Britton Theater

912 W. Britton Road,
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

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Britton 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, the old Ritz became a skating rink for a while, and was later reopened as the Britton Theatre, closing in 1966. Britton was originally a separate town, but is now incorporated into the Oklahoma City metro area.

Contributed by Lauren Grubb

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

SoonerGrad74 on May 2, 2010 at 9:22 am

I have also found a pic, a positive made from a negative, showing the Britton Theatre! Here’s the thing…when Oklahoma City annexed Britton in 1950, all of the addresses were changed slightly, to fit the OKC numbering system with even numbers on the south side of the street. So, either the old Britton Theatre was torn down and a new Ritz built, which I doubt, having been inside the Ritz in the ‘50s, or it was renamed and the address changed due to annexaxtion by OKC, which I think is the case. View link

lrostochil on May 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

The original, pre-OKC address for the Ritz was 214 E. Britton Rd. After looking at the photo Carl posted of the Britton compared to the vintage photo of the Ritz, I don’t think they’re the same building. The Britton has a rounded ticket booth with an entry to the side, while it looks like the Ritz was more symmetrical. What do you guys think?

I have several phone books from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s and didn’t find the Britton Theater in any of them — must have been pretty short lived.

SoonerGrad74 on May 4, 2010 at 12:16 am

It’s difficult to tell. The top of the theater looks very similar, and, no doubt it has been “remodeled” over the years. The wall on the right of the theater looks much the same in both pics. I have looked thru the Oklahoman and the only business I’ve found at 1001 Britton Rd (in the ‘50’s, none before that) was Long-Bell. There’s a parking lot there now. I did find a “Timetable of City Theaters” from 6/26/1952 Showing a listing for the Britton(Ritz). Other Ritz was on NE 13th in OKC. I think they’re same but it would be nice to get confirmation.. I’ll ask at View link

SoonerGrad74 on May 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I have heard from 2 people on who lived there who state there WERE 2 theaters in 1948, the Britton was on the north side of the street and just west of the Ritz on the south side of Britton road. Add a theater to the list of cinema treasures!

lrostochil on May 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Yay! Mystery solved! I’ve taken photos of that side of the road before, but I don’t remember anything that may have once been a theater. I’ll drive by in the next day or two and have a look.

RoycK on February 15, 2011 at 8:34 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 3:31 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 9:19 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 March 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm

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 1:51 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.

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