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Joy Houck, Sr. was my father’s older brother, and I knew him all of my life, until his death as described above by Cheryl. In most ways, he was more of a father to me than my natural father, and I worked for him back in the early 1960’s as manager of the Aereon Theatre in Metairie (suburban New Orleans), where I also managed the Joy Bowl (a 48 lane bowling alley). There are some errors in the previous posts that I will comment on:
Warren’s post doesn’t “do him justice” regarding the breadth of Joy Theatres (it wasn’t Joy’s Theatres, but JOY Theatres). He owned or was part owner of theatres across the South from Texas to Georgia. He also produced and distributed movies through Howco International.
I don’t think “The Sting” played at the Joy on Canal Street, since I recall seeing that movie across the Street at the Saenger Theatre, which was owned by Paramount. The longest running pictures I recall (though I don’t have the actual records) at the Joy were “South Pacific” … “Around the World in 80 Days” … and “Oklahoma!”
Not an error, but Jack Pope was someone else I knew all of my life. Jack was a partner in several theatres with Joy, and in fact, taught me the basics of theatre management at his theatre in Rayville, La. Jack was a wonderful and delightful man.
Joy’s widow, Hazel, lives in Texarkana, TX. .. not New Orleans.
There was no “Joy’s” Theatre in Shreveport… It was the JOY Theatre, on Texas, Avenue (the main downtown street). There was also a Joy Drive-In. Joy owned other theatres in Shreveport, also, with other names.
Not an error, but interesting… Joy had a rather plush “apartment” in the Joy Theatre on Canal Street, and that’s where he lived when in New Orleans. I recall several Mardi Gras' in New Orleans, as the marquee was a great place to watch the Canal Street parades. All of his family watched the festivities from that vantage point.
Joy Houck, Sr. died two days before his 99th birthday, not his 100th. He was born in 1900. I lived with his mother (my grandmother) until I married and left home, and certainly SHE knew when he was born, and he often told me that he was born in 1900, but that he had his birth date ‘changed’ on his birth certificate to 1901, so he could avoid being drafted into World War I military service.
Joy was married three times: 1. Minnie Chaffin (who didn’t work in the theatres), 2. Lois Cooper (who was an employee, but not a manager), although in later life she became a manager, and in fact managed the Aereon after I left. She was also the “concession manager” of the 12-screen theatre that was in the old Joy Bowl building after the bowling alley shut down on Airline Highway, and 3. Hazel, who is still living. He had one child by each wife. His second child, Joy Jr. went into the movie business as an actor and director.
The Joy Theatre on Canal Street was at the same intersection with Paramount’s “flagship” theatre, the Saenger. There is an interesting anecdote that my Uncle Joy told me several times over the years. The president of Paramount Pictures had an office in the Saenger facing Canal Street. When Joy established his headquarters office in New Orleans, he made a “courtesy call” to introduce himself to the man. He was treated rudely, and was told, “I don’t need to know who you are. I’ve have you run out of town within two months.” Joy was NOT a man to take such treatment lightly, and he bought the corner lot across from the Paramount office windows, where he built the Joy Theatre under discussion… the sign, saying simply “JOY” was about 80 feet high… HUGE… He remarked often, “Every time that son-of-a-bitch looks out his window, he’ll know I’m STILL in town!”