Ritz Theater

1490 Mississippi Boulevard,
Memphis, TN 38109

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Opened in 1959, this theater was wonderful. It was all we had for enjoyment other than the Bethelham Center. We would save Pet Milk Labels for a whole week just to get a chance to go to the Ritz Theater to see a good movie. The building was a classical building only if I had a camera at that time to take the pictures so that I could show them to you all. It was located next door to a big huge rental home and next door to it was a Cafe called the Green Tree Cafe. Life was so much easier then and happier. What happen to those places that brought this happiness into our lives.

The Ritz Theater was closed in 1967 and demolished in 1969.

Contributed by Helen

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Backseater
Backseater on October 1, 2005 at 1:20 pm

Correction: that’s Playhouse on the Square, not Theater Memphis—sorry.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on October 2, 2005 at 2:14 am

The Memphian/Playhouse on the Square is listed at 51 South Cooper. Was the Memphian also once know as the Ritz?

Backseater
Backseater on October 2, 2005 at 9:54 am

The Memphian was the Memphian as far back as 1963 and until it was taken over by Playhouse on the Square. I first went there in late 1963 or early 64. Before that I can’t say—but the Guild on Poplar was the only one I ever heard of as having once been named the Ritz, as described above. The Memphian was just across Overton Park from the Southwestern Campus and I used to walk over there to the show and then walk back across the park to SW at Midnight or later. Probably just as well not to get stopped by the Cops doing that, even in the early 1960s—and don’t even think about it nowadays! Best wishes.

BIGGIE4852
BIGGIE4852 on March 24, 2006 at 1:31 pm

Yes there where two Ritz. The Pet milk can story was true, actually we just cut them of the can in the super market and get one free ticket. I think it was the only air condition building where we could go to in the summer. I did not no there was two Ritz in Memphis. This one was on the black side of town near BTW High School.

Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards on April 15, 2009 at 4:52 am

This theatre is not affiliated with Coming Attractions Theatres.

RA35
RA35 on December 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm

In 1960 I was introduced to a Mr.Zarro, I called him ‘Mr.Z’ by my father. He wanted to know if I wanted the job of running pictures at the theatre he was opening(remodeling). I had just gotten my license a year earlier. You know the answer to this? I went to work right away. first installing new seats, building sound proofing racks for the walls. when the century projectors came I installed them and the 2 peerless lamps driven by 6 selium rectifier each. With the help of Butch I hung the 30' screen. A big Indian named Casey did the electrical, he was familar with RCA sound system. In the earlier days of the theatre it had the smaller version of lamps with simplex projectors and the projection room was not very large

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

I do not believe thats a photo of the Ritz Chuck posted Apr 15,2009.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Chuck but the other photo did look better.

RA35
RA35 on July 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Berore it reopened as the “Ritz” it was named “Ace”. After it reopened I was the projectionist there until I went into service. I live in Memphis,Tn and I would like to talk with Helen and biggie4852. my email is will you pass it on.

Thanks
esquire

vastor
vastor on December 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

I am perplexed about this theatre. No trace of an older building remains at the site which matches the address. It is in the neighborhood where Mississippi dog-legs around Havana St. This is NOT the Ace/Ritz address it has a page of its own and a photo at American Classic Images. This area may have had a theatre but I haven’t seen it in any other place at this address. Did the info come from City Directory listings? It is not listed elsewhere at this address that I can find. Only the Ace/Ritz at 997 Mississippi and the Ritz (now the Evergreen)at 1705 Poplar which has been mistakenly listed as “negro” which it never exclusively was. The Ace/Ritz was “negro” as it was in a predominantly “colored” neighborhood.

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