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Vicksburg History

From the Archives: The Joy Theater



The Joy Theater opened on June 16, 1949, at 1509 Walnut Street. It was owned by Mr. Joy N. Houch of New Orleans and W. A. Prewitt, Jr. of Bay St. Louis. Together they owned Associated Theaters which operated in 58 cities in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

Joy Theater

Joy Theater, circa the 1950s (Courtesy of Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.)

The new Joy replaced the Joy Grand, located at 1418 Washington Street. According to its owners, “the new Joy Theater was constructed for the specific purpose of providing maximum comfort, safety and entertainment to its patrons. It is equipped with the most modern projectors and sound equipment; it is air-conditioned throughout with scientifically-engineered air-conditioning and its interior is a pleasing blend of rich wine color and white.”

The building was constructed by John Hadad, a local grocer and real estate man, with the M. T. Reed Construction Company as the general contractor. The cost of the building alone was “in excess of” $100,000, while its furnishings and equipment ran the total to a considerably higher figure.

The owners reported that “the Joy is managed by Mrs. Edith Bounds, who has spent ten years with the company. Mrs. Bounds is a native of Rayville, La., and managed her first theater there. Later, she went to Rolling Fork where she took over the management of a theater. It was in Rolling Fork that she was married to E. H. Bounds of the Highway Safety Patrol.”

The feature film for the grand opening was “Streets of Laredo” in Technicolor, the ads for which promised that “Lawlessness took on a new meaning when they rode into Laredo.”

Prior to the movie, there was a 15-minute broadcast over radio station WQBC originating from the “beautiful stage” of the theater. The broadcast featured talks by Mayor E. W. Haining and the owners of the theater.

Mr. Prewitt commented that “we have a tremendous investment here, but we believe in the future progress of Vicksburg. More good pictures are being made now than ever before, and we shall attempt to bring the best to Vicksburg.”

Joy Theater

Joy Theater circa 1980s (Courtesy of Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.)

Ticket prices when the Joy opened were fifteen cents for children and thirty-nine cents for adults for the matinee and fifty cents after 5 o’clock.

The theater was still in operation in 1979, but by 1983, the building was vacant. It was eventually demolished and this parking lot occupies the site.

Nancy Bell, Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.

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