609 Douglas Street,
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The Joy Theater was open on Christmas Day in 1941 and was the 57th theater opened by the Frisina Amusement Company. Dale and Mary Turvey were the managers, and the first feature was “Sun Valley Serenade”, with Sonja Henie. Admission was .30 for adults and .10 for children.
The upper story of this building was once the Opera House, and later Dominic Frisina started his theater chain showing “talkie” productions on this top level. He wanted to open the Joy because of the sentiment for Pawnee, the location of the beginning of his company.
The theater was closed in the 1950s and now is part of the Nelson Drug Store. The upper level, once the Opera House, and the beginning of the Frisina Amusement Co., was beautifully renovated by the Pawnee United Methodist Church and serves as a meeting place for church services, youth activities, town functions, etc.
When I think of the Frisina Joy Theater, memories of a simpler kinder time come to mind. A small community that helped each other and that filled the square on Friday and Saturday nights with people who came to town to do grocery shopping, pay bills, maybe eat at Darrell’s Grill, get a milkshake at Millburg’s Drug Store and see a movie. I am privileged to have been part of that era.
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