Ritz Theatre

204 Marion Street,
Athens, AL 35611

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Crescent Amusement Co., Martin Theatres

Architects: Joseph W. Holman, Thomas Marr

Firms: Marr & Holman

Functions: Church

Nearby Theaters

Now the Marion Street Church of Christ

The Ritz Theatre had its formal opening on Monday, April 30, 1928 by the Muscle Shoals Theatres Inc. It was located at 124 Marion Street (later re-addressed to 204 North Marion Street).

The building was on the sight of the old M.E. Church erected in 1836, with the walls and roof of the old building retained. The building was 105 feet long and 44 feet wide, with the main auditorium being 72 feet long. The theatre had 462 opera chairs with padded seats originally, with an additional 150 veneered seats in the balcony, 66 of which were reserved for “colored persons”, reached by a stairway on the south side of the building. The booth had two new Power 6B projection machines, and the theatre could be used for movies as well as plays and vaudeville. Louis Rosenbaum was the General Manager of Muscle Shoals Theatre, Inc. at the time. By 1941 the Muscle Shoals Theatre Inc. had become a subsidiary of the Crescent Amusement Co. out of Nashville, TN.

Seating capacity in 1954 was 565 and the theatre manager in 1954 was Robert Cannon. The theatre closed for good in 1963.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 11, 2012 at 5:29 am

Above reads 1936 and shoud read 1836. R.H. Walker was the owner and builder of the Ritz, who also owned and edited the Limestone County Democrat Newspaper. The first two movies shown at the Ritz were the United Artists 1927 “MY BEST GIRL” with Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers . United Artist was founded in 1919 by Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. The other movie was a MGM 1928 comedy “FAIR AND MUDDY”.

Was the first address a different site of the theatre (now a church) or did Athens change its street numbering system?

The site of the Ritz is now the Athens Fire Department, did they use any of the Ritz Building?

CT could use photos, both inside and out, and more info.


Chief Bob Jensen
Manteno, Illinois

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm





ad on November 28, 2014 at 10:59 am

It closed in 1973 not 1963.

ad on November 28, 2014 at 11:00 am

The Ritz was gutted and rebuilt on the inside. It is now the Marion Street Church of Christ.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 20, 2015 at 7:39 am

Moving Places: A Life at the Movies, by Jonathan Rosenbaum, grandson of Louis Rosenbaum, who opened this theater in 1928, has a few paragraphs about the Ritz which can be found on this web page. The section names the architects of the Ritz as the Nashville firm of Marr & Holman.

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