The Ritz Theater in Corpus was one of those old, at one time ornate theatres; it was home to theatrical productions, rock concerts, and the very occasional surfing film in the 80s, and I hung out there with friends who acted and directed in plays (I painted papemache rocks and gofered a bit). Terrence McNally is from CC and named his play "The Ritz" (and the NYC gay bathhouse where it takes place) after the Ritz theater, where he used to see movies as a child... so we did a production of the play there, generally regarded as pretty risque for Corpus in the 80s (though what except the Lawrence Welk show wouldn't have been?), with a three-story bathhouse set.... one of my GOLDEN memeories of that decade is seeing two of my dearest friends from Rocky, Tommy and Kevin, and Pat Bowen (who still acts at the Harbor Playhouse), wearing (respectively) a WAC uniform, a mink coat and a blonde wig, and a large towel, lip-synching to Bette Midler's version of "In the Mood"... Then there was the production of "Equis" (sp?) that the cops raided... The theater was already in a state of decline but still an amazing example of "they don't make em like that anymore"...it was also rumored to be haunted by at least three different ghosts, and there were parts of the building that felt so unnervingly creepy none of us wanted to be alone in them (locking up and turning on the ghost light , one tended to run for it, feeling like the last guest out of Hill House...)
Anyway, the Ritz is now shut down, has been vacant for years, and mentioned in newspaper articles (I saved em of course( as one of many, many, vacant, neglected buildings in downtown cc that have attained eyesore status... it's right across the street from the bus station, so when I had to take the bus back and forth from cc to Austin (before James stepped up and promised to spare me that ), just to add to the misery of being on the bus, I'd look across the street and see the Ritz theater, once a faded beauty full of liveliness and creativity, where a handful of people tried to put on stuff that was creative and thought=provoking , this little oasis in a mundane, conservative town...boarded up, neglected probably past the point of renovation, and covered in pigeon shit..
The Tower Grande, whre we used to do Rocky, was another of the old movie palaces... it's now torn down. They used to sell a little Xeroxed pamphlet there about the history of the place, which I still have in one of my early Rocky scrapbooks.
Calvin, you should've seen the theater in Wichita where we atttended the Rocky con a few years ago... it'd been neglected, and is still undergoing renovation (financed partly by it's infrequent Rocky events) but it was just magnificent, architecture as a true work of art.
I keep a list of all the theatres Ive seen Rocky in (50 plus now) with an asterisk by the ones I know are now defunct, and there are a lot of asterisks at the top... Movie theaters now suck, I hate megaplexes,,,,ugly, tacky, overcrowded...ugh... At least the past-their prime little narrow theaters like the Forum/Premiers Festival in Arlington and the Nasa 8 in Houston, have a lived-in ghetto-fabulous quality tht's very comfortable as a Rocky home away from home ... kind of a squat, sweet squat quality... which i mean in a totally positive way, I LOVED the Forum and wish I got to Houston more often.... (Hey special shows, after the election, how bout a cast swap??? Now that they'd actually have an audience here worth driving up for!!! We've got a mutual cast member who's down there now,,, Allie...)