Opened in 1936 as the Ritz Theater, this is an example of Art Deco style architecture and features a polychrome terra cotta facade in geometric patterns in brilliant green and pink, separated by bands of shiny chrome and beige brick. The 460 seat auditorium features bold side wall designs, including stainless steel light fixtures and a large stage and proscenium arch.
In the early-1950’s, the Ritz Theater was renamed by the new owners, the Martin family, after themselves, and modernized, including a new marquee, a larger screen to accommodate Cinemascope and 3D features and a new (monochrome) repainting of the auditorium. The Martin Theater showed its last film in 1978 and was then shuttered.
Vacant for years and falling into disrepair, the Martin Theater served briefly in the early-1980’s as an indoor gun range. In 1987, the Panama City Downtown Improvement organization purchased the Martin Theater and renovated the theater into a performing arts venue.