Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood/Brentwood | Santa Monica | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces |
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Theatres in Movies site and the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Ritz Theatre

6656 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
| map |


The News: If it ever gets open it'll be a hologram theatre operated by the company Film On. The marquee and signage on the facade has all been rebuilt and is flashier than it's been in decades but it appears that there's a bit of work to do before the opening. Photo: Bill Counter - July 2016

Work began in December 2015. Since mid-2016 the marquee has been advertising a Billie Holiday hologram show as coming soon but as of early 2017 the renovation appears stalled. First News Junkies had an April 2016 story.  The company's website: www.filmon.tv



Did the money run out for the renovation? The sign work is all done - and it's on all the time. But no signs of an opening over a year after work began.  Photo: Bill Counter - July 2016

Original opening: Converted from a bowling alley in 1939 to a newsreel theatre, the News-View -- a name it kept at least until the mid 50s. Beginning in 1941 it was an operation of a newsreel chain called Tele-View. Previously the firm had a short run down the street at the theatre later known as the Hitching Post.

In the 1942 city directory it's listed simply as the Newsreel Theatre. It was later known as the New-View -- at least into 1974. The "s" came down and was replaced by a longer hyphen when the house gave up the newsreel business and converted to features. Frequently in ads the name lacked the hyphen.

John Gordon Huber notes that in 1968 it was where "Bonnie and Clyde" played exclusively during its sub-run. The theatre did so much business it justified adding a snack bar, when before they only had vending machines in the lobby. The film had originally opened across the street at the Vogue Theatre.

It once had an infamous nightclub, Masque, in the basement. Pacific Theatres was the operator in the 60s and early 70s. In 1974 it went to porno as the Pussycat Theatre. The chain gave it a remodel with the present marquee, as Cinema Treasures contributor Joe Vogel has noted, coming from that re-do.

You can still see the remnants of the oval Pussycat signage atop the facade. The big booking as the Pussycat was "Deep Throat" and "Devil in Miss Jones" -- running about 10 years. In 1989 it became the Ritz and was booked as a revival theatre.

Closing as a film house was in 1991. It became a church in 1994. At end of 2015 the church was gone and work on the marquee and facade began in preparation for the new tenant, a hologram theatre. The project seems to have stalled despite the brightly lit rebuilt marquee. Opening day? We'll see.

Architect: Harry Wright

Seating: 386

The Ritz in the Movies: 


A look east on Hollywood Blvd. during the filming of  Paul Mazursky's "Alex in Wonderland" (MGM, 1970). That's a bit of the Vogue over there on the left. Thanks to Bobby Cole for adding the photo to the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page. The Ritz (in 1970 called the New-View) is down there in the distance on the right, partially obscured by smoke. It shows up more clearly in the shot below.



An L.A. Times photo by Don Cormier of lovely Hollywood Blvd. during the filming of "Alex in Wonderland." The film stars Donald Sutherland and Ellen Burstyn. See the Theatres in Movies post on "Alex in Wonderland" for another shot showing the Egyptian.

The New-View appears near the end of "The Zodiac Killer" (Audubon Films, 1971). There are also shots of the Vogue, the Hollywood Theatre and Warner.



Mel Gibson comes out of a nightclub and ends up under the Ritz marquee for some mayhem near the end of Richard Donner's "Lethal Weapon" (Warner Bros., 1987). The film also stars Danny Glover.



Looking east on Hollywood Blvd in "Lethal Weapon" with the Vogue Theatre on the left, and across the street, the Ritz -- called the Pussycat at the time of the film.



We get some serious auto action on Hollywood Blvd. in "Lethal Weapon." We're looking west with the Ritz/Pussycat Theatre on the right.



Shepard Fairey does his bit to the old Pussycat oval atop the Ritz Theatre in Banksy's "Exit Through the Gift Shop" (Producers Distribution Agency, 2010).

Status: Soon to be a holographic theatre. Maybe. See the news at the top.



Thanks to Christopher Crouch for this lobby photo, a contribution of his to the Cinema Treasures page on the Ritz.



