Would You Like To See A Movie?

1 Mar

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

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

Dixie Theater – July 13, 1917

Strand Theater January 21, 1944

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?

– Tiffany

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)

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2 Responses to “Would You Like To See A Movie?”

  1. Adam Henig March 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Wow, only nine cents to see a film- that’s cheap even by today’s standards. Are any of the actual buildings still around? Great post.

    • Tiffany March 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      Thanks for commenting. Yes, I believe so. From what I figure some, maybe all, of the theaters were located in the Court Square area and those buildings are pretty much in tact, except for one which was torn down to make an amphitheater. The Roxy, which is in the photograph, was located on the square. Looking through my notes I had another gentleman tell me that he paid 25 cents to go to the theater, but there is about a 10 – 15 year age difference between the man who paid 9 cents and the man who paid 25 cents, so that could account for the variance in the prices.

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