Ritz Theatre

222 Wyoming Avenue,
Scranton, PA 18503

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Interior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built by vaudeville theatre magnate Sylvester Poli, the Poli Theatre opened in 1907 and was built for a then monumental sum of $250,000. A large vaudeville house, the Poli Theatre seated more than 2,000 patrons.

The Poli Theatre was later acquired by the Union Theater Company in 1924.

By the late-1920’s, the theatre began showing movies only and was renamed Ritz Theatre. In 1930, it was remodeled and renamed again as the Comerford Theatre. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Frank Walker.

The theatre lasted for decades and in its last years was a dollar house struggling against a local UA multiplex.

In the early-2000’s the Ritz Theatre, with its nearly 100 years of service closed — perhaps forever.

In 2008, the Ritz Theatre reopened as a dinner theater and restaurant, with a piano bar and club with live performances. However this was a short lived venture, which has now closed.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

donybrx
donybrx on February 1, 2006 at 10:06 am

Thanks…that’s very good insight…..I have a friend in Scranton from NYC, a Florida native who has taught at the U (theater) and I think knows some of the peeps involved in this building….maybe there’s hope as Scranton and Wilkes-Barre begin to get back on track…..

lohengrin
lohengrin on February 14, 2006 at 6:33 pm

In the 1960s, when I was a kid, the Comerford Theatre was still quite a place. I remember it had a clock that glowed in the dark during the movie, and it had some magnificient fixtures inside. I saw some famous movies there, and they also had a matinee during the week, during which kids could go to the movies while their mothers shopped down the street at the city’s department stores. Scranton had the remnants of a vibrant downtown back then, and when you left the theatre at night, you actually felt like you were going INTO something … i.e., a lively city. But it didn’t take long to deteriorate. By the mid-1970s, they were showing porno films (as were the “Center” and the “Strand,” two other downtown theaters), and had high school girls taking tickets for them. The girls would let you in if they knew you, even though all of us (the girls included) were underage. Still, it was a great place, and, sadly, nobody did much of anything to save it while they could.

rpoli
rpoli on August 27, 2007 at 6:48 am

It’s great to hear that this piece of history is being preserved! Even after reading all the old news clips and theatre programs it’s still strange to read “the ‘legendary’ Poli Theater!”

MPol
MPol on January 14, 2009 at 8:27 am

Hey!! (feeling excited)

Will it also show some of the other great, golden oldie-but-goody classic films, such as the major film hits of the 1960’s?

FredRM
FredRM on March 1, 2009 at 9:18 pm

I lived in South Side Scranton form 1964 to 1969 and walked downtown many times to see movies at the Comerford.[ and the other two downtown theaters the Strand and the Center] Years later in the late 70s or early 80s I went back to Scranton to visit and went downtown to go to the movies there and the theater was open but they were just using the old balcony as the movie theater.If I remember correctly the first floor had been converted into some kind of shops etc. It was good to see the old balcony area again and it brought back alot of memories. I had my daughter with me and tought it was really neat that she was going to the movies some place where I had gone as a kid.[even though it was just the balcony]I don’t remember what movie we saw but it was a normal movie that kids could watch, not somthing X rated.I had forgotten untill I read other enteries on this site that the name had been changed to the Ritz.I don’t have family in Scranton amymore and haven’t been there for years,so I don’t know if it’s still open or not.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

Nice photos Chuck1231.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

Testimony in a 1911 lawsuit involving the Poli Theatre at Scranton reveals that the architect of the house was Albert E. Westover. The testimony was published in volume 80 of the legal journal Atlantic Reporter.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 28, 2012 at 9:00 am

Auditorium pictured in 1938 at top left of this page: Boxoffice

archtypeman
archtypeman on May 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

New photos of The Beautiful Ritz Building….For Sale….and space for lease, call Teresa Ripley at 570-843-6110

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