The Legacy Continues

The storefronts housing The Capri, Highball Lanes, and The Pearl tiki bar were each built in 1939. Locals have informally referred to this block as the “Fondren Strip.”
The Highball Lanes storefront housed a paint store for most of its life but was once the location of the last cash-and-carry Jitney Jungle grocery store. The first parking lot Jitney Jungle opened thereafter a half-block away at the Morgan Center (Woodland Hills Shopping Center). 
The Pearl tiki bar’s storefront had been the site of a drugstore, a Radio Shack, and most recently the photography studio of James Patterson, a beloved icon of Mississippi’s creative economy.

The Capri Theatre, originally called the Pix Theatre, is a Mississippi Landmark. It was designed by modernist architect James Thomas (“Jack”) Canizaro, built in 1939, and opened in 1940. The Pix was Canizaro’s first commercial project after returning to his native Mississippi from early career successes in Chicago and Washington, D.C. The Pix was developed by Van Downing, who owned the land and operated a gravel pit on the site before building retail structures along State Street. The Moderne design is consistent with many other buildings in Downtown Fondren. It was somewhat atypical because its sloping floor was steeper than others of its era. It was built on the existing grade sloping down from North State Street and stood for more than 80 years with no major repairs other than roofing updates. The front of the Pix featured a ticket booth in a terrazzo plaza outside the lobby with separate corner storefronts that housed retail tenants.

The Pix operated from 1940 until 1957 and then closed for five years. In 1962, Cinema Guild, LLC, led by Ad Orkin, acquired and reopened the building as the Capri Theatre. At the time, Orkin also owned and operated the Bowl-O-Rama, a 37-lane bowling center elsewhere in Fondren. The Capri was a beloved, first-run, neighborhood theatre for a decade before shifting its model to second-run films as multiplexes appeared in Jackson. 
A series of operating groups continued the second-run model for another decade. In 1975, the film Premonition, starring Sharon Ferrell, which had been filmed in Jackson, premiered at the Capri. The Orkin family group eventually sold the theatre and subsequent owners operated it as an adult theatre for a year and a half in the mid-1980s. During the Orkin family’s period of ownership, the Capri’s retail spaces served as incubators of legendary Jackson businesses, including The Rogue men’s clothing store and BeBop Records.

 

By 1986, the Capri had suspended regular operations. For more than 30 years, the Capri changed ownership multiple times and served various community purposes. Several high-profile attempts to restore the theatre ended in disappointment. One hurdle was a sizable asbestos removal requirement that stood in the way of any renovation. A local real estate investor bought and donated the building to the Fondren Renaissance Foundation, which used grants available to nonprofit owners for the removal of asbestos. The Foundation raised funds for minor repairs and architect Michael Barranco designed a renovation that contemplated a small kitchen and dining area with an auditorium concept for live events. When those efforts stalled, the Foundation sold the building to a private developer. Later, Mississippi-born film director Tom Rice acquired the building but eventually sold it.

Over the years, the Fondren Renaissance Foundation used the building for events and less formal groups staged concerts. The local record label, Esperanza Plantation, produced ten annual holiday showcases of its recording artists. Jackson cinephile Ed Inman restored one of the projectors enough for occasional pop-up film events. Late-night screenings and live theatrical productions, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show, were staples of Capri’s “closed” years. The facades were superficially renovated in 2011 for a scene in the DreamWorks Pictures release, The Help. TEDxJackson 2014, Mississippi’s first TEDx event, was produced to a sold-out audience of 300 people.
The latest renovation of the Capri made use of the existing structure as built apart from reshaping the corners on the West end of the theatre to accommodate a 36-foot retractable screen and expanding into adjacent buildings to accommodate a kitchen and new bathrooms.

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You’re not gonna wanna miss the critically acclaimed thriller, #Longlegs, starring #MaikaMonroe & #NicholasCage,  playing for 1 week ONLY at the Capri Theatre. Get tickets at the link in the bio!
Our next movie in our Kids Summer Series is Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Movie, $3. Popcorn, $3. Spending quality time with the kiddos, PRICELESS! See you at the Capri 📽️🍿✨

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The kids have had plenty of fun this Summer. Now it's time for THE SCARIEST FILM OF THE DECADE! 😳 #LONGLEGS opens this Friday for ONE WEEK ONLY at the Capri! 🫣 Reserve seats now at link in bio or CapriMovies.com 😱
It’s your last week to catch Despicable Me 4 at the Capri! Hurry & buy your tickets at the link in the bio! 🎟️✨

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#dinnerandamovie 
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#LetsGo DEADPOOL & WOLVERINE opens July 26 at the Capri! Tickets on sale now at link in bio or CapriMovies.com

Marvel Studios’ “Deadpool & Wolverine” delivers the ultimate, iconic, cinematic team-up throwdown on July 26. 

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It's Kid's Summer Movie time at the Capri! Paw Patrol this Thursday, July 11th at 10AM for only $3 🍿 

Have you recently visited the Mississippi Children's Museum? Show your tickets at concessions and get $1.50 kids popcorn ! If you haven't been, take the kids to the museum's Paw Patrol exhibit and then come on over to Capri for this special showing!

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We are open for the 4th of July! Come see a movie!

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Are the kids driving you crazy yet? Why not take them to see Trolls Band Together July 4th at 10 AM for ONLY $3 & grab some $3 popcorn while you're at it? You can't beat that! 

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