Movie Theatres

BILOXI THEATRES

Time Line

1907

The Nickelodeon, an electric theater, was located on Lameuse Street across from Suter & Suter.  The Nickelodeon occupied the space of a recently closed movie house operated by Robert Montamat.  The building was being remodeled and opened shortly under the management of W.H. Fudge.  Mr. Fudge  had formerly been assistant manager of Forest Park, the amusement venue in west Biloxi.  Forest Park had balloon ascensions, a high dive, and other exciting attractions for its summer patrons.(The Biloxi Herald, September 27, 1907, p. 2)

1908

The Palace of Pleasure opened in Dukate’s Theatre on February 17, 1908.

“Moving picture show of  Biloxi as up to date as up to date as any in the country”,

1909

The Airdome, an open air movie and vaudeville venue, opened April 19, 1909 on the Lazaro Lopez property west of the T.P. Dulion Mercantile Company.  It was owned by the Vaudette Amusement Company, a partnership of Julius M. Lopez and Frederick P. Abbley (1881-1941).  Mr. Abbley was an experienced theatre owner, as he was operating the Vaudette Theatre at Biloxi and Scranton [Pascagoula].  He had recently sold his Vaudette Theatre in Ocean Springs to R. Anderson Dancer (1878-1915).  Mr. Danser vended his Vaudette movie house on Washington Avenue to E.W. Illing (1870-1947) in September 1909 and went to Lumberton, Mississippi with William ‘Willie’ Engbarth (1882-1957) to open a movie house. Apparently, things did not work as The Ocean Springs News reported that R.A. Dancer sold his movie house and returned to Ocean Springs in December 1909, with Charles Engbarth (1885-1962).  Mr. Dancer married Carrie Engbarth (1889-1967+) in November 1911.(The Daily Herald, April 3, 1909, p. 1, April 20, 1909, p. 2, December 1, 1911, p. 4 and The Ocean Springs News, September 11, 1909, November 13, 1909, November 20, 1909, and December 25, 1909)

The Airdome lot was bounded by Fayard Street on the west; Howard Avenue on the south; and Reynoir Street on the east.  It was fenced and had one hundred twenty-five benches capable of seating eight people and two hundred-fifty chairs giving it a seating capacity of 1250 people.  There was a stage and ‘picture machine box’, probably the projector.  Harry Haise (1854-1954) did the carpentry work to erect the Airdome.  The newly formed Daily Herald Band under the direction of Professor Joseph Dowling performed on opening day.  Fred P. Abbley  was the manager.(The Daily Herald, April 13, 1909 and April 20, 1909, p. 2)

The Sky Dome opened in July 1909.(The Daily Herald, July 1909, p. )

1910

The Bijou Theatre opened for business on West Howard Avenue on November 5, 1910.  The movie house was one hundred twenty-four feet long and twenty feet wide.  S.T. Stephens was the general manager.(The Daily Herald, November 5, 1910, p.  )

1911

The Vaudette Theatre, now occupied by Uncle Fred’s is being demolished to erect a two-story, brick structure for Joseph Lawrence and Charles Redding on the corner of Howard Avenue and Delauney.  T.J. Rosell drew the architectural plans.(The Daily Herald, July 18, 1911, p. 8)

1912

J.D. Tam of Lima, Ohio opened an air dome theatre on the corner of Lameuse Street and  Jackson in early May 1912.  In October, Mr. Tam held a benefit for Biloxi's Charity Hospital at the theatre.  The facility had an elevated floor, stage and seating capacity estimated at 800 people.(The Daily Herald, April 22, 1912, p. 8 and October 13, 1912, p. 8)

1913

In January 1913, J.H. King and C.B. King of Mobile, proprietors of the Crown Theatre there, acquired the theatrical business interest of S.T. Stephens at Biloxi.  At this time, Mr. Stephens operated the Bijou Theatre and the Air Dome.(The Daily Herald, January 11, 1913, p. 1)

1914

The Crown Theatre, formerly the Bijou Theatre, opened in January 1914.(The Daily Herald, January 16, 1914, p. 2)

1919

In October 1919,Victor Howard, a prominent motion picture proprietor of New Orleans, acquired the Crown Theatre and Big Airdome movie houses at Biloxi from the King Brothers of Mobile.  C.B. King was the manager of the Biloxi theaters for King Brothers.(The Daily Herald,  October 24, 1919, p. 1)

1920

A.O. Bourdon (1868-1959), manager of the Gulf Coast Amusement Company, kept the Crown and Gaiety open during the recent strike.(The Daily Herald, February 20, 1920, p. 6)

1924

The Strand Theatre was built in the Lopez Building on West Howard Avenue in the winter of 1923.  It opened in early January 1924 with a feature picture, comedy, and high class vaudeville act and orchestra.  It was a modern theater with seating capacity of six- hundred fifty.  Its interior featured a modern finish with lighting appropriate for projection and illumination of the building.  The Strand also was equipped with a modern projector.(The Daily Herald, January 4, 1924, p. 1)

Anti-trust litigation filed in New Orleans against the Saenger Amusement Company and others was dismissed in early January.  Since the Saenger Amusement Company did not sell commodities, it was not in violation of the Louisiana State anti-trust statue.(The Daily Herald, January 10, 1924, p. 1)

1926

 

1927

The remodeling and redecorating at Saenger’s Gaeity Theatre is almost finished.  The improvements consisted of the following: the façade of the theatre was  remodeled and winging doors added; a terrace was built across the front of the theater decorated with artificial roses; the interior of the Gaiety Theatre was painted buff and green with paneled trimmings; six hundred, latest veneered theatre chairs replaced older seating; new organ put in with new music rolls capable of playing seventeen pieces continuously; four double and two single exists created for additional safety;  and ten new wall fans and two ceiling fans added to the interior.  The New Gaiety opened for business in mid-April with its same policies and no new admission charge.  For additional safety, a security guard was put on night duty in the movie house.(The Daily Herald, April 12, 1927, p. 2)

Tom Bautovich (1908-1990), native of New Orleans and new organist at the Strand Theatre, is becoming popular with his audiences.  Tom is a graduate of the New Orleans conservatory of music and played in the top theaters in NOLA before coming to Biloxi.  He was a also daily broadcaster over WSMB in the Crescent City..(The Daily Herald, October 11, 1927, p. 2)

1928

Martin J. Salvant (1869-1946), native of NOLA and manager of the Biloxi Gaiety Theatre, has been transferred to the Anderson Theatre at Gulfport from where he come to Biloxi over a year ago.(The Daily Herald, January 10. 1928, p. 2)

1936

Saenger officials said that the Buck Theatre, formerly the Gaiety Theatre, corner of Lameuse Street and Jackson Street, will open soon. The new theater has undergone extensive refurbishment and now has the capacity for over four hundred patrons.  The balcony for Colored people had nearly one hundred seats.  Modern Western Electric sound equipment and temlock wallboard for better insulation and acoustic properties has also been added to the structure.(The Daily Herald, December 17, 1936, p. 1)

1940

Odeus Meyers(1884-1968) and Calus C. Meyers (1909-1999), his son, operators of Meyers’ Grocery at 447 East Division Street announced that they were going to build a 600-seat movie theater on the southeast corner of Lameuse and Division Streets.   Jack Fayard, Biloxi architect was hired to draw building plans for the $11,000, Meyers’ wood-framed, movie house.  It was to be 40 feet by 110 feet and fireproof.   Approximately 400-seats were for White patrons and 200-seats for Colored viewers.  The Colored entrance and lobby was on Division Street and their seating area was the balcony.  The White clientele entered from Lameuse Street and were seated in the main auditorium.  The Meyers family had arrived in Biloxi from Erath, Louisiana about 1929.(The Daily Herald, February 10, 1940, p. 1)

1941

The Harlem Theatre, a movie house for Blacks located on Main Street near Division Street, opened on July 5th.  Henry Meyers (1914-2004), owner and manager, of the 40 feet by 105 feet, steel-framed building with a 525 person seating capacity and costing $15,000.(The Daily Herald, July 4, 1941, p. 7)

Harlem Theatre (Negro), Main at Division Street; children 10 cent; adults 15 cent at all times.  Open at 5 p.m.