An auditorium view during the theatre's days as a church. Thanks to contributor Socal09 on Cinema Treasures for the photo.



A 40s look at the theatre that Ken McIntyre found on eBay. He had it as a post on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



A 1944 view of the theatre as the News-View from the Bison Archives collection of Hollywood Historic Photos. Look at that great banner underneath the readerboard: "One Hour Show -- SPEND A Worthwhile HOUR." First News Junkies also ran the shot with an April 2016 story about the theatre's proposed new life as a venue for viewing concert holograms.

Note the "Tele-View" signage that has appeared atop the marquee. That chain had briefly operated the theatre that was later to be known as the Hitching Post as a newsreel house.

The photo has also been seen in a cropped (and non-watermarked) version as a post by Ken McIntyre on Facebook's Photos of Los Angeles. The page also had a re-post of a slightly different version. A smaller version of the photo also appeared on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.



A 1951 Life Magazine photo by Ralph Crane looking east on Hollywood Blvd.. It gives us a glimpse of the Ritz in its News-View days. It's on the far right -- we see "Newsreels," the lettering above the west readerboard and a squished look at the white News-View neon on the facade.

Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the shot for a post on his Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. It's also on Google/Life Images and Tourmaline has it on Noirish Los Angeles post #35733.



There's also this slightly different take by Ralph Crane for Life -- with banners across the street. It's in the Google/ Life Photos collection.



Another 1951 Life photo, this time looking west. Can you find the News-View/Ritz in the forest of neon this side of the Egyptian's green tower?  Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting the photo in the Life collection and posting it on Photos of Los Angeles. On the same Facebook page Bill Gabel also has added another version. You can also find it on Tourmaline's Noirish Los Angeles post #35733.



A view of the theatre from Magnum Photos. Magnum dates it as 1951 and locates it in New York City, but we know it belongs in Hollywood.  It is a photo by Elliott Erwitt and was located in the archive by Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel.



"Welcome Santa - Merry Xmas To All" says the marquee in this 1951 Christmas parade view of the News-View behind the Marymount College float. It's a Los Angeles Daily News photo in the collection of the UCLA Library.



A look east on busy Hollywood Blvd. on
November 28, 1952. In this great view located by Ken McIntyre for Photos of Los Angeles, you can see the Ritz readerboard (then saying "Newsreels" atop it) just above the second car on the right. The towers in the distance are the Warner. The theatre marquee on the extreme left is the Vogue.

The photo also appears on Vintage Los Angeles, SoCal Historic Architecture and  Noirish L.A. post #10750. James J. Chun also did a repost on Photos of LA.




A lovely c.1955 view west from the Richard Wojcik collection on Vintage Los Angeles. On the left just past the intersection is the New-View/Ritz with the green tower of the Egyptian beyond in the distance. On the right, note the tower of the Vogue.

Richard notes: "No date, but streetcar service ended in 1954---because their tracks have been removed and the street looks recently paved, I think this is circa-1955."



A nice post on
the site LAist, "Vintage Videos: Hollywood Blvd. in the 1940s, 50s and 60s," offers a great selection of short video clips focusing on Hollywood Blvd. 


Here we get a shot of the New-View in 1956 from a Getty Images one minute clip from Alison Martino, of Vintage Los Angeles Facebook fame, called "Hollywood Blvd. part 3 1956, Part 3." It's on YouTube. Some of the same footage is included in a longer Hollywood compilation "Hollywood Blvd. 1957" loaded on YouTube by Craiglaca1.



A 1963 photo of the theatre from Getty images. Thanks to Bill Ware for posting it as a comment about a 1977 view on the Facebook page You know you grew up in Hollywood because...



A fine look east in August 1964 from Richard Wojcik on Vintage Los Angeles.  The News-View is in the center, between the two light posts. Over on the left the Vogue is running "A Shot in the Dark."  Thanks, Richard!
 


The superb Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection includes this 1972 photo of the Ritz when it was the New-View playing "The Last Picture Show" and "Easy Rider."

The collection also includes a 1976 view from atop the building, a 1979 facade view and several others. Browse the site for more Hollywood theatre photos to purchase.



