Ritz Theater

251 Port Richmond Avenue,
Port Richmond, NY 10302

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Ritz Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Port Richmond district of Staten Island. Built in 1924, the Ritz Theater later became the home of rock concerts and roller skating keeping the Ritz one of the integral entertainment venues on Staten Island for many years.

Since 1985, this theater has been owned and operated as a tile showroom by the Pedulla family. Portions of the theater’s original purpose can still be seen inside. The murals still grace the walls.

Contributed by Jean, Ed Monigan

Recent comments (view all 85 comments)

harvest
harvest on August 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm

P.S. An interesting fact about the photo of the Ritz marquee submitted by Lost memory (see above). If you look carefully next to the word “Heavy Sound” you will notice it says “Featuring Lights by Pablo and sound by Hanley.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Interesting history.

harvest
harvest on August 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Been thinking about the Ritz a lot lately and it just occured to me…. Does anyone remember if Elephants Memory played at the Ritz? I don’t remember seeing their show but for some reason I seem to remember seeing their name on the marquee. Would appreciate a reply, Thanks.

madshadows
madshadows on August 7, 2010 at 8:12 am

Yes they did play the Ritz Harvest.In april of ‘72 from what I remember,they opened for the J.Geils Band.Also on the same bill was Detroit featuring Mitch Ryder and a band called Uncle Buck….who a lot people thought was John Lennon using one of his pseudomyns and was going to play with Elephant’s Memory….which of course wasn’t the case. I worked there through the ungano’s years and helped booked that show with Nicky.

I just found this site.I’d like to clear up a few things that have been posted here.

Yes, Bill Graham had a 2 month 50 mile radius unwritten deal with some agencies with the artists he booked….That didn’t affect us….Bill decided on closing the Fillmore’s in april of ‘71 and we opened that may….it wouldn’t have mattered anyways,we were friends of Bill’s and Staten Island back then was considered to be like Siberia (and still to this day is) and would have little to no effect on the well established Fillmore East….That ban was really for Howard Stein and Ronnie Delsener.

The other thing I see mentioned here a few times is the june Badfinger show that the “Pagan’s” supposively disrupted tha late show.

First of all it was the Breed not the Pagans and they had nothing to do with the late show being cancelled.Yes there was a few memembers (about 6 to eight)of that club that were hanging out in the upper lobby and yes a few of them were acting up with some of the females.They had their colors on (their jackets) and probably said a few things that scared people that were in that area,but believe me….It was nothing and it had nothing to do with badfinger not playing the late show.

Anyone who went to the Ritz during the Ungano’s era would remember our bouncers and would know that this so called “almost a riot thing” is bs.Our bouncers were not just older (over 35),they were not your typical rock theatre security guys….They were very big and armed. They did go up the lounge that night as soon as they were aware of any potential disturbance and Big Jim (people might remember him) and Bobbo (who mad Oddjob look small) and the crew quickly resolved any fears that our the members of the audience that were in that area might of had.

Anyways,the real reason Badfinger cancelled the late show was they were looking for a record deal (their Apple deal was expiring) and they had invited just every a & r and record company (including Clive Davis) executive to that june show. It was suppose to be one show as per the contract,Nicky messed up and put two shows on sale when in fact they were booked for one.

We did have them just a few months back (that march) for two shows,but this time around it was for one show and they weren’t willing to do another show.The band was on edge with all the record company people there and this was more of a show case for them.

After a good hour or so of and a lot of us trying to convince them to do another show,they held firm and finally left the theatre.And I repeat it had nothing to do with any so called threats of a riot by anybody including the Breed,the band came to play what they thought was going to be one show they were booked for and left after they did.

We had several shows afterwards including Procol Harum,Dave Mason,Cactus,Billy Preston,Quicksiver Messenger Service,Buddy Miles,Savoy Brown and The Doors….all went on very peacefully.

I hope this clears up a few falsehoods that were posted on here.

All the best,

Bob Herman

harvest
harvest on August 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Bob, Thanks for all the info. Now I’m sure I didn’t attend the Elephants Memory show. I was at the Procol Harum show and as you said there were no incidents whatsoever. (Procol Harum were excellent,by the way.) I have several more Ritz stories,and I will be back to share them in the future.

KenJones
KenJones on October 20, 2010 at 5:03 am

As a kid living on Castleton Avenue in West Brighton, I remember walking to the Ritz on many Saturday afternoons. For $0.25 we got 100 cartoons and a movie.

On 1 particular Saturday, my younger sister and I went to the Ritz on a day they were giving out prizes. They’d call a ticket number and you’d have to fight your way to the stage to collect the prize.

They called my ticket number for a prize that was a new Schwin bike. But, being in the back on the ground floor near the popcorn stand with hundreds of screaming kids crowding the aisles, we couldn’t even get out of our row and was unable to collect our prize.

I saw the numerous 1st run movies at the Ritz, including the original “War of the World” at the Ritz in 1952, Elvis' 1st movie, “Love Me Tender,” and Pat Boone in “April Love.” Then, there were the classics like “Ben Hur” and “The King and I,” not to mention the Disney classics, like “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “Davey Crockett.” Man, what a great life if was, then.

The smell of that theatre was so pleasant and distinct. And, the majesty of the deep, rich carpet; the beautiful chandeliers, and those wide, marble staircases.

I’m very greatful to have lived at such a wonderful time to have experienced this, and other great theatres on Staten Island.

Ken Jones

tjcpt
tjcpt on January 3, 2011 at 4:16 am

I saw many shows at the Ritz. My first one was front row right orchestra for MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges, Halloween night 1970. I was tripped out. Iggy walked off the stage after some jerkoff hit him with an egg. But man, did they rock….. I also saw Sabbath, Humble Pie, King Crimson, Cactus, Alice Cooper, Allman Brothers, Quicksilver, Billy Preston, Lord Baltimore, Savoy Brown, Long John Baldry, Fleetwood Mac, Dr. John, and Yes. Between the Ritz and the Fillmore East I saw some of the best shows in rock & roll history.

RosesAndYarn
RosesAndYarn on January 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Did any bands play at The Ritz on Staten Island in 1969 ?

cath61
cath61 on January 11, 2014 at 12:01 am

Cool memories! I only know about this theatre because of the architect (who I’m researching now). James Whitford Sr. He did several other theatre’s and his son did a few as well. Just thought I’d throw that tidbit out – I’m an architectural historian so finding out the architect of these amazing buildings is what I love! Thanks for the great stories!

garn98
garn98 on February 11, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Is there a list of all the acts that played there in the 1970’s ? I am particularly interested in late January-March 1970. Thanks

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