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
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.
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
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