Ritz Theatre

18 W. 4th Street,
Tulsa, OK 74103

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Showing 1 - 25 of 32 comments

seymourcox on November 18, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Here is a theatre pipe organ much grander than the one played inside the Ritz Theatre, but both instruments were produced by Robert Morton –
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missmelbatoast on July 20, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Though not yet proven, it has been said that this is a photo of the Ritz basement smoking room,
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missmelbatoast on July 20, 2009 at 5:31 pm

This photo is entitled “Tulsa Schools, Theatres, and Eateries of the 1930’s”,
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Rodney on October 25, 2007 at 4:37 pm

Used inside the four-million-dollar atmospheric Casa Bonita Restuarant were many decorative details salvaged from both the Ritz and Orpheum. Pimk clouds were projected onto a violet plaster sky by the Ritz Brenograph. This fabulous eatery was also a quisi cinema in that the amusement arcade had a miniature kiddie theatre that presented continuous cartoons.
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seymourcox on September 27, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Sepia toned auditorium detail shot …
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missmelbatoast on September 9, 2007 at 9:04 pm

1942 exterior shot, notice smartly uniformed ushers practicing crowd control -
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atmos on July 31, 2007 at 6:14 am

The Eberson archives at the Wolfsonian in Florida have 24 design drawings of this theatre by Eberson dated 1925.

acer42 on July 26, 2007 at 8:38 pm


Yes, I have seen a photo of the Tulsa Orpheum. John must have had an Oklahoma connection. I’d be interested in seeing more photos of Eberson’s Oklahoma work since good photos of these theatres have been relatively unknown until now. Any detail photos of the Ritz?

seymourcox on July 26, 2007 at 4:32 pm

Tulsa Symphony Orchestra performing on Ritz stage…

seymourcox on July 22, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Have you also looked at the (Tulsa) Orpheum and (OKC) Orpheum pages? These were some of Eberson’s earlier works.

acer42 on July 12, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Thanks “OrpheumDennis” for responding to my post. I’m so glad that you can confirm that John Eberson designed the Ritz. I’m a member of the Theatre Historical Sciety and will suggest that someone (maybe me) do an article on this unknown Eberson atmospheric theatre. There are a number of Eberson atmospherics that are “lost” as far as photos are concerned. I was friends with Mike Miller who knew Drew Eberson (John’s son) and had obtained many photos of his father’s designs. John made it a point to have his theatres extensively photographed. Mike shared those photos with me although the Ritz was not included. Most of the photos were of theatres designed after 1926. The photos of the Ritz’s mezzanine area shows two features in common with other Eberson theatres. The water fountain on the left is IDENTICAL to the one in the Omaha Riviera (1927) and the Chicago Capitol (1925). The ceiling in that area is also identical (but in a smaller scale) to the ceiling in the Chicago Capitol’s foyer area. It’s great to discover a “new” Eberson theatre, and a nice one too.

OrpheumDennis on July 12, 2007 at 2:13 pm

I worked at the Orpheum (one block east of the Ritz) from June 1965 to January 1970. The advertising manager for our theatre chain, Bud Patton, had worked for years for Ralph Talbot Theatres, who at one time operated the Ritz, Orpheum, Majestic and Rialto. According to him, the Ritz was 1600 seats (I’ve seen it listed between 1500 and 2000), and there was never any question that the theatre was designed by John Eberson. I suspect that Saunders designed or decorated rooms for the fairly large Ritz Building, but he was NOT the architect for the theatre—Eberson was. The theatre closed in 1960 and was torn down the same year. The rest of the building remained until 1973 and a flower shop owned by James Maxwell (a one-time Tulsa mayor) occupied what was once the theatre’s outer lobby. The 4 manual/17 rank Robert Morton was purchased by an organist from Richardson, Texas and installed in his home. Curtains, rigging and stage flats from the vaudeville era went to Nathan Hale High School. The Ritz vertical sign was one of the most spectacular I’ve seen. It combined multicolored bulbs AND neon and the entire cycle must have taken 30-45 seconds to go through the complete cycle, or so it seemed when I was a kid.

acer42 on July 10, 2007 at 1:30 pm

After viewing the photos of the Ritz Theatre for the first time, I’d bet my life that John Eberson either designed this theatre or had a lot to do with its decoration. It has all the signature marks of an Eberson design, including the exact same features used in many of his other theatres. It’s my opinion that Edward Saunders designed the office building that incorporated the theatre, but not the theatre itself. I’ve been studying theatre architecture for years and photos of this theatre were unknown up until now. I was always suspicious that Eberson may have designed the theatre since in 1926, he pretty much was the only architect designing atmospheric theatres. Other architects didn’t start doing them until late 1927 and 1928. Now that these photos have surfaced, more may be learned about this lost gem.

raybradley on June 4, 2007 at 9:31 am

From Tulsa Library’s Beryl Ford Collection come these Ritz auditoirum images -

Partial view of the pipe organ. Ben Hall’s book “Best Remaining Seats” has a wonderful shot of this instrument -

seymourcox on April 29, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Could one of the reasons the Ritz met an early demise was because it sat on the most valuable real estate in downtown Tulsa?

seymourcox on April 13, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Two other 1940s scenes, this one looks as if it were taken by dawn’s early light,
and an unusual 1957 view as seen from the Akdar Theatre block,

seymourcox on April 9, 2007 at 9:56 am

In this 1927 aerial view can be seen the (foreground) Majestic, (center) Ritz, and (background) Akdar,
c1940 exterior view

seymourcox on December 16, 2006 at 8:15 am

After looking at the interior photos of the Ritz Theatre on the BFC site, I can’t help but wonder if John Eberson had something to do with designing this auditorium. It sure carries his style.
Another reason I suspect this may be an Ebersonian work is that I remember my grandparents mentioning a stuffed parrot suspended from a swing inside the auditorium. They also talked about a colorful stuffed peacock in front of an organ grill. And what about all those stuffed doves?

raybradley on September 2, 2006 at 12:59 pm

On above mentioned Tulsa Library/BFC Collection, good images of the Majestic, New Orpheum, and RITZ can be seen under listings for “4th & Main”, and (of course) under “Ritz Theatre”.

Okie on August 5, 2006 at 9:14 am

Antique postcard entitled “Heart of City by Night” illustrates Majestic and Ritz roof signs. Most all buildings in site were demolished in the 1970s,
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Okie on August 2, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Above mentioned Beryl Ford Collection now is in alphabetical order. Ritz Theater photos can be found under these headings; “4th and Main”, 1950, “Pythian Building”, and “Ritz Theater”.

Okie on July 12, 2006 at 1:58 pm

These image numbers are constantly changing due to the fact that the Beryl Ford Photo Collection is still under construction.
This week Ritz Theatre pictures are on page 27-image 317, page 28-images 326 & 327. You’ll cerntainly enjoy browsing these vintage photographs!

xxx on July 8, 2006 at 6:04 pm

View crisp pictures of the Ritz Theatre on the below web link. Go to Browse the Collection, then see images 281, 290, and 291.
By the way, 281 photo list the name as Rich Theatre, but the structure seen in left background is definately the Ritz Bldg on West Fourth Street;