 pm

Opened on 0ctober 15, 1926. Theater architect was L.A. Smith.

William on August 20, 2001 at 1:35 pm

The Fox Ritz seated about 1402 people. In this area the Ritz was one of three other Fox houses and one other house operated earlier by Fox. Going south about two blocks on the northwest corner is the old Fox LaBrea (900 seats). The Fox LaBrea in the 60’s was called the TOHO (the Toho company ran this theatre till the mid 70’s). Going west about 3-4 blocks is the Fox ElRey Theatre (850 seats). This theatre is a night club now. You can see a little of the lobby & booth in the movie “Night of the Comet” and you can see the marquee in “Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back” (near the end of that movie). The last theatre is the UA Four Star (900 seats), Fox ran this theatre in the mid 40’s. UA ran this theatre till the mid 70’s, before Mitchell Bros. started running adult films. In the mid 80’s it started running 3rd run then classics. It is now a church. The Norelco AAII projectors are now in the Warner Grand in San Pedro, Ca.