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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Ticket booth (J. Draeger photo, 1999)

Marquee and name pylon (J. Draeger photo, 1999)

Pix Theater
264 W Main Street, Waukesha, Waukesha County
Architect: Albert Keymar
Date of construction: 1939-1940

The Pix Theater was constructed as a second run cinema. Previously, the Park and the Avon theaters in Waukesha showed only first run movies. A second run movie house compensated for the relatively short run of most films, and provided a budget cinema venue. The construction of the Pix also coincided with the 1939 Supreme Court ruling that broke the movie studios' monopoly on the production, distribution, and exhibition of films. The ruling created new opportunities for independently owned and operated theaters, such as the Pix.

Reflecting both the economic austerity of the times and the popularity of the Art Moderne style, the building lacks the opulence of earlier movie palaces. The building¿s streamlined appearance is created using rounded corners, smooth wall surfaces and industrial finishes. The façade was clad with cream and green porcelain enamel panels and accented with stainless steel bands. The bold projecting pylon with the theater name and a simple marquee below provide the only decoration.

The air-conditioned Pix auditorium could seat 500 patrons. It was decorated with acoustical panels arranged in simple, geometric patterns. The rehabilitated interior reflects the period in its finishes and decoration, but has been changed significantly to accommodate its new use as a performing arts theater.

The building is open to the public for performances and other scheduled events.

This building is listed on the State Register only.

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