About the Luez Theater
The first incarnation of The Luez Theatre came to town in 1936 when Miss Louise Mask announced that she would be opening a new “picture show” in Bolivar in one of the buildings on the square. The building opened on a Wednesday in February with its first showing of “Stars Over Broadway”, and tickets were 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults. Miss Louise held a contest during the theater’s first month of operation to give the theater a name, not to exceed four letters (she thought four letters would look the best on the marquee, I’ve been told). There were 467 entries submitted in the contest and the winning name of “Luez” (for Louise) was submitted by Carolyn and Lillian Prewitt, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Prewitt. The young ladies won free movie tickets for two months – what a treat! For you local trivia buffs, the first movie shown under the new “Luez Theatre” name was Anna Karenina starring Greta Garbo and Fredic March (prior to the selection of the name it was just called the “New Theatre”).
Miss Louise moved the theater to its current location in 1948. The new theater was billed as being “as modern as any show houses in Memphis or Jackson,” and even featured air-conditioning for the hot-Southern-summer days in Hardeman County. Miss Louise kept the “Luez” name for the new location and was quoted in the Bolivar Bulletin to “operate under the same policy I have always had. I will have a quiet theatre and good behavior.” Several generations of Hardeman Countians can attest to Miss Louise’s policies. Miss Louise always patrolled the aisles with her trusty flashlight to make sure no mischief was going on at her theater.
Miss Louise operated the theater until late 1967, when she sold it to the Joe Wheeler family. The Wheeler family kept the “Luez” name and continued to operate the movie theater until it closed in 2012. It closed due to a decline in traditional 35mm file and the cost to upgrade to digital equipment.
In 2013, the theater was purchased by the Bolivar Downtown Development Corporation and efforts began to “Save the Luez.” After four years of renovations and restoring this historic theater, The Luez Theater opened officially on Friday, December 14, 2018. This multi-purpose venue will host movies, live music, special events and more at this newly, renovated venue in Downtown Bolivar.
Some Copy by Lisa Coleman.
Support the Luez
Support efforts to continue the restoration, maintenance and upkeep of this historic theater in Downtown Bolivar. All donations are tax-deductible to the Luez Theater of the Bolivar Downtown Development Corporation.