Ramona Theatre

313 E. Van Buren Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85003

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The Ramona Theatre was opened prior to 1930, with seating listed at 800. This was an African American Theatre, and was the only one to operate in the State of Arizona.

The theatre closed around 1955 and has since been demolished.

Any further information on the Ramona Theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

acmeron
acmeron on June 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm

The Ramona billed itself as the ‘Home of Westerns’ in the 40’s. They ran older films and were near the Spanish language theaters, the Azteca and Rex. Most kids never went that far east on Washington Street. The Marquee had a large RAMONA at the center and a sign that said ‘Always 2 Features.’ At an angle on each end were the sign letters for the movies playing.

editrix
editrix on March 24, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I have just found a reference to the Ramona Theater in Phoenix in my late great-aunt’s diary from 1930. She speaks of it from a middle-class white girl’s perspective (apologies for her bluntness). This is what she wrote on March 22, 1930:

Saturday, March 22 Paul and I went slumming tonight. Really – I mean. We started at the Romona theater – a dirty, smelly, poorly ventilated hovel. Mexicans and Indians and relics of humanity seated around us. The vaudeville was ranker then rank. And the chorus girls were on the last step of degradation. It was hardly possible to believe that girls not much older than I am could be so course and Boulder and utterly devoid of any glimmer of respectability. The picture was an old-time cattle rustling adventure – with the hero galloping to the rescue. It was all very novel and we got a big boot out of it.

So it sounds as if it was there before 1935. She misspelled it, but she was a notoriously poor speller. I’ve been publishing her diaries at www.thedorisdiaries.com.

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