50 Clinton Street,
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Binghamton’s Ritz Theatre opened on Clinton Street in the 1920’s. At the end it was a very plain black-box theatre. Entering in through two small doors under the overhanging three-sided marquee, the small lobby with restrooms and a small box office/concession combo gave way to the auditorium. The booth was accessed via spiral staircase in the manager’s office. The auditorium was separated from the lobby not by doors but by curtains.
One interesting thing about the Ritz Theatre was that in the dirt basement, there were two large wheels with handles on the walls opposite each other. When you turned these wheels in tandem, the pitch of the wooden auditorium floor would change. Apparently, the theatre was used for dances and bingo games (as well as movies) back in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Loews acquired this theatre with the purchase of USA Cinemas in 1988. It transferred to an independent owner in 1991. Under the weight of heavy snow, the auditorium collapsed one morning about two hours before the first show of “Nightmare Before Christmas” was to begin. Nobody was in the building, and it was demolished shortly thereafter.
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