Grand Theater

313 E. Grand Avenue,
Escondido, CA 92026

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Showing 18 comments

rivest266 on July 13, 2019 at 1:38 pm

This became the Bijou on December 8th, 1976.

DavidZornig on April 7, 2019 at 2:51 pm

In the below 2010 YouTube link, Lorraine Boyce the first woman mayor of Escondido recalls her part in the closure of the Pussycat Theatre.

1hardworker on June 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm

If the owners are ever going to remodel it, I would love to be a part of it. I would really like to be a part of Escondido history. I would probably even volunteer.

LebowskiT1000 on July 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Here’s a cool newspaper clipping showing all the movies playing in the general area back in 1975.

Newspaper Clipping

From this site: Valley Drive-In Blogspot

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on September 1, 2010 at 5:00 am

I believe the building in that Google link two posts above is an old drugstore. The theater appears to be to the right of that, one building in from the corner of Juniper Street.

CSWalczak on August 31, 2010 at 11:35 pm

A plan has been submitted to the Escondido City Council that would turn the Ritz into a cabaret dinner theater and events venue: View link

kencmcintyre on January 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I’m reasonably certain that this is the theater building:

JayAllenSanford on August 8, 2008 at 7:31 am

New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
View link

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2007 at 11:36 am

Advertised at 309 E. Grand in September 1979. Name was the Bijou. Feature films were “Wanda Nevada” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

ChiperSoft on February 5, 2006 at 2:34 pm

An article in today’s North County Times says that the Boroughs have spent $70,000 in repairs so far on the building in the 3 years they have owned it. Repairs were halted this past year while they did work on their 112 year old house, but they plan to resume renovation in a month. Their hopes are to make it a community owned theater.

Article link: View link

Ralgev on December 18, 2005 at 1:04 pm

A great 1951 photo of the exterior of the Ritz Escondido was printed in the San Diego Union Tribune on Dec. 18, 2005. Flames are soaring through the roof as the marquee displays “Fireball”. An art deco design (long gone) graced the facade of the building. The theater closed for 3 years following the fire. As of this date, the owners have spent $150,000 to clean up the theater, but no opening is on the horizon.

trooperboots on January 31, 2005 at 3:07 pm

Hello DJ,

I don’t think the place is haunted…. it ran for many years just fine. It’s a great venue if someone were to put a little into cleaning it up. It’s in a great location with lots of drive-by traffic.

The new owners are Chuck and Leona Borough and the Chamber of Commerce or City Directory will have them listed. If you need more info, perhaps I can help a bit more.

harmz on January 31, 2005 at 11:51 am

Im trying to rent or lease this estabishment if any one can get me contact information it would be greatly appriciated.

ps. I have been keeping a track of this estabishment for a few years now and noticed when ever someone tries to open something up there it closes down pretty fast due to tragic events that have happened in the past, does any ony one know if this place is HAUNTED?

trooperboots on January 14, 2005 at 12:40 pm

It’s actually a great name for a theater: According to the dictionary…

n. Informal
“Elegant, often ostentatious display.”

“to put on the ritz” (Informal)
“To behave or live in an elegant, ostentatious manner.”

EdPayton on January 12, 2005 at 12:34 pm

this where ritz cracker is made

tbdavid on January 12, 2005 at 11:06 am

Hello from Colorado!

Vincent Miranda was my God Father and owner of the Pussycat Chain. I have been putting together a collection of ANYTHING Pussycat befor all is lost. I would really like to find an old marquee…you know..the oval w/ the Ms. pussycat and “It’s a Pussycat Theatre” Even an old match book would make my day.I have only been able to find pics of the New View and the Tiki. i would like to find a pic for each California Pussycat eventually..Please..if you have any information..let me know.

Tim david


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 29, 2004 at 4:35 am

Southwest Builder and Contractor of April 23rd, 1937, announced that Clifford Balch had prepared the plans for a theatre at Escondido. The name of the theatre was not given in my source, but the timing was right for it to be the Ritz.

The earlier publication, Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, issue of September 18th, 1909, mentions a theatre (again, no name given) that was to be erected at 5th and B Streets, Escondido, for a Mr. John Johnston, Jr. Apparently, the Johnston family was in the theatre business in Escondido for a long time.

trooperboots on December 29, 2004 at 2:15 am

In October, 2003, the theater was struck by a utility company truck, which crashed right through the lobby. The driver, who suffered a heart attack at the wheel of the truck, died. Until a settlement is complete, the theaters future use is still uncertain. The facade still is boarded up because of the extensive damage caused by the accident.