Pix Theatre

938 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102

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Additional Info

Architects: Vincent G. Raney

Previous Names: Newsvue Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Pix Theatre exterior

The Pix Theatre was a conversion of former retail space inside the much older Garfield Building. It opened on April 4, 1946 with Joe E. Brown in “Riding on Air” & Roy Rogers in “Border Legion”. From August 25, 1950 to 1955 it was re-named Newsvue Theatre, screening newsreels & shorts. It then went back to the Pix Theatre and was closed in December 1972 when it had been screening adult movies.

It was demolished, together with its near neighbors the Esquire Theatre & Telenews Theatre, and the site is now occupied by Hallidie Plaza and a below street level entrance to the Powell & Market BART station.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

scottfavareille on March 19, 2003 at 10:37 am

This was a Market Street theater next to the Esquire, located near the intersection of Powell & Market. It was primarily a theater that showed newsreels, in late 1960’s became an adult theater as Market Street declined. Closed around 1971(shortly before the Esquire did) and was torn down to make way for the Powell Street Bart Station & surrounding plaza.

Tillmany on November 29, 2003 at 11:49 pm

The Pix, which opened on April 4, 1946 at 938 Market Street,
on the ground floor of the much older Garfield Building,
was the first post-World War II film theatre to emerge,
and was so small it didn’t even issue tickets. You just walked
through a turnstyle which the cashier activated after you
paid for your admission. There was no lobby to speak of,
and the rest rooms, lounge & snack bar were all located downstairs.
Entering the auditorium, you found yourself on the center aisle,
with six seats on each side to choose from. Amazingly, when
wide screen presentation became a necessity in the mid-1950’s,
the Pix was able to accomodate its own miniature, but properly
proportioned version of CinemaScope in an acceptable manner.

The theatre had been converted from retail space by entrepreneur
Robert L. Lippert and, though small, boasted refrigerated
air conditioning, unique at the time, and rare still now,
in San Francisco, which prides referring to itself as
“The Air Conditioned City” but is often in need of just that
when the occasional hot spell arrives and stays for a few days.
For the humble admission price of fifty cents, a Pix patron could enjoy no less than “3 Action Hits,” 6 Color Cartoons, and actually cool off at the same time that bejewelled patrons of the non-air-conditioned Opera House up on Van Ness Avenue were roasting like ducks on a spit (and still are!)

On August 25, 1950 the Pix was renamed the Newsvue, and adopted
a policy of nothing but newsreels Monday thru Friday, and nothing
but cartoons (25) on Saturdays and Sundays. Apparently the novelty
soon wore off, the former grind policy resumed, and the name was
changed back to the Pix in March 1955. In the building upstairs, local street photographer Joseph Seele maintained his office,
and so passers-by often found themselves snapped by Seele
downstairs on Market Street, with the Pix Theatre in the background.

In the early 1970’s, all buildings in the block East of the Pix
were torn down in order to accomodate the Powell Street BART
(Bay Area Rapid Transit) station and surrounding plaza, as already noted by contributor Scott Favareille; however, in fact,
the Garfield Building and the Pix survived the wrecker’s ball,
and the Pix remained open until December 1972,
(yes, with “adult” films,) when it permanently closed
and was almost immediately converted back into retail space, occupied today by Radio Shack.

gsmurph on December 9, 2004 at 4:45 am

As noted by Tillmany, Pix’s status should be just “Closed.”

kencmcintyre on December 20, 2005 at 3:45 pm

From the SF Public Library:

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 9, 2009 at 7:29 pm

The March 30, 1946, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the architect of Robert Lippert’s new Pix Theatre on Market Street was Vincent G. Raney.

theatrebuff333 on June 13, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I remember the Pix (it was also known as the Newsvue) from the early 1950s when every now and then I would skip school and spend the day at the Pix or the Centre or the Guild. Admission was 25 cents in tjhe morning and increased at mid-day and evening. You’d see two or three features (depending on the theatre) and I alway thought I learned more at the movies than I would have at Roosevelt Jr. High. These were the good old days where a young boy could go to these grind=houses and not have to worry about being molested.
On Saturdays and Sundays the Pix ran 20 cartoons.

DavidZornig on September 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm

Circa 1967 photo added courtesy of Bob Ristelhueber.

Ztef on April 2, 2017 at 5:09 pm

I remember the pix well . My mother dropped me off there on Saturday s with a younger sibling . The cartoons were just 25 cents. I never forget her saying if someone bothers you go to the manager . I was only 6 years old with a frilly dress on . As soon as she left the someone came up an started touching my leg . I jumped up ban went. Only posted cause the one theatrebuff333 posted that a young boy didn’t have to worry about being molested. I did never forget maybe the cartoons were to attract them

rivest266 on August 6, 2018 at 8:34 am

Reopened as Newsvue on August 25th, 1950. Grand opening ad posted.

terrywade on August 26, 2018 at 8:40 am

As I walked by the former Pix Theatre on Market SF on Sat Aug 25 2018 we noticed both the long gone Radio Shack is gone on the right and now the Subway store on the left is now for lease. A wall divides up just the front part of the Pix B movie theatre. Some smart small theatre owner that wants to make some tourist money and have fun needs to put the Pix Theatre back in as best they can including the classic neon marquee. This former B movie cinema is only ½ block from the busy Powell St cable car and Bart trains. Thousands of tourists are here every day. There are no more single screen movie theatres left on Market ST in SF these days. Needs to be operated as a Grindhouse with 3 retro features showing around the clock. This means old trailers and cartoons ect. Turn It back to the good old days. The locals and tourists would love it. The help working at the New Pix can act out the glory days of the Grindhouse with their outfits and attitude. A great place for Tarantino to take It over. I am sure you can get a good lease with the owners of the building.

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