Pix Theater

121 W. 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

edblank
edblank on January 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Enrolling with this link.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 16, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Great image, Warren. Theatre status should be “closed/demolished” as the site was incorporated into the new Bank of America office tower.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on November 11, 2008 at 11:43 am

“Hot Girls For Men Only” was a 1968 British film.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 11, 2008 at 10:36 am

In 1968, the Pix Theatre was immortalized by photo realist Richard Estes in an acrilyic painting called “Hot Girls.” I don’t know if the movie titles shown were actual or imagined: View link

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 8, 2008 at 10:37 am

Rialto East and Rialto III should be added as AKA names here.

bobmarshall
bobmarshall on August 15, 2007 at 10:26 pm

It did come to a sad end…but I can recall countless trips there in the mid & late 1950s to catch all the Joan Crawford films of the 40s, along with other Warner winners.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 30, 2006 at 9:03 am

Wow. Now I know what the interior of the Pix looked like AND what it tasted like!!! Thanks for the entertaining commentary, guys.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 30, 2006 at 5:44 am

Dubonnet is an aperitif wine. It’s not intended for drinking with meals. You would have it as a cocktail, either straight or mixed with something stronger like gin or vodka. Dubonnet Rouge is somewhat sweeter than Dubonnet Blanc. Most Dubonnet sold in the USA is now manufactured here. Imported French Dubonnet can also be found here in some stores, but under the name St. Raphael, as the French company sold its right to use the Dubonnet name in the USA.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 29, 2006 at 2:21 pm

That’s the Pix’s C/O, Lost.

By the way, that Times article you posted about on October 15th, “A Preview of the Pix” is an interesting and informative read. Firstly, it erroneously describes the theater as having 1000 seats (as you can see from the C/O, max capacity – which may include employees for fire code – was to be 820 persons). Management intended the theater to be devoted “to the exhibition of French and other foreign pictures.” There was a fall-back plan, however, to switch to first-run Hollywood product should their initial plan prove “impracticable.” Regardless of the fare, Brandt intended to keep admissions at “popular prices.”

The theater opened on Saturday, December 23rd, 1939, with the French drama “Citadel of Silence,” produced in 1937 and starring Annabella – who had made her cinematic debut at age 16 in Abel Gance’s “Napoleon.” The designer of the Pix is listed as Ely Jacques Kahn and the theater was the first in NYC to be constructed in accordance with the “new theater building-code” to ensure the “ultimate in safety measures.” As such, the orchestra was designed with four fire exits, “two on either side of the house, leading directly into brick enclosed passageways which open onto Forty-third Street.” According to the article, the Pix was also the first theater on 42nd Street to be purpose built exclusively for motion picture exhibition.

The interior is described as “intimate” with a small loge and balcony and a color scheme that “is a blend of flame red and dubonnet” with “the upper portions of the acoustically plastered walls…decorated with white Grecian heads.” Brandt was particularly proud of the theater’s flame-red leather “body form” chairs, set in steel frames and guaranteed by Brandt not to “cause runs in milady’s sheerest hose.” The air-conditioning plant occupied most of the basement floor space and circulated fresh, refrigerated air through a network of vents in the orchestra floor. The cost to build was estimated at $300,000, on property that Brandt leased from “Freya, Inc.” for a period of only twenty-one years.

And now, I’m going to see if I can find out what on Earth the color “dubonnet” looks like!!!

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 29, 2006 at 12:03 pm

Here’s a shot of the former Pix with it’s Peep-O-Rama signange still in place. The photo is dated 12/9/2003, at which point it’s interior would have already been converted to gallery space for the Chashama art project.

