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In the 1980s it became a sporting goods store. Most recently it was a COSI restaurant and the original Ruby Foo’s Restaurant. The entire blockfront is scheduled for demolition this fall (2011.)
I passed this location a month ago, March 2011. The building has been demolished.
The Ritz in Spring Lake was one of a group of North Jersey Coast theaters known as Arcadia Theaters in the 1950s and 1960â€™s when I lived in Spring Lake. The â€œchainâ€ also included the Palace (Bradley Beach), the Rivoli and Rialto (Belmar), Algonquin (Manasquan), Arnold (Point Pleasant), Lorraine (Bay Head), Lavalette (Lavalette), and the Fly-in-Drive-In, as well as, possibly, the Colonial and Strand in Seaside Park and others that I donâ€™t recall. The Palace, Rivoli, Algonquin, and Arnold operated year round, two shows a night and weekend â€œkiddieâ€ matinees. The others were open summers only, two evening shows and â€œrainy dayâ€ matinees of the regular feature at the beachfront locations.
I donâ€™t know how they were owned, but they shared a distribution agreement, as films would circulate from one to another, with as many as three changes of bill a week. Their advertising was mostly window cards in local storefronts, and possibly an ad in the local daily Asbury Park Press. They were distinct from the Walter Reade chain, until Reade began buying some of the surviving properties in the 1970s. Only two survive: the Palace became the Beach, and the Algonquin is now an Arts Center.
The Ritz was a one-story building with no balcony. As noted in another post, it was to the left (east) of the large white building with the columns, and was demolished some time ago. (1970s?) The Google Maps Street View camera shows that the corner building is still there. If that building once housed a theater of any sort, it would have been pre-1940.