Ritz Theatre

119 North Main Street,
Clinton, TN 37716

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Ritz Theatre

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The Ritz Theatre was located on the town square across from the Court House. It opened in 1945 and closed as a movie theatre in 1969. It was reopened again in 1972 and housed the Red Speeks Country Music Show which was a local radio show. It was closed again in 1987.

In 2000 it was cleaned up, remodeled and reopened featuring movies and live performances. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 30, 2005 at 3:02 pm

Some background on the Ritz theater from the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce:

“The historic Ritz Theater located at 119 North Main Street, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. During the 1970’s it was also known as Red Speeks’ Country Music Theater.

The Ritz, located on Main Street across from the Anderson County Courthouse, was constructed during World War II under the direction of the War Production Board, which cited Clinton’s close proximity to Oak Ridge. When it opened in November 1945, it was called by many “the most modern theater in the South.” During the heyday of the motion picture industry of the 1940’s and early 1950’s, it hosted packed houses six days a week for all of the great movies of that era. As the movie industry dwindled during the late 1960’s, so did the Ritz, and it closed its doors in 1969.

In 1972, a country music show call “The Red Speeks Show” was started at the Ritz. At one time, Speeks hoped to present a show each Saturday night that would rival the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The shows were even broadcast on local radio for a time. By 1987, however, the Speeks show had lost its luster and it faded into memory. The Ritz remained closed until 2000.

In 1995, the Brock family purchased the theater and made its reopening a family project. The theater has been restored to look like the classic theater it was in the 1940’s. It has been repainted inside but the original design has remained.

Current Movies are shown nightly. Contact the Ritz Theatre for showtimes.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 15, 2005 at 8:48 am

Here is another photo of the Ritz Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 22, 2006 at 1:21 pm

Another photo of the Ritz theater in Clinton can be seen here.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 29, 2006 at 8:24 am

Added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1998

Ritz Theatre and Hoskins Rexall Drug Store No. 2 (added 1998 – Building – #98001446)
Also known as Red Speeks' Country Music Theatre
111-121 N. Main St., Clinton
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Hughes, Edd, Speight & Hibbs
Architectural Style: Moderne
Area of Significance: Architecture
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Health Care, Landscape, Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Medical Business/Office, Specialty Store, Street Furniture/Object, Theater
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Health Care, Landscape, Work In Progress
Current Sub-function: Medical Business/Office, Specialty Store, Street Furniture/Object

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 20, 2007 at 7:51 pm

The Ritz was listed in the 1970 motion picture almanac, but it may have closed before press time. The operator at that time was the Rockwood Amusement Company out of Nashville.

inspiredreverie
inspiredreverie on November 18, 2008 at 8:14 pm

I remember when the Brocks' reopened the theatre. I lived in a small downtown apartment that was within walking distance to the theatre. My daughter and I would drive by the Ritz on our way home to see what movie was playing and it was always exciting for her to hear that we were going to see a show. We would grab a bite to eat at the Mexican Restaurant (which used to be downtown) and then walk our meal off on the way to the show. The Brocks hospitality is second to no other theatre I have visited and was always genuinely heart warming. I have lots of memories of various performances at the Ritz but those cold nights walking w/ my daughter are definitely the best. So that’s my stroll down memory lane and my ode to the Ritz.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 18, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Sure wonder what “An Evening In Mayberry” was in Lost Memory’s 2005 photo link.
Vintage Mayberry patrol cars out front and two showings? Must have been a unique event what ever it was.
Don’t know of any film of that name.
I’ll have to hit up the old imdb.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 19, 2008 at 7:34 am

I think it was a live event David. “An Evening in Mayberry” held in Tennessee. Wasn’t Mayberry supposed to be in North Carolina? I wonder if Opie made an appearance. LOL

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