Editor’s note: Malcom and Amy Neal, owners of the Ritz Theatre in Thomaston, and Larry Dawson, president of the Upson Concerned Citizens Committee (UC3) recently released the following statement concerning the Ritz Theatre.
It seems that there are many people around the Thomaston area that are very concerned that the 85-year-old Ritz Theatre may have to close. I thank them all for their interest and concern, which I agree with. It also seems that there are some people around the Thomaston area who did not notice that in our many announcements and those of the UC3 fund raising committee, that the word “IF” was included. They may look at the situation now, and because of the amount still needed to purchase a digital projection system, have become resolved not to get involved, as they may see it as a lost cause. I go back to the word “IF.” The Ritz will have to close when suitable new releases are no longer available on 35mm film “IF” a new digital system cannot be purchased. The Ritz will remain open, or maybe just close for a short period for such renovations, “IF” there is more financial support from the community.
Please don’t give up. Become a supporter to save Thomaston’s only remaining theatre, threatened by technology change forced upon theatres by the studios at rather short notice. “IF” you come to the movies and shows more often; purchase a great snack from the concession; maybe buy a Save the Ritz T-Shirt; sponsor a seat; enter the TV raffle; enter the auction for a fantastic original, framed painted of the Ritz by a renowned artist; put your change in the donation jar… We can save the RITZ together. The income to the RITZ does not allow for a $75,000 expenditure with only a few months notice, over and above the already high operating cost of the theatre. For everyone in this community to continue to have a local movie theatre, the RITZ needs your help. Regular loans and leases are not workable due to the lack of interest in equipment loans by banks and the monthly repayments which would be hard to find, unless many of you came to the movies more often.
A digital projector will offer many more opportunities for on screen entertainment and produce better picture and sound, plus 3D for some movies. The UC3 non-profit committee has vowed to keep fund raising until enough is raised, even if that takes it past a temporary closing of the Ritz due to lack of 35mm film prints. So, “IF” you want to save the Ritz, do please get involved now. Do not leave it to ‘others’ and do not give up hope. “IF” we want to, together we can.