Pix Theater Newspaper Ad
Fifteen miles outside of Dectaur, IL is the small, rural town of Blue Mound. In the 1950’s it had a population of less than 1,000 and was the home of the Pix Theater. The Pix Theater was the hub of entertainment; a weekend theater where folks could see a movie with the change in their pocket.
This advertisement for The Pix Theater was found in the walls of a home near Decatur, IL during a renovation with a few other articles. While some argue that newspapers found in walls are used for insulation, others argue that these pieces are left intentionally to create a time capsule. This particular ad from an unknown newspaper gives us light into two different worlds in mass media: print culture and movie entertainment.
Three movies were featured in the March advertisement for The Pix Theater; The Outlaw’s Daughter, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and The Looters. While Ain’t Misbehavin’ was printed by Technicolor, The first movie featured in March of 1955 was photographed in in regular color. Ain’t Misbehavin’ was one of the last films to be photographed using a Technicolor three-strip camera. Due to the rising popularity of television, movie companies began finding new ways to intrigue their audiences. Along with Eastman Kodak releasing a 35mm color picture, the 3-D craze also begins to sweep across the U.S. Technicolor releases their own 3-D film using stereoscopic principals. It ends up becoming a huge failure for the company as only two films are ever produced using their device.
Rory Calhoun is featured in two of the three movies. It was common during the time for actors to sign contracts with particular studios to star in films. The contracts would cover a certain amount of films made. In Calhoun’s case, he had a contract with Universal International, (which would later become Universal Studios.) He would star in seven movies, ranging from musicals like Ain’t Misbehaving’ to dramas like The Looters, for Universal International from 1954 to 1956.
This advertisement does give some information in regards to print culture as well. This was the financially viable option for many small-town businesses to get their gain business. They knew it would get viewed as well. According to Journalism.org, in 1955, over 50,000,000 weekday newspapers were in circulation, not including the 40,000,000+ Sunday papers in circulation. It is highly probable that the rural town of Blue Mounds, IL would be receiving newspapers and see this advertisement.
It should be noted that the advertisement covers three weeks of upcoming shows in March of 1955. Taking a full-page advertisement would cost significantly more. Assuming their was cost and effort taken into creating the advertisement, it would be in a small, most-likely one show theater to advertise for upcoming weeks as well. Going to the movies was an event and The Pix Theater wanted to give it’s customers time to plan their trips.