Ritz Theatre

313 Pendleton Street,
Waycross, GA 31501

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc., United Theater Enterpises Inc.

Architects: Roy A. Benjamin

Functions: Community Arts Center

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Grand Theatre, Orpheum Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Ritz Theatre

Opened in June 1913, as the Grand Theatre, a vaudeville, opera and live performance theatre under the management of Fred Brewer. By 1914-1915 it was also screening movies.

In 1917, its name was changed to the Orpheum Theatre, and continued to be used for vaudeville and live performance and by 1934 was operated as a movie theatre by United Theater Enterprises Inc.

Taken over in 1935 by Lucas and Jenkins, a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures Inc., extensive interior and exterior renovations were made by noted Jacksonville, Florida Art Deco architect Roy A. Benjamin. The theatre was renamed the Ritz Theatre and and is noted as “South Georgia’s finest theatre” and pledges to run first run films only. It continued as a movie theatre until 1977.

In 1986, the Ritz Theatre again returned to the performance arts when Waycross Area Community Theatre purchased the building for live community theater productions.

Contributed by Erica J. Taylor

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

WACT on November 11, 2004 at 12:16 pm

On April 11, 1977, the Amusement Company (L. B. Harrell) gave the Ritz Theatre, the Dianna Shop property (now known as the Pondview Bed and Breakfast),and the Carver Theatre (Oak Street) to the South Georgia Home for the Aged, Inc. The Ritz Theatre building was returned to The United Theatre Enterprises (formerly known as the Amusement Company) on February 24, 1986. The last movies were shown in 1984. On May 6, 1986, the theatre was purchased by the Waycross Area Community Theatre. The building was always a theatre and was never used as a home for the elderly. (information from deeds recorded in the Ware County Courthouse, courtesy of Judy Williams Nation)

jeffords on February 24, 2005 at 6:32 am

Website for Waycross Area Community Theater www.wactatritz.net

teecee on April 2, 2005 at 6:36 am

Photos here (note cross reference back to CT!):
View link

jeffords on May 9, 2006 at 6:01 am

New website for Waycross Area Community Theater.

AndrewBarrett on February 20, 2008 at 1:53 am

According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia” pg. 551, there was a “Palace” theatre in Waycross that had a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co. I could not find the page for the Palace so I am putting this here for the time being.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm

The Ritz Theatre on April 26 1970 is playing “GAILY,GAILY” rated GP. on April 30 1970 “MIDNIGHT COWBOY” plays with an R rating,but on the ad “NO ONE UNDER 18 ADMITTED” oh well, Local standards.

rivest266 on December 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm

This opened on May 10th, 1935.
grand opening ad is at View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 24, 2010 at 10:34 am

“LIKE A CROW ON A JUNE BUG”,filmed in Valdosta,Ga.almost the next town over,opens at the RITZ. Rated R with Mercedes McCambridge starring with a bunch of no names.

zebulongrady on April 27, 2015 at 5:41 am

A few years ago I was traveling through Waycross and stopped at the Ritz and went it. It was being rebuilt on the inside as the roof had collapsed unexpected. The auditorium was being retrofitted for stadium seating. The gentleman that was in charge told me about the theatre and also gave me instructions on how to get into the old Lyric theatre around the corner (he worked for the police department). Took his advice but was unable to succeed in geting into the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2019 at 6:32 pm

The Grand was one of four movie theaters listed at Waycross in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory.

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