 

1942

 

1946

The Bay View Theatre opened on November 30, 1946 with “Caesar and Cleopatra”, an English produced film, starring Vivian Leigh (1913-1967) and Claude Rains (1889-1967).  At the time, this production was touted as the most expensive ever made costing over $6 million.  The building was designed by Collins & Collins and its erection was supervised by Sam Starks and cost over $60,000.  The theatre area was 50 feet by 100 feet with a seating capacity of almost seven hundred persons.  The viewing screen was plastic and the sound system built by RCA.  A Brinkert movie projector was utilized.  The Bayview Theatre was cooled and heated with a 40-ton, air conditioning unit and a Riznor heating system respectively.(The Daily Herald, November 28, 1946, p. 1)

1949

The Beach Drive-In Corporation was incorporated in Mississippi in late September 1949 by Ernest V. Landaiche (1895-1966) and Joy N. Houck (1901-1999) of New Orleans and Douglas I. Smith (1901-1979) of Biloxi.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 458, p. 471)

1950

The new $125,000 Beach Drive-In Theatre located on West Beach Boulevard near Pat Harriosn, now Veterans Boulevard, will open in April.(The Daily Herald, March 22, 1950, p. 10) 

REFERENCES:

Journals

The Biloxi Herald, “City News”, September 27, 1907.

The Biloxi Herald, “New moving picture show”, February 13, 1908.

The Biloxi Herald, “Another picture show”, February 17, 1908.

The Biloxi Herald, “Moving pictures in Biloxi”, September 25, 1908.

 

The Daily Herald

The Daily Herald, “Bijou Theatre will open tonight”, November 5, 1910.

The Daily Herald, “New building for Redding and Lawrence”, July 18, 1911.

The Daily Herald"Dancer-Engbarth", December 1, 1911, p. 4.

The Daily Herald, "[J.D. Tam] Will open picture show", April 22, 1912, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, “The new Gaiety Theatre”, May 7, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Popular young Biloxian weds”, September 14, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “The New Dixie Theater”, September 26, 1912.     

The Daily Herald, “Tam has leased Firemen’s Hall”, October 1, 1912.

The Daily Herald, "[J.D. Tam] Benefit show for hospital", October 13, 1912, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, “New curtain at the Bijou Theatre”, December 2, 1912, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, “Mobilians buy Biloxi theaters from Stephens”, January 11, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Gaiety open air theatre open Thursday”, May 13, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “J.H. King buys out two picture shows”, July 24, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Contest closes at the Big Airdome”, August 7, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Kings will open new theater in Biloxi tomorrow”,January 14, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Crown Theater opening triumph”, January 16, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi team is again victorius”, July 20, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi theatres changes hands”, October 24, 1919.

1920-1929

The Daily Herald, “Both theatres [Crown and Gaiety] in Biloxi operataed during strike”, February 20, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “Open theater tomorrow”,January 4, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Court rules Saenger Company is not a Trust”, January 10, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Fire Loss is $75,000 in early blaze”, May 23, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi business houses burned”, May 29, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “New Gaiety to open Monday”,April 12, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Tom Bautovich [organist], October 11, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Salvant transferred”,January 10, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Break ground for New Saenger House”,July 14, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Saenger has new manager [Martin J. Salvent],December 31, 1929.

1930-1939

The Daily Herald, “Buck Theatre to open Saturday”,December 17, 1936.

 

1940-1949

The Daily Herald, “New theatre [Meyers] announced for Biloxi”, February 10, 1940.

 

1950-1950

The Daily Herald, “New Drive-In [Beach Drive-In] to open at Biloxi, March 22, 1950.

 

1980-1999

The Daily Herald Centennial Edition, “Films at Saenger kept Coastians in the darkness”, October 7, 1984.

The Daily Herald Centennial Edition, “Gem of the Coast polished”, October 7, 1984.

 

The Ocean Springs News

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", September 11, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", November 13, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", November 20, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", December 25, 1909.

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BILOXI THEATRES

 

AIRDOME

The Airdome, an open air movie and vaudeville venue, opened April 19, 1909 on the Lazaro Lopez property west of the T.P. Dulion Mercantile Company.  It was owned by the Vaudette Amusement Company, a partnership of Julius M. Lopez and Frederick P. Abbley (1881-1941).  Mr. Abbley was an experienced theatre owner, as he was operating the Vaudette Theatre at Biloxi and Scranton [Pascagoula].  He had recently sold his Vaudette Theatre in Ocean Springs to R. Anderson Dancer (1878-1915).  Mr. Danser vended his Vaudette movie house on Washington Avenue to E.W. Illing (1870-1947) in September 1909 and went to Lumberton, Mississippi with William ‘Willie’ Engbarth (1882-1957) to open a movie house. Apparently, things did not work as The Ocean Springs Newsreported that R.A. Dancer sold his movie house and returned to Ocean Springs in December 1909, with Charles Engbarth (1885-1962).  Mr. Dancer married Carrie Engbarth (1889-1967+) in November 1911.(The Daily Herald, April 3, 1909, p. 1, April 20, 1909, p. 2, December 1, 1911, p. 4 and The Ocean Springs News, September 11, 1909, November 13, 1909, November 20, 1909, and December 25, 1909)

Abbley & Dancer

Abbley & Dancer was partnership composed of Frederick P. Abbley (1882-1941) and R. Anderson Dancer (1878-1915).  Frederick P. “Fred” Abbley (1882-1941) was born in North Biloxi, the son of Captain Fritz Abbley (1846-1905), a Swiss immigrant, and Margaret Harvey (1847-1886), the youngest daughter of French immigrant sailor, Pierre Harvey (1810-1883), and Zeline Moran (1811-1883). In March 1905, Fred Abbley married Viola Caillavet (1884-1968), the daughter of Francis Arbeau Caillavet (1856-1909) and Marie Dodart (1858-1942).  They were the parents of three children: Francis Abbley (1905-1905), Eunice A. Brocato (1908-1996), and Bernice A. Emile (b. 1909).