I also found a night shot at the top of this Forgotten NY page also taken during the same period. The old Peep-O-Rama sign is lit up (with some broken letters) and you can clearly see through the street-level glass front at the artwork on the interior walls. If you scroll down just a bit on the Forgotten NY page, you’ll see another shot of the former Pix that is dated 1990. In this image, the space is occupied by a “42nd St. Audio and Photo,” so clearly the Peep-O-Rama must have opened sometime after 1990. I suspect that both the Audio & Photo shop and the Peep-O-Rama occupied the 25foot wide lobby space of the Pix while other use was made of the former auditorium which had a much wider frontage on West 43rd Street.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on November 17, 2006 at 12:08 pm

At some point (probably the late ‘70’s or early '80’s), the Pix became known as Peep-O-Rama, home of coin operated private video booths. I’m not sure what sort of changes were made to the interior, or if movies were still exhibited on screen in the original auditorium at all.

In July of 2002, Peep-O-Rama became the very last porn establishment on 42nd Street to close. The space was taken over by the non-profit avant-garde art project known as Chashama and converted to gallery/performance space (as were several other properties on the block including the fomer Herman’s at 135 W. 42nd and former Avon-on-Love theater at 125 W. 42nd). Chashama is run by Anita Durst, daughter of Durst Organization CEO Douglas Durst. All of these properties were owned by the Durst Organization and provided free of rent to Chashama until 2004 when the lots and all adjoining parcels on 42nd and 43rd Street to 6th Avenue were sold and demolished to make way for the new Bank of America tower now under construction.

Status should be updated to “closed/demolished”

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 24, 2006 at 3:40 pm

For a short period during the late sixties-early seventies, the Pix became the third Rialto on 42nd Street. As the RIALTO EAST it premiered Argentinian soft core star Isabel Sarli’s FUEGO and later the Swedish JULIETTE DE SADE, both sold with much fanfare and New York Times full page ads.

RobertR
RobertR on June 8, 2005 at 10:46 pm

In the movie clock for 8/31/41 the PIX had Sun-Wed… “They Drive By Night” and “The Magic Bullet”. Thur-Sat….“Strawberry Blond” and “International Sweetheart”.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 19, 2004 at 11:05 am

The Cinema Giglio was at #277 on the north side of Canal Street, just east of Broadway. Before that, the theatre was called the Major, and may have had other names as well, including the Canal. But it should not be confused with Loew’s Canal, which still stands and is located well east of the Bowery. Portions of the exterior of the theatre which housed Cinema Giglio are still visible, but the interior was gutted for stores. The Major’s seating capacity was reported as 599. If I recall correctly, after Cinema Giglio shut down, Chinese movies were shown until the conversion to retail.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 19, 2004 at 10:03 am

Thank you very much. On a visit to New York in 1959 I remember walking by the Bryant and noticing that they were running a revival double bill of OPEN CITY and PAISAN. I am interested in, in addition to movie theatres in general, those that may have played European films, and especially Italian movies. The Bryant doesn’t seem to be listed. Perhaps I’ll add it. On the topic, do you happen to know if the Cinema Giglio in Little Italy was the same place as the Canal Theatre?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 19, 2004 at 9:37 am

The Pix was located at 121 West 42nd Street and had around 800 seats. It showed porno only in its final years. Prior to that, the Pix showed late-run mainstream double features, with program changes several times a week. The boxoffice had a turnstile to save the expense of employing a ticket-taker. Across the road from the Pix, at 138 West 42nd Street, was the Bryant Theatre, which started out as the B.S. Moss Cameo. It then became the RKO Cameo before Brandt took over and changed the name to Bryant in honor of nearby Bryant Park. The Bryant’s decline was similar to that of the Pix, but for a long time prior to that it ran foreign movies that were transfers from Brandt’s Apollo, further west on 42nd Street.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 19, 2004 at 9:28 am

But they had had a long non-porn history that went way back. I have a 1948 ad here for the French film CONFESSIONS OF A ROGUE with Louis Jouvet. The Pix also day/dated with the Beekman for part of the opening run of Visconti’s great ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS in 1961.

SethLewis
SethLewis on March 19, 2004 at 9:18 am

A porn theater with a really distinctive marquee down the block from the original Herman’s Sporting Goods