Ritz Theatre

1445 Main Street,
Sarasota, FL 34236

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Florida State Theaters Inc., Paramount Pictures Inc.

Firms: Kemp, Bunch & Jackson

Previous Names: Virginian Theatre, Sarasota Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Ritz Theatre...Sarasota Florida

The Virginian Theatre was opened in 1916 as a vaudeville theatre. A few months after it opened it began screening movies. In the 1920’s it was renamed Sarasota Theatre. In 1934 it was renamed Ritz Theatre and was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. By 1950 it was operated by Florida State Theaters Inc.

It was demolished in 1968 and the site became a car park. Since then a single story parade of shops are along this side of the street.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on October 27, 2010 at 7:48 am

The Virginian was opened by B.D. Robinson in 1916. Initially a vaudeville house, it began showing motion pictures a few months after opening. The Virginian became the Sarasota sometime in the 20s, and then changed its name to the Ritz in 1934, at which point it was run by the E.J. Sparks circuit. The Ritz was the first of the two major downtown theaters to close. It was operated by Florida State Theaters in its later years. The building was demolished in 1968 and a parking lot was established in its place. A restaurant is now on the site. The theater’s address would’ve been about 1481 Main Street (the northwest corner of Main and Lemon).

DavidZornig on October 10, 2015 at 9:51 am

Mid century postcard added courtesy of the Signs, Streets and Storefronts by Martin Treu Facebook page.

markabarclay on October 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm

We use to go there to the movies on Saturday am For free with 6 RC cola bottle caps in the 60’s

NamasteSuz on May 10, 2018 at 10:07 am

Am fairly certain the correct address for this would have been 1441 or 1445 Main Street, based upon its relative location midway down the block as documented by many historical pics (directly across from Kress bldg), local property records indicating year current buildings were constructed, plus verified by Sanborn insurance map directories I own. Therefore, the above address of 1481 is incorrect, as that bldg currently houses a restaurant further down from where the Ritz was, in an historic building that was originally built in 1920 which was not demolished.

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