New Ritz Theatre

107 East Main Avenue,
Ritzville, WA 99169

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Interior from loge seats

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1937 with 400-seats, the Ritz Theatre sits at the edge of Ritzville’s small downtown. It’s large enough to be multiplexed, but still has just one screen. The name ‘RITZ’ is on a tower at the left end of the building. Judging from old postcards, it was once red enamel with light (yellow?) letters, but is now painted in nauseating putty pink like the rest of the building, with the neon tubes removed.

Taken over by new management in 2014, it was re-named Ritz Theatre (again) and the seating capacity has been reduced to 250.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

PopcornNRoses
PopcornNRoses on July 31, 2008 at 3:33 am

I saw SO MANY movies here when I was a teenager! I lived in Harrington and Ritzville was much easier to get to than Spokane. Yes, you had to wait 4-6 months for the big movies to come down, but I remember it would be jammed every weekend night – it was only open on the weekends then, as I recall. IT’s nice to know it’s still in business…

PopcornNRoses
PopcornNRoses on July 31, 2008 at 3:34 am

Actually, I think I saw them at the OLD Ritz, since it’s the 70s we’re talking about here, but the idea is still the same…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 29, 2008 at 7:33 pm

From Boxoffice Magazine, September 18, 1937: “Roy Irvine has opened his new theatre in Ritzville, Wash. The house seats 450 and was designed by Bjarne Moe.”

Bjarne Moe was the architect of the Roxy Theatre, Bremerton; the Crest Theatre in Seattle; the Lake City Theatre, Seattle; the Bungalo Theatre, St. Maries, Idaho; and the Liberty Theatre, Ellensburg. There are probably quite a few others, but I haven’t unearthed them yet. In addition, he was the architect for many theatre remodeling jobs.

A 1944 issue of Boxoffice featured a photo of many employees of the Seattle office of the B.F. Shearer Co., a theater supply and design house. Bjarne Moe was among them.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 6:12 am

2011 photos can be seen here and here.

gingersnaps
gingersnaps on April 26, 2013 at 8:26 am

Here is a link to the Boxoffice Magazine article that Mr. Vogel refers to. Also available from boxoffice.com as a PDF.

gingersnaps
gingersnaps on April 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

The local weekly paper featured a snippet about the theater in its “Remembering from the Files” feature last year under the “75 years ago” section. A PDF is available.

gingersnaps
gingersnaps on April 26, 2013 at 8:32 am

Another “Remembering from the Files” blurb about transfer of ownership. This must be the “other theater in town” people have asked about. A PDF is available.

gingersnaps
gingersnaps on April 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The Kendrick Collection of photographs (search for “theater” or “main street”), available for viewing on the Washington State Digital Archives page, is an excellent source for older photos of the theater around the time it was first built.

The collection also has a few photos of the “original” Ritz theater, which looks to have been located near the train depot.

gingersnaps
gingersnaps on October 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

“Artist’s Drawing of new $30,000 Theater at Ritzville” from April 8, 1937 of the Spokesman Review includes fun tidbit about the theater being the first in Adams County to be air-conditioned.

dart384
dart384 on October 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Does anyone remember a person by the name E.R Bechtel I found a watch at a auction his name engraved on the watch with bf shearer 1946 I was wondering if relatives r still around my email is

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