Ritz Theater

912 W. Britton Road,
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

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Ritz Theater

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The Ritz Theater was open from 1922. After World War II, and following the opening of a new Ritz Theatre around 1954, the old Ritz Theater became a skating rink for a while. Britton was originally a separate town, but is now incorporated into the Oklahoma City metro area.

Contributed by Lauren Grubb

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

RoycK on February 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

The “Britton” Theatre was originally named the “Ritz” but following WWII a new theatre was built south of it and slightly to the east and was named the “Ritz”. For a while, the older theatre building became a roller skate rink and a friend of mine (Edwin Butler) became its manager. Then when the Thompson Theatre Corporation leased the buldings and equipment (and temporarily moved their offices into the newer Ritz Theatre building, they restored the older theatre building and renamed it as the “Britton Theatre” which (as the “B” house) was opened on Fridays and Saturdays only, and played double features (a western plus a comedy) and a ‘serial’. As a teenager, I worked at both theatres, first as a concessionist and then as a projectionist (and part-time assistant manager). I also trained both of my brothers as projectionists. My youngest brother was 12 years old at the time and we piled theatre seat cushions on the floor in front of the observation ‘port-holes’ so he could see the screen to make a ‘changeover’ from one projector to the other. He would then open the light ‘dowser’ on the arc lamp and switch the sound from one projector to the next while jumping off the cushions onto the foot operated ‘changeover switch’ to cause relays to open one ‘light gate’ and close the other in order to make an instaneous change from the one projector to the next. In the 1950s, the Britton Theatre was closed and the building converted to offices for a dentist and others. The Ritz (on the south side) was leased for awhile to Roy Avey of Theatre Calender Service and also for awhile to Bob Smith of Theatre Poster Service. Then it was closed for quite some time before it was converted and re-opened as an antique store. I remained in theatre business, owning and managing several small-town movie theatres for more than 30 years. Both of my brothers (and I) also worked as projectionists (for a few years) at the Lakeside Theatre (7518 N. May Avenue in Oklahoma City) and my mom became head cashier there later. Roy Kendrick

raybradley on March 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm

From google maps comes this modern day view of the Britton Theatre located in the 900 block of Britton Rd., between Francis and Olie.
View link

Lauren Durbin
Lauren Durbin on July 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Fire insurance maps show a theatre at modern day 923 W. Britton Road (203 E. Britton Ave. historically). This would match up perfectly with Roy’s excellent account of Britton theatres. It seems as though this entry needs to be changed to Ritz Theatre.

DavidDynamic on April 1, 2012 at 12:41 am

She looks so much better with Googles soft focus and lens flare of the street view than the closeups showing the old lady*s blemishes. Soft focus is much kinder to aging stars than the sharp focus of reality.

DavidDynamic on April 3, 2012 at 3:51 am

Kewpie raybradley’s Google map link above shows an image date of Nov. 2007, which is the image that I was referring. It shows the marquee but not clearly. Double clicking on the thumbnail will give you a blowup.

hookecho21 on December 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I uploaded a satellite photo of the street to this page’s photos. The pin drop in the photo is for the current Ritz theatre on the south side of Britton, 912 W Britton. Across the street is the north side of Britton, in the satellite photo counting from the top left, would the Britton theatre have been the second building from the left? This is currently the location of Evolution Tattoos (12/11/2014), 923 W Britton.

hookecho21 on December 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

I stopped by Evolution Tattoos at 923 W Britton and spoke with the owner and he confirmed that indeed that building he occupies used to be a movie theatre. So yeah, this entry definitely needs to be renamed The Ritz and there needs to be a new entry for Britton Theatre at 923 W Britton.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2014 at 11:38 am

KenRoe: I think we’ve got the seating capacities reversed. From satellite view it can be seen that the 1954 Ritz on the south side of the street is a much larger building than the first Ritz/Britton on the north side. The Ritz must have been the house with 586 seats and the Britton must have had the 280.

hookecho21 on January 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Joe, yes and no. Here’s how it works: the original theatre was called The Ritz and had 280 seats and was on the north side of Britton. After some time the owners wanted more seating capacity so they closed The Ritz and built a brand new theatre across the street on the south side and it had 586 seats and they kept the name The Ritz, this being the new Ritz with the original closed down. Then after some time the south side Ritz closed. Then someone bought BOTH theaters and reopened them at the same time: the north one they called Britton Theatre and the south one stayed The Ritz. The Britton theatre (the original Ritz) is now Evolution Tattoo. The Ritz on the south side (the new Ritz) is currently for sale.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm

That’s what I was thinking. The new Ritz Theatre on the south side was bigger than the old Ritz/Britton Theatre on the north side, so the new Ritz must have had the 586 seats.

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