Ritz Theatre

10 West Main Street,
Shawnee, OK 74801

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RitzĀ©...Shawnee Oklahoma

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built around 1899, and originally constructed as a dry goods store, this was the oldest and longest running family owned/operated movie theater in the state of Oklahoma when it closed in 1988.

When purchased by Jake Jones, Sr. in 1911, the Cozy Theatre was opened on March 19, 1911. Around World War I, the building was remodeled to its present 40' width and shortly thereafter became a stop on the state vaudeville circuit.

In 1926, the theatre was renamed the Ritz Theatre, and Shawnee’s first talking motion pictures were shown.

The Ritz Theatre is an Federal Revival style, two story building. The first floor and auditorium are in good condition and reflect lighting fixtures designed and made by Johnny Jones, son of Jake Jones, Sr.

The second story was originally used as a boarding house/hotel during the railroad and oil boom days. Architectural details are still intact but it desperately needs restoring.

In 2000, the Jones family gave the theater to the Soceity for Revitalization of Downtown Shawnee, Inc. This historic landmark holds the designation of "Save America’s Treasures".

Since 2000, SRDS held four to six performances annually and raised $60,000 towards renovations and restoration. It now operates ful time as a live theatre, and renovations continue when funding allows.

Contributed by Charlotte Patterson

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

seymourcox
seymourcox on July 20, 2010 at 11:25 am

Roadside Oklahoma pages show off vintage and modern photos of the Ritz Theatre, Shawnee,
http://www.roadsideoklahoma.com/node/638

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm

From 2010 photo views of the Ritz Here and Here in Shawnee.

Top
Top on March 2, 2011 at 7:28 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTFCjbBa_H0

Here is a link on YouTube. This is just short video from one of our monthly shows. We try to bring one event to the Ritz each month and are looking for more things to do. We have just about got the old popcorn machine fixed and we’re pretty darn excited about that!

raybradley
raybradley on March 10, 2011 at 11:04 am

Take a look at what the Ritz Theatre neighborhood looks like today,
View link

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

Looks like the signboards are missing from the marquee.Cosmic Ray.

Toppie Lincicome
Toppie Lincicome on June 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm

We’re sprucing up this lobby with a little paint and such. Should look real nice.

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 4, 2012 at 9:43 pm

From 2010 a photo of the Ritz Theatre in Shawnee.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

Renovations described in this 1966 trade article: Boxoffice

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 24, 2014 at 11:04 am

The March 25, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World reported that the Cozy Theatre in Shawnee was to be remodeled and enlarged:

“The work of remodeling and enlarging the Cozy theater, Shawnee, Okla., in which $7,000 is to be expended, is to begin at once. With the contemplated enlargement of the Cozy a new firm has been organized to conduct this theater. A. J. Cammack has gone in with Jake Jones and Nicholas Albert, the proprietors heretofore, and the firm will be known as Jones, Albert & Cammack.

“Increasing business merited the enlarging of the Cozy. The new dimensions of this photoplay house are 40 by 140 feet. It will have a seating capacity of 636. The proprietors expect to have the new place completed in time for Easter. The Cozy when completed will be a worthy addition to the, handsome structures in Shawnee.”

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

The Cozy Theatre on West Main Street in Shawnee, Oklahoma opened on March 19, 1911.

Published in the Shawnee News on March 19, 1911.

The Cozy Theatre, the new West Main street playhouse, opens this afternoon with a vaudeville performance at 2:30 o'clock. The Cossars in a comedy sketch will be the opening attraction. Kloepfer’s orchestra will play and the moving pictures will be of the best.

The Cozy is a splendid theater, being equipped with 300 opera chairs, excellently ventilated, with many exits, and in every way a perfect house of its kind.

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