Ritz Theatre

22331 Mission Boulevard,
Hayward, CA 94541

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Mitchell Brothers, United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Architects: Albert H. Larsen

Nearby Theaters

Ritz, exterior

The Ritz Theatre opened on September 7, 1949 with Judy Garland in “In the Good Old Summertime” & Bill Elliot in “Hellfire”. It was located in Hayward near the downtown area. It showed feature films until October 1973, when the Mitchell Brothers took over operation of the theatre from United Artists theatres. It then became a porn film house from October 1973 to December 1985. (The first adult film that was shown there was "Resurrection of Eve" with Marilyn Chambers.)

The Society of St Vincent De Paul (a Catholic organization) bought the theatre and turned it into a thrift store selling used furniture and clothing.

The store closed in 2002 and was afterward demolished and a health care clinic built on the site.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

scottfavareille on June 13, 2005 at 8:50 am

The first film the Mitcheels showed there (as an XXX house) was “Resurrection of Eve” as first-run. The week prior it played a triple bill of three films with Mick Jagger: Gimme Shelter, Performance, and Ned Kelly.

Behind the Green Door first played in Hayward at the Hayward theater a block down the street on Mission. That theater had gone XXX in early 1973, several months prior to the Ritz, and actually even suffered from an occasional police raid. (And prior to it going XXX, the Hayward theater had been showing soft X fare like Swinging Pussycats frequently.)

GaryParks on June 14, 2005 at 11:31 am

The mention of the big sign the Ritz had intrigues me. I never saw it. I first drove by the Ritz in its last days, and, while the entry—terrazzo, box office, doors, display cases—marked it as an older theatre, the plain, plastic-clad triangular marquee and sign were in no way spectacular and of much later vintage, though the marquee soffit appeared to be original. Vertical sign photos, anyone?

scottfavareille on July 12, 2005 at 6:58 am

The Mitchells did change the signage shortly after acquiring the theater.

davidkaye on July 12, 2005 at 8:52 am

Does anyone have photos of any of the Hayward theatres during their heydays?

jonnelle on September 20, 2005 at 4:34 pm

I have a copy of a photo collage given to me recently by the daughter of former manager, Sol Bolnik. I worked as an usherette 1961-62.

jonnelle on September 20, 2005 at 4:35 pm

That would be the Ritz Theater.

celaniasdawn on February 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

If you would like to see what the original marquee of the Ritz looked like, look at the Sunset Theater in Lodi California. I wonder if they were built by the same person, as the building and marquee are exactly the same, except the Ritz had a green vertical with the ritz letters in red.

wjclark on June 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm

The address listed above will direct you to a smog shop across the street. The correct address in google maps is 22331 Mission Boulevard.

GaryParks on December 3, 2017 at 7:12 pm

According to Jack Tillmany’s extensive, and carefully researched, listings of theatre opening dates, the Ritz opened on Sept. 7, 1949.

LodiHistory on April 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Hi all, I’m looking for any photos of the Ritz, interior or exterior, from its heyday as I’m working on a National Register nomination for its sister theater, the Sunset, in Lodi CA. Any information on Ritz architect / builder that can be documented would be a great help. Also, supposedly there were two other theaters of this same design based on a previous comment on this site… any clue where?

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