Throughout the years Ripley had its fair share of movie theaters calling the downtown/Court Square area their home. Over the years Ripley had the following theaters,
Roxy Theater the year Rice Park opened
The Strand Theater (0wned by a Memphis based company)
The Roxy Theater
The Dixie Theater
The Webb Theater (owned by Aubrey Webb)
As with most theaters during segregation African Americans paid the same fare as everyone else, but could only sit in the balcony.
I’m curious to know if these theaters ever played popular African American movies of the time, but I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that.
According to a former Ripley resident,
“The Webb Theater was my favorite, but most folks like the Strand the best. Seemed like the Roxy was only around for a little while. I used to pay 9 cents to see a movie. I don’t know how they made any money charging 9 cents. They used to have a little stand that sold snacks and black people could go and get snacks and then you had to go to the balcony. I remember one day me and [name removed] were sitting in the balcony at the Webb. I think we went down there together. He took a water pistol and was shooting water down on the white people. He did it a few times. Then Aubrey Webb come up to the balcony with a flashlight and kicked him out! Don’t remember how they figured it was him doing it. I stayed and watched the movie.”
Dixie Theater – July 13, 1917
Strand Theater January 21, 1944
Advertisements from the Dixie Theater and the Strand Theater featured in the Lauderdale County Enterprise
Other area theaters included
The Savoy and The Capitol - Dyersburg
The Gem and The Ritz - Brownsville
The Gem, The Paramount, The Lyric - Jackson
The Pix – Henning
The Halls Theater – Halls
Do any of you all have memories of these theaters? Which movie theater was your favorite? What movies did you see there? Who did you go to the movies with? Does anyone remember the locations of these theaters?
Sources: Lauderdale County Enterprise July 13, 1917 edition (Dixie Theater) , Lauderdale County Enterprise January 21, 1944 edition (Strand Theater), movie-theater.org, cinematreasures.org
Image Source: Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters (Roxy Theater)