The Balboa Theaters

The Original Balboa Theater

The original Balboa Theater was built in 1913 by J. P. Greeley on Main Street  where the Balboa Inn now stands. Greeley hired Mrs. Osgood, more widely known by her stage name Madam La Rue, to operate the theater. Osgood was a crusty old gal who could turn the air blue with a string of profanity a mile wide. At times she could be found drunk and passed out on one of  the theater's benches.
In 1927 the original Rendezvous Ballroom on Central Avenue,  now Balboa Boulevard,  was destroyed by fire.

  The Balboa Amusement Company, owners of the Rendezvous, built the new $50,000.00 state of the art Ritz Theater on the site of the old Rendezvous.

When the new Ritz Theater opened in 1928  the old theater closed. The building burned down a few years later.

The Ritz was renamed the Balboa Theater in 1939 when a new Ritz Theater was built in Lido. 

Through the 1960s, the Balboa Theater was considered a first rate theater. Even in the late 60s it was referred to as a "date theater", because it was so nice. Over the years, falling attendance caused changes of operators. In the early 1970s, it was a Pussycat Theater featuring films such as Deep Throat and The Devil and Miss. Jones.

The Original Ritz Theater

By the mid 70s the theater became a revival theater, featuring classic and cult films such as Reefer Madness, Casablanca, Citizen Cane, and Pink Flamingos.

In the early 1950s the lobby of the Balboa Theater was home to Dan's Barbershop as showen on this early Balboa map.

  It was during this period that the Rocky Horror Show was shown at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, Drawing an audience noted for dressing in the costume of their favorite character.

Allen Cintron Remembers, "[It was] 10-12 years ago when we used to leave Dillmans late at night after John finally kicked us out. On the way home we would look through the back doors of the theatre and watch the girls changing costumes for their Rocky Horror roles.  We would often be rewarded with a little skin and run home laughing like schoolkids stumbling through the alley.  Occasionally we would sneak in through the back doors and see the show.  One particular night we were out harbor hopping in our boat and afterward snuck into the theatre with the better part of a Coors Light Party Ball.   Of all the people that snuck flasks and bottles of booze into the old Balboa theatre, that had to take the cake."

The Balboa Theater finally closed in 1992 and never reopened.