The Ritz Theater, Our Home
A pair of post cards from the early days.
This is the way the Ritz Theater in Rockville looked back in 1915. Although the basic design remains the same today, the upstairs balcony is gone and two different marquees were added over the next thirty years. The second of which was built in 1948 and remains today after complete restoration in 2003.
Lucy Washburn, a girl thought to be her daughter and Ritz Theater Manager Bud Washburn in 1935.
Bud Washburn stands in front of the Ritz in 1935. The first of two overhanging marquees is seen here with the Carey - Alexander initials displayed on each end. Carey/Alexander was the small chain of regional theaters that purchased the "New Rockville Opera House" from the "Protestant Building Association" in 1926. The P.B.A. was a thinly veiled arm of the Klu Klux Klan that collapsed following the D.C. Stephens debacle that brought down the Klan fueled Indiana power structure of the 1920's. "Curley Top", a movie starring Shirley Temple came out on August 2, 1935. Notice the cut-out of Shirley Temple tied to the back of Bud's car! (left side of photo)
Ticket roll showing admission to a Ritz Theatre movie at .14¢
EST. Price .12
Fed. Tax .02
From left to right: Manager Bud Washburn, Projectionist Dolph Davies, Ticket Vendor Billy Lee, Cashier Dorothy Davies and Building Service Woody Bradburn, 1936.
In the late 1930s, it cost 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children to see a movie at the Ritz Theater. The lobby cards on the wall on the left are for the 1938 movie "Going Places" starring Dick Powell, Anita Louise, Allen Jenkins and Ronald Reagan. According to Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide, the movie was a "nonsensical musical with a variety of songs, steeplechase riding and obligatory romantic interludes". Louis Armstrong and Maxine Sullivan introduce hit song 'Jeepers Creepers.' Beside the ticket seller is a stand-up promo for the movie "Tail Spin." This 1939 movie starred Ronald Reagan's first wife, Jane Wyman. The lobby cardholder is still in at the Ritz today and the ticket booth looks the same. Parke Players renovated the lobby and added new restrooms and concession area in the south east corner of the building in 2003 .
Bud Washburn in his office in 1939.
Schedule cards were in local mail boxes throughout the 1940's and 50's. This one is from July1943.
The Ritz Theater, October 1971
The Ritz Theater, October 1972
Restoration of the 1948 marquee, featuring the full chase lighting and neon nose. The "RITZ" letters were discovered behind the front wall during this restoration and were restored as well.
This is the first Ritz sign from the mid 1930's. The sign is a passive "light thief" that used light from the lighted lobby for night time illumination. It was located over the front doors where it is now before the first of the two Art Deco marquees were built.
The Historic Ritz Theater after the 2003 renovation.
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