534 Spring Street,
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The Ritz Theatre was a post-World War II all African-American theatre in Danville, VA. One of only two such establishments, the other being the Hippodrome (1920’s-1932), owned and operated by the African-American community in Danville. The Ritz Theatre was a very plain building which was built in 1946, opening on December 14, 1946 according to City records and operated until it closed in 1957.
At present the Ritz Theatre building serves as the home of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith. Many of the display windows are still intact and the front of the building still has the outline of the old ticket booth and markings of where the marquee use to be.
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First planned by J. Coates Carter, and constructed by cinder block and bricks, the $100,000 552-Capacity colored Ritz Theatre opened its doors on December 14, 1946 and was first owned by Bernard Depkin Jr., and Rives Brown, both from Martinsville.
The Ritz closed for a time on September 2, 1954 for the installation of CinemaScope (I didn’t notice it until now), and reopened a few months later. It was closed in 1957.
The Ritz’s CinemaScope wasn’t mainly used very often, possible due to Danville’s dominant mainstream indoor theaters (the Capitol, North, and Lea) and secondary indoor mainstreamers (Rialto and Schoolfield) all had CinemaScope.