Movie Tragedy Takes Life of Young Employee

Benton County Record, October 22, 1942

Cause of Accident Which Takes Life of One Unknown:

Tragedy more grim than had ever been enacted on the silver screen of a Bentonville moving picture theater took place in the projectionists' booth about 10 o'clock Tuesday night and brought horrible death to Miss Joyce Madsen, 21, projectionist.

Exact cause of the accident which took the girl's life was unknown. It occurred while she was threading one of the machines of the Royal Theater prepartory to rewinding a reel of film shortly after the first show of the evening. She was believed to have been killed instantly when the film she was handling seemed to explode between her and the single exit of the room, knocking her down and trapping her.

Her brother, Lyle Madsen, whom she was assisting in the booth, suffered painful injuries about the hands, arms, and head when he attempted to close both the film containers of the machines and smother the flames. The raging flames blew them both open, however, and spread over the room. Both he and another brother, Keith, in the room at the time were unable to reach their sister, and were finally forced from the room by the burning and exploding film. Attempts to rescue the girl from the skylight of the room were likewise unsuccessful.

The fire department was called but it was not until 45 minutes later that the body was carried from the flame swept booth.

All of the projection equipment was destoryed, including two projection machines and 14,000 feet of film. Fire was confined solely to the booth.