Old Durham Road,
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Located in the centre of Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, on Brunswick Street at the corner of Argyle Street (which no longer exist today). The Ritz Cinema was built for the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain and opened on 25th July 1938 with Greta Garbo in “Marie Waleska”. Designed by the Newcastle based architectural firm Percy L. Browne, Son & Harding. It had a brick facade, which included the side of the auditorium that ran parallel to Brunswick Street. The line of the facade was by a square tower feature at the entrance end of the building. Seating was provided in the auditorium for 1,214 in the stalls and 744 in the circle. There was a stage, which was used in the early days and up until August 1946 for Sunday big band concerts. (Films were not allowed to be shown on Sundays in Gateshead until 1946).
Vincent Price in “House of Wax” was the first film to be screened here in 3D on 23rd November 1953, followed by the 3D version Howard Keel in “Kiss Me Kate”. The first CinemaScope film to be screened at the Ritz Cinema was Guy Madison in “The Command” on 24th November 1954.
The Ritz Cinema was closed on 18th May 1968 with Dennis Waterman in “Up the Junction”. It had been purchased in a compulsory purchase order to build the A1 road viaduct, a scheme which also destroyed the nearby Essoldo Theatre.
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