Ritz Theater

427 N. Main Street,
Mansfield, OH 44901

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The Ritz Theatre, Mansfield, Ohio

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The Ritz was opened in 1927 by Harry E. Roberts. In 1938, the theater underwent significant renovation, expanding the seating capacity from 400 to 900. The sound system was revamped, seats replaced and air conditioning installed.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 1, 2007 at 1:24 am

True crime, 2/24/52. You should always press your suit before robbing the theater, or you will invite criticism from witnesses:

A hold-up attempt of the Ritz Theater was thwarted last night by the quick actions of a doorman on duty at the movie house on North Main St. The employee, whose name police withheld, told investigating officers that a man between 40 and 50 years old walked up to the ticket window around 9:56 p.m. and inquired if the show was still on. When informed it was, the employee said, the man reached into his pocket and took a new dollar bill from his wallet and handed it to him. When he turned to make change, the employee said, he felt something in his ribs. The man told him to hand over the money. The employee then threatened the bandit and attempted to slide out of the ticket booth. The bandit demanded the doorman hand over his own wallet and when the doorman turned around, he told police he saw the man had a nickel-plated revolver. He believed it to be about a .32-caliber. When the man reached for the dollar he had given the employee, the employee struck the man along the side of his face with his fist and knocked him through the double doors of the theater onto the street.

The man then ran towards Fifth St. Both witnesses described the hold-up man as about five feet eight inches tall, red faced, sandy haired and wearing a light brown suit which was dirty, baggy and needed a pressing. They said the man appeared calm, used good English and was clean shaven.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 19, 2009 at 3:50 am

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine in November 1956:

MANSFIELD, OHIO-The Eagles Lodge here has purchased the Ritz Theater near the Lodge’s headquarters in the business district for about $42,000. Lodge spokesmen said the theater building, vacated about two years ago, will be used for parking. They said it has not been determined whether the building will be razed or remodeled into a parking garage. The Ritz was opened as a movie house in 1927.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 2, 2009 at 1:43 am

This was in the Mansfield News Journal, dated 9/16/39:

Police Chief Meade K. Bates today flatly warned high school officials that a repetition by students of the incidents that marked Thursday night’s “pep rally” and snake dance preceding the opening of the high school football season would bring sharp police action. The incidents, according to Bates and police officers who were called to the scene, included creating a disturbance at the Ritz theater, damaging door stops in the theater, tearing down display signs and pelting the theater building with fruit.

Sol Bernstein, theater manager, sad the youthsâ€"about 300 in numberâ€"had created such a disturbance that it had been necessary to stop the show and turn on the house lights. Chief Bates said he had no objections to students giving vent to enthusiasm so long as they did not interfere with the rights of others and did not damage property. He asserted, however, that another such demonstration as the one this week would result in police taking whatever steps were necessary to restore order.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 7, 2011 at 10:42 am

The current address of 427 North Main Street would be an unlikely location for a movie house. It’s in an industrial district, and across the street from a railroad line. The 1956 newspaper item Ken quoted above says that the Ritz was “…in the business district….” I suspect that either the address is wrong, or that Mansfield underwent a drastic renumbering at some point. The block of Main Street north of 4th Street currently has addresses with two or three digits, but I suspect that this was historically the 400 block.

The current address of the Mansfield Eagles lodge is 129-135 N. Main Street, but I don’t know if the lodge is still in the same building it was in when it was mentioned in the 1956 article. The building looks considerably more modern than the others on the block, but it does look old enough to have been in existence in 1956. In any case, it’s very likely that this is the block the Ritz was actually in. The lodge hall has parking lots on either side of it, and one or the other of those could have been the site of the Ritz.

chippy1960
chippy1960 on January 10, 2012 at 2:08 am

The Ritz was located on the west side of North Main street between 4th and 5th street in Mansfield, and stood just to the north of the old Eagles Lodge. It is now a parking lot between the old lodge and the new one. If you look closely, you can see the old Eagles lodge building on the left side of the photo. That building is still standing, but abandoned.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

chippy1960: Thanks for revealing the specific location of the Ritz, and for the photo. I was pretty sure it had to be on one of those two lots in the 100 block.

The caption of a photo of North Main Street in the book Mansfield in Vintage Postcards (Google Books preview) says that the Ritz Theatre was called the White Way Theatre during the 1920s. It was one of four theaters on North Main Street, the others being the Park, the Grand, and the Royal.

I found an address for the Royal, at 77 N. Main. The Arris Theatre, which was sold in 1918, was at 5 N. Main, and might have been renamed. possibly becoming either the Grand or the Park. By the 1930s, the names Grand, Royal, and Park had vanished from Mansfield theater listings, but a house called the Majestic had appeared. I can’t find an address for the Majestic, but possibly it was either the Grand, Royal, or Park renamed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2012 at 1:36 am

Ads in the November 21, 1916, issue of The Mansfield News include both the Arris and Grand Theatres, so Grand was probably never an aka for the Arris. The first Park Theatre was not listed, so that remains a possible aka for the Arris. The White Way Theatre was also advertised, so the Ritz building dates from at least that early. Other theaters advertised included the Opera House, Alvin and Royal, all showing movies.

chippy1960
chippy1960 on September 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Joe, I saw an old newspaper article that listed the Majestic’s address on Walnut Street. It said that it closed in 1941 and sat vacant until the following year when the a heavy snowfall collapsed the roof and it was demolished. I have a photo of it that I will post shortly.

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