In 1909, Fred Abbley was the manager of an en plein air movie theater the “Airdome”.  The Airdome was situated at 413 Renoir Street and occupied a large lot, which extended to Fayard Street with a frontage on West Howard Avenue.  In late August 1909, Mr. Abbley was brought to the court of Judge Elmer and adjudicated innocent of violating a city ordinance for showing a movie on Sunday.  Another trial was held in September in the court of Judge Z.T. Champlin.  Abbley pleaded guilty and was fined $10 and court costs, which Judge Champlin suspended.  The people of Biloxi were generally apathetic to the so-called Blue Laws.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 30, 1909, p. 4 and September 10, 1909, pp. 1-2)

Mr. Abbley’s associate, R. Anderson Dancer (1878-1915), was born at Buenavista, Chickasaw County, Mississippi, the son of John W. Dancer and Carolina E. Bean.  He arrived at Biloxi circa 1900 and was the brother of Jessie Dancer Cousins (1874-1957), the spouse of Joseph H. Cousins (1874-1917).  Mr. Dancer worked for Lopez & Dukate at the Rigolets in 1904.

In November 1911, R. Anderson Dancer married Carrie Engbarth (1889-1967+), a native of Rodney, Jefferson County, Mississippi, and the daughter of Emile Engbarth (1855-ca 1905) and Magalene Jeanette Arndt (1856-1938).  At the time, the Engbarth family resided on Porter Street in Ocean Springs.  Dr. Chipman of the Pascagoula Episcopal Church officiated.(The Daily HeraldDecember 1, 1911, p. 4 and The Ocean Springs News, April 15, 1915, p. 1)

Circa 1909, Mr. Dancer had come to Ocean Springs, and opened a movie theater on Washington Avenue, called The Vaudette.  He sold it to E.W. Illing (1870-1947) in September 1909.  In November 1909, Mr. Dancer went to Lumberton, Mississippi with Willie Engbarth (1882-1957), his future brother-in-law, to open a movie house.  Apparently, things did not work as The Ocean Springs News reported that R.A. Dancer sold his movie house and returned to Ocean Springs in December 1909, with Charles Engbarth (1893-1967).

After their marriage, Carrie and Anderson Dancer ran a store at Ocean Springs probably on the southeast corner of Porter and Washington.  Mr. Dancer expired on April 9, 1915.  He was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Ocean Springs. Carrie E. Dancer remarried Fred Meyers, and was residing at Pass Christian, Mississippi in 1962.  She was at Ocean Springs in 1967.  No further information.

 Abbley and Dancer paid $30.00 rent each month to Charles Redding.

The Airdome lot was bounded by Fayard Street on the west; Howard Avenue on the south; and Reynoir Street on the east.  It was fenced and had one hundred twenty-five benches capable of seating eight people and two hundred-fifty chairs giving it a seating capacity of 1250 people.  There was a stage and ‘picture machine box’, probably the projector.  Harry Haise (1854-1954) did the carpentry work to erect the Airdome.  The newly formed Daily Herald Band under the direction of Professor Joseph Dowling performed on opening day.  Fred P. Abbley  was the manager.(The Daily Herald, April 13, 1909 and April 20, 1909, p. 2)

REFERENCES:

The Biloxi Herald, “City News”, September 27, 1907.

The Biloxi Herald, “New moving picture show”, February 13, 1908.

The Biloxi Herald, “Another picture show”, February 17, 1908.

The Biloxi Herald, “”,

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AVENUE THEATRE

The Avenue Theatre was situated on the south side of West Howard Avenue on a small lot [53 feet by 125 feet] owned by Uriah S. Joachim.  In May 1948, Mr. Joachim leased his building at 322? West Howard Avenue to Odeus Meyers (1884-1968) who had launched the Meyers Theatre on the SE/C of Lameuse and Division Streets in May 1940.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 310, p. 550)           

B&D Theatres

B&D Theatres was chartered in October 1960 by Claude S. Bourgeois (1929-1985) of Biloxi and Edgar G. Doerr (1911-1983).  Mr. Doerr was domiciled at New Orleans.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 263, p. 132)

In November 1964, B&D Theatres transferred their sublease and assignment from Henry Meyers to Biloxi Theatres, Inc.  This conveyance was approved by U.S. Joachim in December 1964. ?.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 310, p. 550, Bk. 556, p. 68 and p. 70)           

Biloxi Theatres, Inc.

REFERENCES:

 

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BAY VIEW THEATRE

101 West Bay View

The tract of land that the Bay View Theatre was erected was acquired by Terrance Smith (1855-1924), an Irish immigrant stevedore and resident of NOLA, from E.C. Joullian and Charles Redding in February 1921 for $8000.  The Smith parcel consisted of about 4.5 acres and was described as two hundred-eighty feet on Back Bay and running south eight hundred fifty feet on the west side of Lameuse Street.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 130, p. 348)

In October 1881, Terrance Smith had married Sallie O’Harris (1862-1885).  They had at least one son, William Smith (1883-1900+).  At NOLA, Mr. Smith remarried to Katherine Douglas (1869-1937) in February 1895.  From this marriage at least two children were born in the Crescent City, probably on Soniat Street: Joseph Smith (1897-1968) and Douglas I. Smith 1901-1979).  When Terrance Smith conveyed this late to his spouse in June 1924, it was described as having 280 feet on Back Bay and running south on the west side of Lameuse Street for 730 feet.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 141, p. 614 and 1900 Orleans Parish Federal Census T623_575, p. 23B, ED 128)

Shortly after the demise of Terrance Smith, Katherine Douglas Smith sold the land to Douglas I. Smith, her son, in January 1925.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 152, p. 350 and Bk. 160, p. 231)

Douglas I. Smith

There is a high degree of certitudethatDouglas Ignatius Smith (1901-1979) while visiting Biloxi with his parents met Vera Moran (1901-1979), the daughter of Francis Moran (1853-1935) and Elizabeth Vanderpool (1869-1940).  They married at Biloxi in October 1920.  By 1930, Douglas I. Smith was managing a restaurant and had his growing family domiciled on Lameuse Street.  The Smith children were: Douglas I. Smith Jr. (b. 1921); Patrick Smith (b. 1923); Gerard Smith (b. 1924) m. Dolores Kneale; Theresa E. Smith (b. 1925) m. Leon L. Tootle (1919-1988); and Terrence Smith (1927-2001).(1930 Harrison County, Mississippi Federal Census R 1146, p. 22A, ED 6)

Opened in 1946

The Bay View Theatre opened on November 30, 1946 with “Caesar and Cleopatra”, an English produced film, starring Vivian Leigh (1913-1967) and Claude Rains (1889-1967).  At the time, this production was touted as the most expensive ever made costing over $6 million.  The building was designed by Collins & Collins and its erection was supervised by Sam Starks and cost over $60,000.  The theatre area was 50 feet by 100 feet with a seating capacity of almost seven hundred persons.  The viewing screen was plastic and the sound system built by RCA.  A Brinkert movie projector was utilized.  The Bayview Theatre was cooled and heated with a 40-ton, air conditioning unit and a Riznor heating system respectively.(The Daily Herald, November 28, 1946, p. 1)

