Old Theater in Saint Clair Being Demolished

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SAINT CLAIR -- A well-known movie theater in Schuylkill County is being torn down.

Some people stopped by as crews began the process of demolishing the Ritz Theatre.

It's hard to tell now, but in Saint Clair, the now-battered looking brick building was once a hot spot.

"Oh my God, I lived there," recalled Phil Frantz. "Sunday matinee, Saturday nights, Friday nights, you know, I was there every week."

Many like Frantz from Saint Clair, grew up going to the Ritz Theatre.

In the 1960s, he watched movies for 45 cents, ate a bucket of popcorn for a quarter, and even had his first date there.

Now, he sat on Second Street, as crews begin the process of demolishing his childhood theater, but with all the memories, he just couldn't watch.

"I'd like to remember it as it was. That was a real nice movie theater. It's too bad it couldn't have been kept up."

Others who share fond childhood memories had to come for one last glimpse.

"A lot of memories," said Roland Price. "So many people have fond memories now. We are all reminiscing now. I even remember my father who is deceased now. He and I went to a movie years ago."

While Price shares cherished memories, as the Saint Clair borough secretary he was part of the decision to have the building taken down.

The glitz and glam of the Ritz Theatre are gone.  It's hard to tell now that fancy red carpet once lined the floor. From a look on the inside now, the only signs this place was even once a theater are roll of Ritz movie tickets, a few signs, and old 3D glasses.

"It really is a blighted problem in town that we have to remove to make our town a little bit nicer."

The theater closed in the 1980s and has fallen into a state of disrepair, so the borough decided the theater that once made the town nicer with its presence, can now only make the town nicer with its absence.

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