DeVoto Theater

Main Street,
Yazoo City, MS 39194

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The DeVoto Theatre launched on Thanksgiving, November 25, 1937. The opening film was Betty Grable in “This Way Please”. The main floor was reserved for White patrons with the balcony for persons of color. The downtown Yazoo City theatre was situated in the existing B.S. Ricks Building at Main Street and Jefferson Street which most recently had housed the utility company’s billing office. An advertisement offering $10 to the first person identifying the name of the theatre was offered six weeks prior to its opening. When DeVoto was the name selected, ten people each guessing “DeVoto” each received a dollar.

Mrs. J.B. DeVoto was a pioneer film exhibitor when she operator the local Star Theatre and took over the Yazoo Theatre in the mid-1910’s. So successful was the town’s coal and oil service operator that she sold the theatre on April 1, 1920 to Saenger Amusements Circuit out of New Orleans. When the Yazoo Theatre burned in 1924, Saenger abandoned the market. But DeVoto - who was still the theater’s manager - rebuilt it. She then added this theatre as a discount, second run theatre when the Dixie Amusement Circuit announced its intention to build a theatre in downtown Yazoo City.

Her strategy worked and DeVoto sold her interests to the Dixie Theatre Company which had then opened its Dixie Theatre on July 18, 1938. The circuit closed the DeVoto immediately upon its purchase on October 29, 1938 with “Magnificent Obsession” and shelved the Yazoo Theatre temporarily.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

SethG on May 9, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Since all the others have an address, this must have been the derelict shell of a building at 303 S Main. It’s got some sort of sad little park in it, with wooden bleachers where the seats would have been.

SethG on May 9, 2020 at 5:58 pm

The only other possibility for this is that either the Dixie or Palace have the wrong address. At any rate, nothing on any corner of Main and Jefferson has been demolished. The closest empty lot to that corner on Main is approximately 126 S Main, which is separated from the corner by a very large building.

dallasmovietheaters on May 9, 2020 at 9:11 pm

Seth G – you are correct in that the Palace Theatre has a transposed address – totally my error. The local paper said that the Palace Theatre was demolished for the most part to create a parking lot that didn’t happen. When that didn’t materialize, they made it Smith Park – the sad looking park / amphitheater at 303 S. Main Street.

SethG on May 10, 2020 at 12:00 am

No problem. The building that was at 330 is demolished as well, so it all would have looked right. I’ll move the picture to the proper listing.

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