In addition, the structure housed Kay’s Flower Shop, Bay Apparel, and Bay Drugs, operated by Alfred J. Claiborne (1895-1946+).  Mr. Claiborne had been with Katz & Besthoff drug stores in the Crescent City.  Gerard Smith, son of Douglas I. Smith, was the manager of the movie house.(The Daily Herald, November 28, 1946, p. 1)

Early Management

Jack Cameron was an early manager of the Bay View Theatre.  Jack lived in Biloxi as a child and later was stationed at Keesler Field during WWII.  He returned to Biloxi after the War from Bartow in central Florida to manage the Biloxi movie house.  Jack left the Bay View in November 1950 to open a grill and soda shop on Porter Avenue north of the Biloxi Lighthouse.  The restaurant had been Carron’s and he took a lease from the Home Milk Products Company to initiate this enterprise.(The Daily Herald, November 18, 1950, p. 3)

Whiz Quiz

Probably to generate additional attendance in the theatre, the Bay View in late August 1948 commenced its ‘Whiz Quiz’ program.  Jack Clark, WLOX crooner was the emcee and he was assited by Lewis and Sally Nesman of Portraits of Sound, a recording studio.  With a roving microphone, they asked the audience questions which if answered correctly could lead to a jackpot of prizes.(The Daily Herald, August 18, 1948, p. 3)

Beach Drive-In Corporation

The Beach Drive-In Corporation was incorporated in Mississippi in September 1949 by Ernest V. Landaiche (1895-1966) and Joy N. Houck (1901-1999) of New Orleans and Douglas I. Smith (1901-1979) of Biloxi.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 458, p. 471)

Ernest V. Landaiche 

Ernest Valence Landaiche (1895-1966) was born in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana on September 20, 1895.  His father passed when he was young and in 1910, he was domiciled at Memphis, Tennessee with Charles B. Buddecke (1872-1910+), his step-father and head conductor of the local street railway and Lena L. Buddecke (1872-1910+), his mother.  When he registered for the WWI draft in 1917, Ernest V. Landaiche was employed as a booking clerk with Southern Delta Pictures in New Orleans.  During the Great War, he trained at Pensacola, Florida with the U.S. Army Aviation Corps.  Circa 1924, he married Stella Paletou (1901-2004) of NOLA and fathered three daughters: Gloria Landaiche (1927-2000) m. Leon Dawkins Bultman; Janet Landaiche (b. 1928) m. Leon F. Cambon (1928-2000); and Joyce Landaiche (b. 1930) m. Walter F. Gagnet Jr.  In 1930, E.V. Landaiche was the assistant manager of a movie theater in the Crescent City and residing with his family and in-laws, Gaston Lanata and Marie Lanata, on North Galvez Street.(1910 Shelby Co., Tennessee Federal Census T624_1520, p. 1B, ED 209 and 1930 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census R803, p. 11A, ED 74, andThe Times Picayune, August 23, 1917, p. 3)           

Joy Theatres

By 1942, Mr. Landaiche was transferred from NOLA to Dallas, Texas as the branch manager for the exchange of 20th Century Fox.  He had been the manager of 20th Century Fox at New Orleans.  By the late 1940s, Mr. Landaiche had returned to the Crescent City and had become associated with Joy Newton Houck (1901-1999), a native of southwestern Arkansas.  Mr. Houck was raised on a farm in the Buena Vista Township of Columbia County, Arkansas.  He   entered the movie business after 1920 and was very successful, especially in New Orleans arena.  By 1940, his Joy Theatres Inc. had forty movie houses operating in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia.  In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mr. Houck began distributing and producing motion pictures with Howco Production Company, a partnership with J. Francis White, owner of Consolidated Theaters, operator of thirty-one movie houses in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Howco produced many B-level westerns starring Lash Larue (1921-1996), a native of Gretna, Louisiana.  Some of Howcos other early releases were: Kentucky Rifle (1954); Jail Bait (1954); Mesa of Lost Women (1956).(The Times Picayune, August 12, 1942, Sec. I, p. 6, 1920 Columbia Co., Arkansas Federal CensusT625_59, P. 11B, ED 74,Heffernan, 2004, p. 73) 

Joy N. Houck Jr. (1942-2003), son of John N. Houck, a native of New Orleans became an actor, screen writer, and B-movie director.  His best known works are: Night of Bloody Horror (1969), Women and Bloody Terror (1969), and Creature From Black Lake (1976).  The junior Houck also acted in Tight Rope and The Big Easy among others.

In 1965, Landaiche and Houck built the $500,000 Westgate Drive-In Theater on Veterans and David Drive in Metairie, Louisiana.

Bay View Bowling Alley

Operated by the Beach Drive-In Theatre Corporation.  This entity had been incorporated in Mississippi in September 1949 by Ernest V. Landaiche, Joy N. Houck of New Orleans and Douglas I. Smith of Biloxi.  In December 1959, Mr. Landaiche and Sullivan installed eight Brunswick bowling lanes.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land  Deed Bk. 458, p. 471)

Opening

The Bayview Lanes, an eight-lane facility, opened on January 19, 1960 with Terry Marlow as manager.  Robert Marlow, her spouse, was employed as a Brunswick automatic pinsetter technician at Keesler AFB.  The lanes were dedicated on January 30 and January 31, 1960.  The Jax Beer bowling team from NOLA made an appearance during this commencement celebration.  Mr. Landaiche already had plans to add eight additional lanes to Bayview Lanes.  He was also planning a 24-lane bowling center on West Beach Boulevard in front of his Beach Drive-In Theater.(The Daily Herald, January 19, 1960, p.6 and January 28. 1960, p. 27)

Conflagration and Destruction

December 1962-After the fire

[Courtesy of Betty Bellande-Toland, November 2011]

Bayview Lanes, formerly the Bayview Theatre building, was destroyed in a great conflagration on November 29th. Loss to structure and equipment was estimated at $450,000.  Douglas I. Smith (1901-1979) opened a theatre, flower shop and drug store here in 1946.  In 1959, the building was remodeled into a 20-lane bowling alley when owned by Ernest V. Landaiche (1895-1966).(The Daily Herald, November 30, 1962, p. 1)

Leckich & Fayard

            In December 1968, the Beach Drive-In Theatres Corporation, Stella P. Landaiche (1901-2004), president, conveyed the Bayview Theatre lot, 142 feet on the NW/C of Bayview and Lameuse and south 197 feet on the west side of Lameuse to Smith Street and west to Pinsley 142 feet and north 197 feet to Bayview Avenue, to Robert A. Fayard, Joseph H. Leckich, and James Wayne Leckich.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land  Deed Bk. 1, p. 339)

R.A. Seafood Co. Inc.

            In May 1994, R.A. Fayard Seafood Co. Inc.  made a ten year lease with an option agreement commencing on June 15, 1994 with Mississippi-I Gaming LP and the Bayview Yacht Club, Inc., their sole general partner, for three parcels of land on the NW/C of Bayview Avenue and Lameuse Street.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land  Deed Bk. 273, p. 21)

Boomtown Casino Parking Lot

 

REFERENCES:

BOOKS

Kevin Heffernan, Ghouls, Gimmicks, and Gold: Horror films and the American Movie Business 1953-1968, (Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina-2004)

 

CHANCERY COURT

Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Chancery Court Cause No. P-1064B, -“Estate of Robert A. Fayard II”-April 1988.

Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Chancery Court Cause No. P-1064B-“Estate of Joan E.  Fayard ”-December 1988.

JOURNALS

The Daily Herald, “Bayview Theatre at Biloxi will open Saturday”, November 28, 1946.

The Daily Herald, “Whiz Quiz program”, August 18, 1948.

The Daily Herald, “Cameron opens new grill”, November 18, 1950.

The Daily Herald, “Mrs. Marlow is Bowling Manager,January 19, 1960.

The Daily Herald, “Bayview Bowling Lanes in Biloxi have opening Saturday and Sunday”,January 28, 1960.

 The Daily Herald, "Flames destroy Bayview Bowling Lanes at Biloxi", November 30, 1962.

The Times Picayune, “News of Photoplay,August 23, 1917.

The Times Picayune, “Joy’s Theatres Inc. [advertisement],December 15, 1940.

The Times Picayune, “Change made along film row”, August 12, 1942.

The Times Picayune, “”, August 12, 1942.

The Times Picayune, “Society”, August 23, 1947.

The Times Picayune, “Society”, August 25, 1954.

The Times Picayune, “Amusements”, April 28, 1955.

The Times Picayune, “Movie premiere set”, December 18, 1956.

The Times Picayune, “Several stables arrive for Fair Grounds season”, October 22, 1957.

The Times Picayune, “$500,000 movie drive-in ready, January 19, 1965.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths”, January 3, 1966.

The Times Picayune, “Opening movies for Joy’s Panorama II”, August 17, 1967.

The Times Picayune, “”,, 19.

The Times Picayune, “”,, 19.

The Times Picayune, “”,, 19.

 

BEACH DRIVE-IN THEATRE

Beach Drive-In Corporation

The Beach Drive-In Corporation was incorporated in Mississippi in late September 1949 by Ernest V. Landaiche (1895-1966) and Joy N. Houck (1901-1999) of New Orleans and Douglas I. Smith (1901-1979) of Biloxi.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 458, p. 471)

______________________________________________________________________________

BIJOU

The Bijou Theatre opened for business on West Howard Avenue on November 5, 1910.  The movie house was one hundred twenty-four feet long and twenty feet wide.  S.T. Stephens was the general manager and Emma Bolton, the cashier, and A. Antoine, the doorman.  ‘The Deciding Vote’ of the IMP [Independent Moving Pictures Company] film company was the initial reel shown at the Bijou Theatre.  IMP was founded by Carl Laemmle (1867-1939), a German immigrant and movie industry pioneer.  IMP became Universal Studios and relocated from NYC in 1910 to Los Angeles and had its studio in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard.(The Daily Herald, November 5, 1910)

The Castleden Curtain Company installed a pictorial advertising curtain in the Bijou Theatre in late November 1912.  The center portion of the curtain had an ocean view with advertisements of Biloxi’s leading merchants in variegated colors and scrolled spaces framing the curtain.  The effect was that of a finely framed picture that might hang in an art gallery.  Mr. Stephens was lauded for his appropriate addition of the curtain to his little theatre.(The Daily Herald, December 2, 1912, p. 8)

 

REFRENCES:

The Daily Herald, “Bijou Theatre will open tonight”, November 5, 1910. 

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “New curtain at the Bijou Theatre”, December 2, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

DON DRIVE-IN

West Beach-Biloxi

The Don Drive-In was located in Lot 52 of the L.A. Frederick Survey on West Beach at Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1964, W.G. Solomon proprietor of the Sunny South Theatres, Inc. of McComb, Mississippi may have been the original operator of this outdoor venue.  In 1969, Don B. Stafford, president of Dixie Theatres Corporation of NOLA, became involved.  No further information. 

REFERENCES:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

DUKATE’S THEATRE

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,.

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

FAD

______________________________________________________________________________

Past Time Open Air Theatre-Gaiety Theatre-Buck Theatre

301 Lameuse Street

Located on a lot with a forty-eight foot front on the northwest corner of Lameuse Street and ninety-one feet on the north side of Jackson Street.  Owned by the Louis Holley family from  1914 to 1961.  In January 1879, Louis Holley (1841-1892) married Louisa Hahn (1847-1927), the daughter of John Hahn (1806-1847) and Elizabeth Hahn (1812-1904), German immigrants who owned the Magnolia Hotel on Front Street at Biloxi.  Louis and Louisa H. Holley were the parents of Geneva Holley (1879-1960); Anson Holley (1882-1967) m. Mary Liliana Caillavet (1883-1967); Louis C. Holley (1884-1973) m. Mary Agregaard (1893-1981); John Benjamin Holley (1886-1925); Sarah Louisa Holley (1889-1931); and Florence May Holley (1892-1953).

In mid-May 1914, Louis Holley, manager, announced that he would soon commence an open air theatre on the site formerly called the Gaiety Theatre.  On May 27, 1914, Louis Holley opened the Past Time Open Air Theatre on Lameuse and Jackson Streets.  His first movies were: ‘Pierre of the North’; The Golden Path’ from the Selig Company; and Quarantined’ of the Edison Company.  Pathe’s Weekly News was also shown.(The Daily Herald, May 16, 1914, p. 2 and May 27, 1914, p. 2)

The remodeling and redecorating at Saenger’s Gaeity Theatre is almost finished.  The improvements consisted of the following: the façade of the theatre was  remodeled and winging doors added; a terrace was built across the front of the theater decorated with artificial roses; the interior of the Gaiety Theatre was painted buff and green with paneled trimmings; six hundred, latest veneered theatre chairs replaced older seating; new organ put in with new music rolls capable of playing seventeen pieces continuously; four double and two single exists created for additional safety;  and ten new wall fans and two ceiling fans added to the interior.  The New Gaiety opened for business in mid-April with its same policies and no new admission charge.  For additional safety, a security guard was put on night duty in the movie house.(The Daily Herald, April 12, 1927, p. 2)

Martin J. Salvant (1869-1946), native of NOLA and manager of the Biloxi Gaiety Theatre, has been transferred to the Anderson Theatre at Gulfport from where he come to Biloxi over a year ago.(The Daily Herald, January 10. 1928, p. 2)

Buck Theatre and 1936 Lease

In October 1936, Louis Holley, Anson Holley, Geneva Holley, and Florence Holley leased to N.L. Carter of the Vicksburg Amusement Enterprise Corporation of NOLA.  In December 1936, Saenger Theatre officials said that the Buck Theatre, formerly the Gaiety Theatre, corner of Lameuse Street and Jackson Street, will open soon. The new theater has undergone extensive refurbishment and now has the capacity for over four hundred patrons.  The balcony for Colored people had nearly one hundred seats.  Modern Western Electric sound equipment and temlock wallboard for better insulation and acoustic properties has also been added to the structure.  A.O. Bourdon was the manager of the Buck Theatre.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 212, p. 272 and The Daily Herald, December 17, 1936, p. 1)

People’s Bank

In January 1961, Anson Holley Sr. conveyed the lot to F. Walker Tucei for $21,000.  Mr. Tucei, an employee of the People’s Bank sold it to his bank also in January 1961.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 474, p. 284 and p. 287)

 

REFRENCES:

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 42125, ‘The Estate of Geneva Holley’-December 1960.

