Ritz Theatre

201 E. Main Street,
Arcola, IL 61910

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Arcola Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Ritz location as of 2013

The Arcola Theatre was opened in 1928 (not to be confused with an earlier Arcola Theatre which has its own page on Cinema Treasures). It became the Ritz Theatre on December 15, 1933 and seated 263. It was a family run business, with members of the family pitching in to work the projector and sell at the refreshments bar.

The Ritz Theatre closed in August of 1955 following the death of its owner Hugh McGregor on March 11, 1955. It was demolished in March 2021.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2021 at 11:58 pm

The death of Ritz owner Hugh McGregor on March 11, 1955 led to the closing of the theater on August 29, at which time the McGregor estate put the house up for sale. McGregor had opened the Ritz, Arcola’s first movie theater, on December 15, 1933. According to Boxoffice of September 10, 1955, the estate was also selling the Oakland Theatre at Oakland, Illinois, which had been dark since May 28.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 5, 2022 at 1:46 am

I don’t know why Boxoffice said in 1955 that the Ritz had been Arcola’s first theater when it opened in 1933. Not only does the 1926 Film Daily Year Book list a 300-seat house called the Olympia there, but the July 29, 1922 issue of The Billboard says that a house called the New Lyric Theatre had recently opened in Arcola. Not only that, but the Olympia was mentioned in the January 3, 1914 issue of Moving Picture World, and listed in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory as the Olympian Theatre. Then the April 9, 1921 MPW mentions an Arcola Theatre, while the August 13 issue that year mentions the sale of the “Olympic” (undoubtedly a typo for Olympia.)

SethG on June 23, 2023 at 12:55 pm

The address is wrong. This would have been 201 E Main. Status needs to be changed to demolished. The Metropolitan Block, which this was located on the west end of, suffered a collapse of the east wall in 2018, and was demolished in March of 2021.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2023 at 4:15 am

Konrad Schiecke’s Historic Movie Theatres in Illinois says that the Ritz Theatre in Arcola opened as the Arcola Theatre in 1928. It is listed (with no seating capacity given) as a “New” theater in the 1928 FDY, alongside the old 800-seat Arcola, and as the 400-seat Arcola Theatre in 1929. Oddly, the Arcola is listed as a silent house in 1932 and as silent and closed in 1933. It appears as the Ritz Theatre in the 1934 FDY, finally equipped for sound.

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