The Ritz Cinema was situated on Travis Street. The site is now occupied by Iceland frozen foods. According to my Dad if you took a girl there she knew it was a serious date as it was the poshest of all picture houses in Hyde and on accounting that it cost more to get in than other cinema in Hyde. Unfortunately I haven't got a photograph of the front of the Ritz ,only the side as seen below. If anyone out there has a front view We'd be more than happy to show it here.
The Ritz cinema as seen from Union Street.
The Ritz was built by ABC Cinemas ( Associated British Cinemas Ltd) and was opened on Monday February 21st 1938, the first film being “Double or Nothing” starring Bing Crosby.
It was about a dying millionaire who instructs his lawyer to drop four purses on the streets of New York City. Four honest people find them and return them to the lawyer. Under the terms of the will, each of them is given $1,000,000, which they must double within 30 days in order to claim his entire estate. However, the greedy relatives cut from the will are determined to thwart each one's plans
The cost to get in was as follows, the stalls were 6d and 9d;, and the circle 1/- and 1/3d. The prices tie in with what Nancy's Dad said, and my friend Jack who both mentioned the cost made it the poshest cinema in town. There were daily matinees and performances twice nightly around the time the doors shut for the last time, but during its heyday (1940s-50s) performances were continuous from 1.30pm until 9.00pm.
What's On November 1946
I can recall going here when I was a small child and can remember even now it was considered more a treat to go to the Ritz than the Theatre Royal. I am sure I saw Mary Poppins here... Hyde saw the loss of the Ritz when it closed for good on Tuesday August 13th 1968. The last film to be shown was a 1963 film aptly called “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”, starring Spencer Tracy, Micky Rooney, Phil Silvers, Terry Thomas... and many more well known names. The fact the film was five years old says a lot... it might of ended on a laugh but I remember it was a sad day for Hyde when the choice was gone. My mum had worked in one or two picture houses and always had an interest in films.. I recall her saying it was a shame.
It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, After a long prison sentence Smiler Grogan is heading at high speed to a California park where he hid $350,000 from a job 15 years previously. He accidentally careers over a cliff in view of four cars whose occupants go down to help. The dying Grogan gives details of where the money is buried and when the witnesses fail to agree on sharing the cash, a crazy chase develops across the state.
As with a lot of old or disused cinemas it turned to a Bingo Hall.. I can not recall if it kept it's name or was known as something else. Knowing the folk of Hyde it might have changed it's name but I'm sure it would still have been known as the Ritz... in 1981 the building was demolished.
I could not have updated this post if it was not for information I gleaned from a scan I was sent, it came from a book called The History Of The Theatres And Cinemas Of Tameside, by David Owen. By all accounts a 'must read' book for anyone with a fondness for local history.
We would still like to add more to this post by including a picture of two of the Ritz... so please get in touch if you think you can help with this request.