An Upson County native is challenging everyone who grew up with him to join in donating to the effort to help keep The Ritz Theatre from closing.
The end of 35mm film production by major film studios has already begun and will be completed by Dec. 31. After that, the only way to see a movie in theatres will be by digital projectors. The Ritz is the only single-screen movie theatre in Georgia still showing first-run movies, but the $70,000 cost of purchasing a digital projector is beyond the reach of The Ritz, and owners Malcom and Amy Neal have set a date of January 13, 2012, for closing if a projector cannot be found.
Earlier this year, Upson County Concerned Citizens (UC3), a non-profit organization, was formed. It’s first major project is the raising of the money needed to purchase the digital film projector. When bought, the projector will be the property of UC3 and will be leased to The Ritz Theatre. To date, UC3 has raised a little over $10,000.
Harry Middlebrooks grew up in Thomaston, going to the theatre to watch movies with his friends. He has joined the efforts of UC3 to raise the funds needed to purchase the digital film projector, and sent the following challenge out.
“I want to challenge all those folks who grew up in Thomaston and Upson County, and who (like me) spent years enjoying movies at the Ritz Theater, to dig down in their pockets and join me in donating whatever you can to keep this “treasure of our youth” open for business,” said Middlebrooks. “I especially want to challenge my classmates (R.E. Lee 1944-1956) who joined me so often on Friday afternoons after school to watch our favorite cowboys (not to mention those zany 3 Stooges ‘shorts’ that we loved so much!). Let’s all work together to keep our beloved Ritz alive and well.”
Larry Dawson, President of UC3, thanked Middlebrooks for his donation and challenge.
“All of us at UC3 want to thank Mr. Middlebrooks for his donation and his challenge to the people of Upson County in our quest to help save the Ritz Theatre. Time is drawing closer to our deadline and film companies have already started sending very limited 35mm film on new movies,” said Dawson. “Mr. Middlebrooks is asking that you match his donation or donate whatever you can. You can do this with a contribution or a pledge. Every dollar helps and on behalf of UC3, we thank you for your support. Please contact me for forms for contributions or pledges.”