Joy Newton Houck, Sr., was producer of most of the movies made by western star Lash LaRue during the 1940s and early '50s. Houck was also the owner of a chain of theaters in Louisiana, of which one of the crown jewel was the Joy Theater in New Orleans. In the 1950s, in partnership with J. Francis White, he founded Howco International, an independent production company responsible for such genre films as Budd Boetticher's Blades of the Musketeers, Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s Jail Bait, and Wyott Ordung's Mesa of Lost Women. Houck was still producing pictures into the 1960s through his company and remained active in the exhibition end of the business until just a couple of years before his death, which occurred two days before what would have been his 99th birthday. (Note: Most sources list Houck's year of birth as 1901, but some family members insist that he was born in 1900). Houck's son, Joy N. Houck, Jr., was a writer-producer-director and sometime actor.