A 70s view west from Cherokee toward the theatre, then still the New-View.  Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo from his collection. It's also been seen on Vintage Los Angeles as a post of Richard Wojcik.



A shot of a young Joan Jett outside the Ritz/ Pussycat Theatre. It's a 1977 Brad Elterman photo. You can find it on Mr. Elterman's website in the "old" section. He also has it on a SOKO- Joan Jett Story page where he re-created his Hollywood shots with Ms. Jett using the french singer SOKO as a project for Vice.com.

The photo also appears in Chapter 4 of Jay Allen Sanford's "Pussycat Theatres: A Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty."



Another view of Joan Jett in front of the theatre. Thanks to John Alvarez for the post of the photo on the Facebook page You Know You grew up in Hollywood because....



A photo taken early in the multi-year run of "Deep Throat" after the theatre was renamed the Pussycat. It appears in Chapter 4 of Jay Allen Sanford's history of the chain: "Pussycat Theatres: A Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty." This rambling book-length history is on blogspot in two sections: Chapter 1 and Chapters 2 to 15. It first appeared in the San Diego Reader in 2010 -- but their online version is now missing all its photos.



A photo of the theatre in its Pussycat Theatre days from Cezar Del Valle's collection. Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian. For other interesting material visit him on Facebook and on the Theatre Talks blog.



Thanks to Jay Allen Sanford for this shot taken during the final week of the "Deep Throat" run. It appears in Chapter 4 of his history of the chain: "Pussycat Theatres: A Comprehensive History of a California Dynasty."

 

The theatre c.1981 in its Pussycat days. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the post of the image on Photos of Los Angeles.



Thanks to John A. Mozzer for this shot he took in January 1987. It's with a few other Hollywood vacation views in his album on Jamworks/Smugmug.



"$2.00 Always 3 Big Hits." It's 1989 and the Ritz is running "The Abyss," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Night Game." The photo is a find of Ken McIntyre who posted it on Photos of Los Angeles.



Another 1989 photo, this time from the Billy Smith / Don Lewis album Vanishing Movie Theaters on Flickr.



The Ritz Theatre when it was running revivals c.1990. It's a Gary Graver photo. He was a filmmaker and cinematographer who took many photos of vintage theatres. More can be seen on You Tube: "Second Run - part 1" and "Second Run - part 2." Thanks to Sean Graver for use of the photo. See the Wikipedia article on Gary.



Thanks to Eric Evans on Flickr for this fine 1990 photo.



Ed Ruscha, perhaps better known for "Twentysix Gasoline Stations" and "Every Building on the Sunset Strip," also had a fling with Hollywood Blvd. Here we get a look at the Ritz in 1973 (as the New-View, top) and in 2002 (with Ritz signage but as a church, bottom). The video, part of the Getty initiative "Pacific Standard Time Presents:Modern Architecture in L.A.," has been posted by The Getty on YouTube as a five minute video, up one side of the street and then down the other.

Many of his works reside at The Getty. This one, from the "Streets of Los Angeles" archive at the Getty Research Institute, was part of their exhibition "Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future 1940-1990." Mr. Ruscha lives and works in Culver City.



A facade view before the "I" fell off the building. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this one -- he had it as a post on Photos of Los Angeles.



 The Ritz Theatre as a church. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The "R tz" Theatre in 2008. Down the street a bit (out of sight) on the left is the Egyptian. The Vogue Theatre is on the right. Musso & Frank's is just out of the frame on the right side. It's a view from Google Maps. Head there for a current interactive version.



A 2012 look at the facade by Ken McIntyre on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



The Ritz getting ready for a new tenant after the church left the building. Note here that the "R tz Theatre" letters (the "i" had been missing for years) that were on the facade even when it was a church had just been removed.  Photo: Bill Counter - January 2016

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page for lots of discussion. The Cinema Tour page has additional exterior views of the theatre.

The other Ritz: The perhaps more famous one was the Fox Ritz on Wilshire Blvd. It was gone by the time this one started using the Ritz name.

No comments:

Post a Comment