Ritz San Jose
400 S. First Street,
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Previously operated by: Pussycat Theatres
Functions: Live Music Venue
Previous Names: Gay Theatre, Pussycat Theatre
Opened in June 1948 in a building which was once a garage, this theatre was named after the daughter of the promoter who conceived it. The Gay Theatre was the southernmost anchor of downtown San Jose’s S. 1st Street theatre district.
In the 1970’s, the Gay Theatre became the Pussycat Theatre, joining that chain of adult theatres, and in 1989, with the ongoing revitalization of downtown, it became the F/X nightclub, and the marquee was restored.
Unfortunately, with the more recent incarnation as The Usual, another club, the marquee was severely altered and stripped of neon, making the building appear more…well, usual. Later occupied by the club Spy, the building then became the nightclub, Angels Ultra Lounge & Cabaret. By 2015 it was a live music venue name Ritz San Jose.
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Recent comments (view all 16 comments)
Cool, that’s an urban legend shot put to rest – I’d heard that one for years…..
Vince Miranda was my God father.He was NOT married to Rosemary Clooney!! However, he was very good friends with Rosemarie (The Dick Van Dyke Show).She was a great family friend. It was printed in some gossip rags like Rona Barrett’s that they were dating. That too is untrue.Although…they both went on the Mike Douglas show and stated otherwise.
He was a great guy , and I miss him very much.I have been putting together a collection of pussycat memorbilia…if any of you out there have any photos, letters , or even storys..Please let mr know.
Yet another incarnation for the Gay Theatre: It is now called Angels. There is pink neon on the marquee for the first time since the Pussycat days, as well as a pair of stylized angel wings made of thousands of silvery sequin-like disks, which move and shimmer in the breeze. Not a bad design at all, though the original marquee look is sorely missed.
New book-length Pussycat Theatre history from the San Diego Reader:
This is from a few years ago. The related website has also gone kaput, so I think it’s curtains for the nightclub.
The Gay Theatre was opened a year earlier than the intro currently says. Boxoffice of May 1, 1948, said that Bert Kennerson’s new Gay Theatre at San Jose would be ready to open about June 1. Boxoffice of July 10 said the house had opened, that the $55,000 house seated 600, and that its opening had brought the total number of theaters operating in San Jose to twelve.
The ORIGINAL marquee is BACK!! Thanks to Corey O'Brien, who has started a new venture…The Ritz San Jose! The restored venue is the epicenter for live music in the iconic SoFA District of downtown San Jose.
Interesting that the newest incarnation of the theatre/club is called Ritz. For a very brief time in the 1920s, a little further down the same block, there actually was a small movie theatre in operation called the Ritz. During my research for my book, Theatres of San Jose, I only found it listed in the City Directory for a few years, and never found any photos of it. I went to where the address number should have been, but all the buildings at that point in the block are so thoroughly remodeled, it was impossible to find any building that could have been the old Ritz.
You know the way to San Jose then Gary?
Put THIS one down as closed but definitely not demolished! The marquee still stands as well as the stage where the screen was at South 1st and San Salvador. Drinks are a little pricey but it for the seniors at SJSU! Huge DJ booth a plus! From porn to rock bands. Only in San José! 🤩🤩😍😍