According to, the Ritz opened on February 22, 1927, with seating for 1,400. Just on the cusp of talking movies, the theater was equipped with a two-manual Geneva organ. After years of success as a neighborhood movie theater, it became known as the Northside Theatre in August of 1958 and had a short-lived stint as a burlesque site in the 1960s before complaints led the managers and strippers to court. In June 1970 the theater was remodeled. All of the seats were removed to make way for a rock concert venue called Middle Earth. The popular hang-out featured some big names such as Richie Havens, Frank Zappa, and Savoy Brown. The name was changed back to the Ritz Theatre in January 1972, but the concerts were unsuccessful and the Ritz closed in late 1972.