The Biloxi Herald, “”,

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Mrs. Elizabeth Hahn”, October 5, 1904.

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “New moving picture theatre to open”, May 16, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Past Time Open Air Theatre opens tonight”,May 27, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Bourdon in New Orleans”,August 1, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,.

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Jewel Theatorium

 

 

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MEYERS THEATRE

740 Lameuse Street

In February 1940, Odeus Meyers (1884-1968) and Calus Canute ‘CC’ Meyers (1909-1999), his son, operators of Meyers’ Grocery at 447 East Division Street announced that they were going to build a 600-seat movie theater on the southeast corner of Lameuse and Division Streets.   Jack Fayard, Biloxi architect was hired to draw building plans for the $11,000, Meyers’ wood-framed, movie house.  It was to be 40 feet by 110 feet and fireproof.   Approximately 400-seats were for White patrons and 200-seats for Colored viewers.  The Colored entrance and lobby was on Division Street and their seating area was the balcony.  The White clientele entered from Lameuse Street and were seated in the main auditorium.  The Meyers family had arrived in Biloxi from Erath, Louisiana about 1929.(The Daily Herald, February 10, 1940, p. 1)

Land for the new Meyers was acquired in June 1938 Theatre by Odeus C. Meyers for $1000 from Ruth Elder Collins (1899-1931+) and Hazel Elder Van Court, the heirs of Lee Elder (1864-1931).  This 60.2 foot by 300 foot site had been in the Elder family since 1914.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 220, p. 598 and Bk. 108, p. 108)

The Meyers family had arrived in Biloxi from Erath, Louisiana about 1926.  Odeus Meyers had married Elvena Viator at Delcambre, Louisiana in October 1905.  Their children were: Calus C. Meyers (1909-1999); Albert J. Meyers (1911-1958); Henry Meyers (1914-2004) m. Eula Marie Meyers; Ena Meyers Krause (1920-1983); and Ella Meyers Fayard.           

The building

The Meyers Theatre was erected in the spring of 1940.

 

Opening night

The Meyers Theatre opened on the evening of May 17, 1940 with ‘Alias The Deacon’ starring Bob Burns.  Calus C. Meyers and H.T. Fayard of Picayune were the managers of the new movie house.             

 

Management

In October 1942, Frank Adorno, collector for the O'Keefe Burial Association, was named manager of the Meyers Theatre.(The Daily Herald, October 6, 1942, p. 7)

In May 1943, Ben Richards, a former employee of the Bradford Funeral Parlors, was named manager of the Meyers Theatre.(The Daily Herald, May 31, 1943, p. 8)

 

Sale

 In January 1961, Odeus Meyers and Calus C. Meyers conveyed the Meyers Theatre to B&D Theatres Inc for $60,000.  B&D Theatres was chartered in October 1960 by Claude S. Bourgeois (1929-1985) of Biloxi and Edgar G. Doerr (1911-1983).  Mr. Doerr was domiciled at New Orleans.( Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 220, p. 598 and Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 263, p. 132)

In June 1976, Henry Meyers (1914-2004), Ena Meyers Krause (1920-1983) and Ella Meyers Fayard (1898-1988) to Calus C. Meyers.  Calus C. Meyers to Lloyd T. Moon and Barbara Caillavet Moon in June 1984.  Lot 60.2 feet by 170 feet.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD District Land Deed Bk. 66, p. 316 and Bk. 146, p. 39)

 

REFERENCES:

The Daily Herald, “New theatre [Meyers] announced for Biloxi”,February 10, 1940.

The Daily Herald, “May 15 set for opening of new theatre at Biloxi”, April 26, 1940.

The Daily Herald, “Theatre opening set for tonight”,May 17, 1940.

The Daily Herald, “Advertisements”, May 17, 1940.

The Daily Herald, [Frank] manager Meyer Theatre”, October 6, 1942.

The Daily Herald, [Ben] Richards Meyer Theater manager”, May 31, 1943.

The Daily Herald, “Odeus Meyers”,June 6, 1968.

The Sun Herald, “Mr. Henry Meyers”,April 1, 2004.

The Sun Herald,  “”, .

The Sun Herald,  “”,

The Sun Herald,  “”,

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Palace of Pleasure-1908

Pictorium

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

ROXY THEATRE

1430 East Howard Avenue

 

1942-Roxy Theatre, East Howard Avenue (Eastern Section of City).  Children 10 cent; adults 20 cent at all times.  Open at 1:30 p.m.

Judy Broussard comfirmed that the Roxy was owned by Joe and Katina Smolicich.  It was later taken over by their son Vincent (nicknamed "Viccy").  Edmond said the 1949 city directory shows Citanovich as the owner.  I only remember the Smolocichs.  Judy thinks that Katina was a Citanovich before marriage.

The Roxy was first owned by Frances Cvitanich (1949 City Directory).  When I was at St. Michaels School in the 1950s Sharon Smolicich was in my class and her parents owned it then.
 

Joseph Smolcich

 Joseph Smolcich (1893-1967) married Frances Cvitanovich (1901-1979), both born on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.  Children: Matilda Smolcich (b. 1920); Joseph A. Smolcich (1922-2010) m. Anna Kopszywa (1927-2010); Vincent Smolcich (1925-1981); Anthony Smolcich; Matilda Smolcich Barry, Melrita Smolcich Raesner; Steve Smolcich; Sam Smolcich (1934-2006).  The Smolcich family started the Biloxi Seafood Company, the Roxy Theatre at 1430 East Howard Avenue, the Roxy Restaurant and owned much rental property on Point Cadet in East Biloxi.(The Sun Herald, October 12, 2010, p. A4)

1960s Fire

The Roxy Theatre on East Howard Avenue, which had been closed for nearly eight years, burned on January 3, 1965.  A residence and trailer in the rear of the movie house were also destroyed resulting in total losses of about $26,000.  Mrs. Francis Smolich was the owner.(The Daily Herald, January 4, 1965, p. 1)

REFERENCES:

The Daily Herald, “Sunday fire destroys theatre”, January 4, 1965, p. 1.

The Sun Herald, "Anna Kopszywa Smolcich", February 13, 2010, p. A4.

The Sun Herald, "Joseph 'Smokey Joe' Smolcich", October 11, 2010, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, "Smolcich lived as 'Mr. Biloxi'", October 12, 2010, p. A4.

