Martin Theatre

409 Harrison Avenue,
Panama City, FL 32401

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Related Websites

Martin Theatre Panama City (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Martin Theatres

Functions: Concerts, Live Theater, Movies (Classic)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Ritz Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 850.763.8080

Nearby Theaters

1944 photo via the Historic Florida II Facebook page, Florida On Florida.

Opened November 21, 1936 as the Ritz Theatre, this stunning example of Art Deco style architecture features a polychrome terra cotta facade in bold geometric patterns in brilliant green and pink, separated by bands of shiny chrome and beige brick. The simply decorated 460 seat auditorium also features bold side wall designs, including stainless steel light fixtures and a large stage and proscenium arch.

Early notable visitors to the Ritz Theatre included such 1930’s screen legends as Clark Gable, Constance Bennett and William Boyd. Cowboy star Bill Elliot also appeared on the Ritz' stage.

In the early-1950’s, the Ritz Theatre was renamed by the Martin family after themselves, and modernized, including a new marquee, a larger screen to accomodate Cinemascope and 3D features and a new (monochrome) repainting of the auditorium. The Martin Theatre showed its last film in 1978 and was then shuttered.

Vacant for years and falling into disrepair, the Martin Theatre served briefly in the early-1980’s as a shooting gallery (of all things). In 1987, the Panama City Downtown Improvement organization purchased the Martin Theatre and completely renovated the theater, and provided it with state of the art light and sound equipment.

Since a gala reopening in 1990, the Martin Theatre has added the Greenroom, a 1,500 square foot reception/meeting area on a former empty lot next to the theater. The Martin Theatre is now Panama City’s most splendid showplace for live theatre, concerts, classic movies and community functions.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on June 17, 2010 at 11:52 pm

From 1954 a picture postcard view of the Ritz Theatre in Panama City which was later renamed the Martin.

TLSLOEWS on June 17, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Nice vintage photo Don.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on September 26, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Here are some pictures I took in September 2010.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 26, 2010 at 10:03 pm

All nice pictures of what a movie theatre should look like.

rivest266 on October 9, 2011 at 5:15 am

This opened on November 21st, 1936. 10 out of 12 pages in that’s day newspaper had something about the Ritz.

Foxeylady on February 26, 2016 at 10:51 am

My brother worked as “doorman” – “ticket-taker” at this theater back in the 50’s. They use to have Saturday morning matinees for about fifty cents. I think the entire school would attend these shows. You would see not only the movie, but newsreels, cartoon, a serial (Tarzan, Superman, Flash Gordon, etc), along with previews of upcoming events. Nothing could be more fun when they had stage shows and turned out the lights and let monsters loose in the audience. I’m interested if anyone has any pictures when they had the movie “Underwater” with Jane Russell. A display was set up and my brother furnished his large goldfish for the exhibit while the movie was playing. I also have fond memories of all the other movie theaters in town. Bud Davis Drive-in was located where K-mart is on 15th Street. What fun!

TooBadCathy on January 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I live here in Panama City, I research History and I have joined a team that will be leading a paranormal investigation at the Martin Theater here in Panama City. I am VERY interested in any stories AT ALL of the events and people that frequented this establishment whether paranormal or not, that can shed some light on the rich history of this beautiful theater.

DavidZornig on August 24, 2017 at 11:45 pm

Photo added of Military Jeeps parading in front of the Ritz.

Trolleyguy on August 25, 2017 at 9:37 am

Website: Functions should include: Movies, classic

DavidZornig on December 29, 2017 at 10:56 am

1943 image added via Joe Agnew.
“Hitler’s Children” showing at the Ritz.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.