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SAENGER THEATRE

     Norita Lopez Yerger inherited the large Lopez lot on the northeast corner of Howard Avenue and Reynoir Street.  In March 1928, she and Rucks Yerger Jr., her spouse, granted a thirty years lease to.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 20, p. 459)

JULIAN H. SAENGER

     Julian Henri Saenger (1873-1932) was born in Norfolk, Virginia to Rabbi Israel Saenger (1841-1900+), an 1866 immigrant from Germany, and Mrs. Saenger (d. pre-1900) also a German immigrant.  Julian graduated from Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore, Maryland after completing their pharmacy school.  Before 1900, the Saenger family relocated from Macon, Georgia to Shreveport, Louisiana where he was a retail pharmacist and proprietor of the Saenger Drug Company with Abe D. Saenger (1876-1932+), his brother.(1900 Caddo Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T623_560, p. 4B, ED 40)

       In 1911, Julian H. Saenger joined with Levi Maurice Ash (1880-1971), who had married Florence Saenger Ash (1886-1932+), his sister, and Abe D. Saenger, his brother, to organized the Saenger Amusement Company.  They opened their first movie house in Shreveport, also in 1911.  In 1917, the company had built the Strand Theatre at New Orleans and in November 1926.  With their two hundred movies houses in fifty Southern cities, in eleven Southern states, and Central America and Cuba, Saenger Theatres, Inc. was integrated into Publix Theaters Corporation, the premier American movie house proprietor, whose crown jewel was the seven million dollar Paramont Theater on Broadway.   The two and one-half million dollar Saenger Theatre opened in the Crescent City on February 4, 1927.  It was designed by Emile Weil.

       Julian H. Saenger married Marjorie Kent Weston at Gretna, Louisiana in December 1930.  They were domiciled at 831 Bourbon Street.  Julian was stricken by a heart attack on February 6, 1932.  He expired in an ambulance rushing him to a New Orleans hospital.(The Times Picayune, December 20, 1930, p. 20 and February 6, 1932, p. 1)  

 

REFERENCES:

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Of religious interest”, September 12, 1900.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Jewish New Year”, December 21, 1903.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Shebuoth”, May 19, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Personal”, May 23, 1907.

The Biloxi Daily Herald

The Biloxi Daily Herald

The Daily Herald, “Jewish Passover”, April 16, 1910.

The Daily Herald, “Jewish New Year will be ushered in this evening”, October 1, 1913.

The  Daily Herald, “Stone County”, October 13, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Jewish services at the Elks Club by Rabbi Moses”, July 20, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “25 Jewish sailors Dr. Moses guests”, September 7, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Collecting for Jewish Relief”, September 25, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Dr. and Mrs. Moses return to Biloxi”, September 25, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Jewish Welfare board may send man home’, January 6, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Moses elected Rabbi”, February 10, 1919.

The Daily Herald

The Daily Herald, “Bay St. Louis postmaster visits Biloxi”, March 29, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “”, , ., , .

The Daily Herald, “”, , .

The Daily Herald, “”, , .

The Daily Herald, “”, , .

The Daily Herald, “”, , .

The Times-Picayune, “New Saenger Theater is vast beyond belief and incredibly beautiful”, February 5, 1927.

The Times-Picayune, “Theater is seen as realization of years of work”, February 5, 1927.

The Times-Picayune, “Society”, December 20, 1930.

The Times-Picayune, “Julian H. Saenger stricken, dies on way to hospital”, February 7, 1932.

 

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STRAND THEATRE

       Norita Lopez Yerger had inherited the large Lopez lot on the northeast corner of Howard Avenue and Reynoir Street.  In January 1925, she made a five year lease with Julian H. Saenger (1873-1932) of the Gulf Coast Amusement Company to rent the building formerly housing the L. Lopez & Company store at 418 Howard Avenue as the Strand Theatre.  The rent was $250 per month.  On May 22, 1926, a fire on the adjacent property did some damage to the Strand Theatre and the movie house was shut down for repairs by the lessor.  The lease was renegotiated after the fire and compromised and the lessee agreed to a monthly rental rate of $325 each month until January 31, 1930, then it would be increased to $425 per month.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 162, p. 232)

       The Strand Theatre was built in Lopez Building on West Howard Avenue in the winter of 1923.  Opened in early January 1924 with a feature picture, comedy, and high class vaudeville act and orchestra.  Modern theater with seating capacity of six- hundred fifty.  Interior modern finish with lighting appropriate for projection and illumination of the building.  Modern projector.(The Daily Herald, January 4, 1924, p. 1)

        Anti-trust litigation filed in New Orleans against the Saenger Amusement Company and others was dismissed in early January.  Since the Saenger Amusement Company did not sell commodities, it was not in violation of the Louisiana State anti-trust statue.(The Daily Herald, January 10, 1924, p. 1)

       Tom Bautovich (1908-1990), native of New Orleans and new organist at the Strand Theatre, is becoming popular with his audiences.  Tom is a graduate of the New Orleans conservatory of music and played in the top theaters in NOLA before coming to Biloxi.  He was a also daily broadcaster over WSMB in the Crescent City..(The Daily Herald, October 11, 1927, p. 2)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

1907

            The Nickelodeon, an electric theater,was located on Lameuse Street across from Suter & Suter.  The Nickelodeon occupied the space of a recently closed movie house operated by Robert Montamat.  The building was being remodeled and opened shortly under the management of W.H. Fudge.  Mr. Fudge  had formerly been assistant manager of Forest Park, the amusement venue in west Biloxi.  Forest Park had balloon ascensions, a high dive, and other exciting attractions for its summer patrons.(The Biloxi Herald, September 27, 1907, p. 2)

1908

            The Palace of Pleasure opened in Dukate’s Theatre on February 17, 1908. 

“Moving picture show of  Biloxi as up to date as up to date as any in the country”,

 

1909

The Airdome, an open air movie and vaudeville venue, opened April 19, 1909 on the Lazaro Lopez property west of the T.P. Dulion Mercantile Company.  It was owned by the Vaudette Amusement Company, a partnership of Julius M. Lopez and Frederick P. Abbley (1881-1941).  Mr. Abbley was an experienced theatre owner, as he was operating the Vaudette Theatre at Biloxi and Scranton [Pascagoula].  He had recently sold his Vaudette Theatre in Ocean Springs to R. Anderson Dancer (1878-1915).  Mr. Danser vended his Vaudette movie house on Washington Avenue to E.W. Illing (1870-1947) in September 1909 and went to Lumberton, Mississippi with William ‘Willie’ Engbarth (1882-1957) to open a movie house. Apparently, things did not work as The Ocean Springs News reported that R.A. Dancer sold his movie house and returned to Ocean Springs in December 1909, with Charles Engbarth (1885-1962).  Mr. Dancer married Carrie Engbarth (1889-1967+) in November 1911.(The Daily Herald, April 3, 1909, p. 1, April 20, 1909, p. 2, December 1, 1911, p. 4 and The Ocean Springs News, September 11, 1909, November 13, 1909, November 20, 1909, and December 25, 1909)

The Airdome lot was bounded by Fayard Street on the west; Howard Avenue on the south; and Reynoir Street on the east.  It was fenced and had one hundred twenty-five benches capable of seating eight people and two hundred-fifty chairs giving it a seating capacity of 1250 people.  There was a stage and ‘picture machine box’, probably the projector.  Harry Haise (1854-1954) did the carpentry work to erect the Airdome.  The newly formed Daily Herald Band under the direction of Professor Joseph Dowling performed on opening day.  Fred P. Abbley  was the manager.(The Daily Herald, April 13, 1909 and April 20, 1909, p. 2)

1910

The Bijou Theatre opened for business on West Howard Avenue on November 5, 1910.  The movie house was one hundred twenty-four feet long and twenty feet wide.  S.T. Stephens was the general manager.(The Daily Herald, November 5, 1910, p.  )

1911

The Vaudette Theatre, now occupied by Uncle Fred’s is being demolished to erect a two-story, brick structure for Joseph Lawrence and Charles Redding on the corner of Howard Avenue and Delauney.  T.J. Rosell drew the architectural plans.(The Daily Herald, July 18, 1911, p. 8)

1913

In January 1913, J.H. King and C.B. King of Mobile, proprietors of the Crown Theatre there, acquired the theatrical business interest of S.T. Stephens at Biloxi.  At this time, Mr. Stephens operated the Bijou Theatre and the Air Dome.(The Daily Herald, January 11, 1913, p. 1)

 

1914

TheCrown Theatre, formerly the Bijou Theatre, opened in January 1914.(The Daily Herald, January 16, 1914, p. 2)

1919

 In October 1919,Victor Howard, a prominent motion picture proprietor of New Orleans, acquired the Crown Theatre and Big Airdome movie houses at Biloxi from the King Brothers of Mobile.  C.B. King was the manager of the Biloxi theaters for King Brothers.(The Daily Herald,  October 24, 1919, p. 1)

 

1920

A.O. Bourdon, manager of the Gulf Coast Amusement Company, kept the Crown and Gaiety open during the recent strike.(The Daily Herald, February 20, 1920, p. 6)

1924

The Strand Theatre was built in the Lopez Building on West Howard Avenue in the winter of 1923.  It opened in early January 1924 with a feature picture, comedy, and high class vaudeville act and orchestra.  It was a modern theater with seating capacity of six- hundred fifty.  Its interior featured a modern finish with lighting appropriate for projection and illumination of the building.  The Strand also was equipped with a modern projector.(The Daily Herald, January 4, 1924, p. 1)

Anti-trust litigation filed in New Orleans against the Saenger Amusement Company and others was dismissed in early January.  Since the Saenger Amusement Company did not sell commodities, it was not in violation of the Louisiana State anti-trust statue.(The Daily Herald, January 10, 1924, p. 1)

1926

 

1927

The remodeling and redecorating at Saenger’s Gaeity Theatre is almost finished.  The improvements consisted of the following: the façade of the theatre was  remodeled and winging doors added; a terrace was built across the front of the theater decorated with artificial roses; the interior of the Gaiety Theatre was painted buff and green with paneled trimmings; six hundred, latest veneered theatre chairs replaced older seating; new organ put in with new music rolls capable of playing seventeen pieces continuously; four double and two single exists created for additional safety;  and ten new wall fans and two ceiling fans added to the interior.  The New Gaiety opened for business in mid-April with its same policies and no new admission charge.  For additional safety, a security guard was put on night duty in the movie house.(The Daily Herald, April 12, 1927, p. 2)

Tom Bautovich(1908-1990), native of New Orleans and new organist at the Strand Theatre, is becoming popular with his audiences.  Tom is a graduate of the New Orleans conservatory of music and played in the top theaters in NOLA before coming to Biloxi.  He was a also daily broadcaster over WSMB in the Crescent City..(The Daily Herald, October 11, 1927, p. 2)

1928

 Martin J. Salvant (1869-1946), native of NOLA and manager of the Biloxi Gaiety Theatre, has been transferred to the Anderson Theatre at Gulfport from where he come to Biloxi over a year ago.(The Daily Herald, January 10. 1928, p. 2)

Will probably let contract for new [Saenger] theatre in June.(The Daily Herald,May 16, 1928, p. 2)

1936

Saenger officials said that the Buck Theatre, formerly the Gaiety Theatre, corner of Lameuse Street and Jackson Street, will open soon. The new theater has undergone extensive refurbishment and now has the capacity for over four hundred patrons.  The balcony for Colored people had nearly one hundred seats.  Modern Western Electric sound equipment and temlock wallboard for better insulation and acoustic properties has also been added to the structure. (The Daily Herald, December 17, 1936, p. 1)

1940

            Odeus Meyers(1884-1968) and Calus C. Meyers (1909-1999), his son, operators of Meyers’ Grocery at 447 East Division Street announced that they were going to build a 600-seat movie theater on the southeast corner of Lameuse and Division Streets.   Jack Fayard, Biloxi architect was hired to draw building plans for the $11,000, Meyers’ wood-framed, movie house.  It was to be 40 feet by 110 feet and fireproof.   Approximately 400-seats were for White patrons and 200-seats for Colored viewers.  The Colored entrance and lobby was on Division Street and their seating area was the balcony.  The White clientele entered from Lameuse Street and were seated in the main auditorium.  The Meyers family had arrived in Biloxi from Erath, Louisiana about 1929.(The Daily Herald, February 10, 1940, p. 1)

 

1942

 

REFERENCES:

 

Journals

The Biloxi Herald, “City News”, September 27, 1907.

The Biloxi Herald, “New moving picture show”, February 13, 1908.

The Biloxi Herald, “Another picture show”, February 17, 1908.

The Biloxi Herald, “Moving pictures in Biloxi”, September 25, 1908.

 

The Daily Herald

The Daily Herald, “Bijou Theatre will open tonight”, November 5, 1910.

The Daily Herald, “New building for Redding and Lawrence”, July 18, 1911.

The Daily Herald, "Dancer-Engbarth", December 1, 1911, p. 4.

The Daily Herald, “The new Gaiety Theatre”, May 7, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Popular young Biloxian weds”, September 14, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “The New Dixie Theater”, September 26, 1912.     

The Daily Herald, “Tam has leased Firemen’s Hall”, October 1, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “New curtain at the Bijou Theatre”, December 2, 1912, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, “Mobilians buy Biloxi theaters from Stephens”, January 11, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Gaiety open air theatre open Thursday”, May 13, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “J.H. King buys out two picture shows”, July 24, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Contest closes at the Big Airdome”, August 7, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Kings will open new theater in Biloxi tomorrow”,January 14, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Crown Theater opening triumph”, January 16, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi team is again victorius”, July 20, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi theatres changes hands”, October 24, 1919.

 

1920-1929

The Daily Herald, “Both theatres [Crown and Gaiety] in Biloxi operataed during strike”, February 20, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “Open theater tomorrow”,January 4, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Court rules Saenger Company is not a Trust”, January 10, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Fire Loss is $75,000 in early blaze”, May 23, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi business houses burned”, May 29, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “New Gaiety to open Monday”,April 12, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Tom Bautovich [organist], October 11, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Salvant transferred”,January 10, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Break ground for New Saenger House”,July 14, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Saenger has new manager [Martin J. Salvent],December 31, 1929.

 

1930-1939

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,

The Daily Herald, “”,.

The Daily Herald, “Buck Theatre to open Saturday”,December 17, 1936.

 

1940-1949

The Daily Herald, “New theatre [Meyers] announced for Biloxi”, February 10, 1940.

 

1980-1999

The Daily Herald Centennial Edition, “Films at Saenger kept Coastians in the darkness”, October 7, 1984.

The Daily Herald Centennial Edition, “Gem of the Coast polished”, October 7, 1984.

 

The Ocean Springs News

The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", September 11, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", November 13, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", November 20, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", December 25, 1909.

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