Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 251 - 275 of 1,094 comments

techman707 on August 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I know Elson used the “Embassy” tag on the 46th Street Newsreel Theatre, but I wasn’t aware that the Guild 50th (on the side of Radio City) ever carried the Embassy name. When would that have been?

AlAlvarez on August 10, 2011 at 8:32 am

Techman, it was advertised as the Embassy Guild and Embassy Guild Newsreel in 1950/1951 even when showing feature films.

I think Ed is correct and Norman Elson took over the Embassy (46th St) and Guild AFTER leaving Trans-Lux.

techman707 on August 10, 2011 at 7:42 am

Al, When was the Guild 50th referred to as the “Embassy Guild”? It became the Guild when Elson took it over (I guess 1949), but, when was the Embassy name used?

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 10, 2011 at 7:35 am

I’ve been perusing some old articles to try and piece it together and my statement that Trans-Lux had taken over the Guild Theatre may have been based on a misunderstanding. I found at least one reference that says the theater was acquired by “Normal W Elson, president of Trans-Lux Corporation.” Seeing something like that may have lead me believe that the corporation had bought the theater, when in fact it was likely that Norman purchased the theater himslef and was merely identified by his position with Trans-Lux.

I don’t know the complete history between Trans-Lux, the Elson’s, or Guild Enterprises (or the Brandt Organization for that matter), but its probably safe to assume that Elson left Trans-Lux to form his own theater chain in 1949 and that the acquisition of the Guild was the first building block of that new enterprise.

My apologies for any confusion on that matter and I welcome further clarification from those more familiar with the historical facts. For instance, the Embassy name seems to date back to some of the earliest newsreel theaters around the city; was this an existing chain that Elson acquired when he formed Guild Enterprises, or did he acquire these theaters piecemeal?

RobertEndres on August 10, 2011 at 7:16 am

Ed-Al: Thanks for the information. I didn’t know that Norman Elson had come from Trans-Lux. Now — where to the Brandts fit into Trans-Lux? I worked as a relief projectionist at the New York Experience multi-media show and was around when the South Street Seaport multi-media show opened, both operated as Trans-lux theatres under Richard Brandt. This is such an incestuous business!

AlAlvarez on August 10, 2011 at 6:59 am

I think the 50th street location switched to the Guild name when it started showing features in the late forties, early fifties, sometimes advertising as the Embassy Guild. Prior to that it was indeed the Embassy Newsreel.

techman707 on August 10, 2011 at 6:58 am

I don’t think the Guild 50th ever operated under the Embassy name (despite Peter Elson’s desire to tag everything with the name Embassy).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

We’re talking about the Guild 50th Street, Tinseltoes, which was acquired by Trans-Lux when Norman Elson was president. I know at some point Elson left Trans-Lux to run Guild Enterprises with his son Peter, and operated a string of theaters under the Embassy banner, including the Embassy Newsreel in Times Square. I assume they acquired the Guild from Trans-Lux – we were just trying to ascertain if the Guild ever operated with the Embassy name on the marquee.

Tinseltoes on August 10, 2011 at 5:45 am

Trans-Lux never operated the Embassy Theatre, either with a newsreel policy or conventional fare.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I think the Guild may have at one time been known as Embassy Newsreel Theatre, probably when Trans-Lux Corporation took it over in the late ‘40’s.

RobertEndres on August 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

Al, Thank you. I worked both Embassy 1 and 2,3,4 (1,2,3) but didn’t realize that Embassy 1 (now a New York Visitor’s Center) had closed before the triplex. Thanks for the explanation. As I recall, the Forum or the Victoria became Embassy 5 along the way as well.

AlAlvarez on August 9, 2011 at 11:29 am

Robert, since the Embassy 1 closed before this did, its last name was Embassy 1, 2, 3.

RobertEndres on August 9, 2011 at 10:29 am

The name “Mark” did exist on the marquee after it was triplexed. (It could have been the name of a relative of one of the owners who triplexed the theatres.) I spent time there while it was being triplexed to become a porn theatre as detailed above, and the name was on the marquee in between the time it was triplexed and Peter Elson took it over. Since they had intended to run porn,they even had a professional 16mm theatre projector in the booth, which may have run at least one re-run feature after the city told them they couldn’t run porn. Peter had a habit of changing the name of all of his theatres to “Embassy”. I think the only exception was the Guild behind the Music Hall.

By the way, I always have trouble finding this theatre on C.T. because it’s listed as “Embassy 1,2,3” when it should be “Embassy 2,3,4” as shown in the photo above.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on August 9, 2011 at 10:07 am

Joe, since asking for the photos in a haiku or free-form peom didn’t work, how about using a limerick?

There once was a theater called Mark

Played movies until it went dark

So where are the pics

To prove that this flicks

Existed, and not just a lark?

techman707 on August 9, 2011 at 9:49 am

Big joe59, I haven’t been able to find it. I have so many different computers and hard drives that I don’t think I’ll ever find it. Maybe someone else who has a picture will post it. But you can rest assured that it WAS called the Mark at one point.

I can’t answer your last question because I don’t remember what the “last” picture was. I know that right up until the fire, the sign was in VERY poor shape and had NOT been used in a number of years. I think it’s first use after the fire was for “Panasonic”.

bigjoe59 on August 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

to techman707- just wanted to say Hello and hope that

           some day real soon you will find a 
                           photo of the triplexed "DeMille" with
                           Mark 1/2/3 actually on the marquee. as
                           i said i often went there after the
                           tri-plexing and never remember seeing
                           it on the marquee. 
                           one new question. for the past several
                           years the huge sign that wraps around
                           the building has advertised Broadway
                           shows. now what was the last film to 
                           play the "DeMille" that used the
                           wrap around sign? 
techman707 on June 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm

If the door was open or you can pick locks you can probably go into the office building and go up to the fifth floor. There’s a door there that goes into the electrical room for the theatre marquee & sign electrics and if you walk through to the door on the other side you will come out at the TOP of the balcony (the booth is another flight up, but if they didn’t put doors there you can’t get to the booth staicase.

If I wasn’t so sick I would think of opening it as a GREAT IMAX Theatre. The balcony is PERFECT for one.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Scorpionfury… a recent comment here posted a link to a photo of the ceiling in the gift shop, which is a remnant of the old Demille Theatre (not sure if it dates back to the Columbia). I’ve also read that, while much of the theater’s interior was gutted, some of the auditorium decor remains in the dining area of the Famous Dave’s BBQ, around the corner on West 47th Street.

Scorpionfury on June 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

Found this tidbit: “One of the most "upscale” burlesque houses, the Columbia Theatre in New York City, reserved its front row for politicians and other well-connected patrons, who paid $1.50 a seat—a higher ticket price than at most big-time vaudeville theaters."

Obviously before it was remodeled into a movie house for RKO

Scorpionfury on June 28, 2011 at 10:59 am

I moved to NYC in 2006 and this place had not yet become the “Phantom of Broadway” giftshop, but was still boarded up with a ‘theatre space for lease’ sign hung on the old marquee. In 2008 when the gift shop opened I was there opening day because the “theatre space” that had been boarded up intrigued me. Sadly, the only thing I saw from the original (and this may even be from when it was an actual vaudeville theatre) arched foyer ceiling…painted a beautiful Cerulean Blue with silver stars. The chandelier I’m sure hung there was long gone. I took a picture but can’t find it to post it. ANyone else seen this? Know anything about it? From what the shop owner knew, the main theatre was still intact and the gift shop was just using what had been the lobby. It’d sure be neat to see the inside.

techman707 on June 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm


Sorry, I haven’t found the picture, but you can take my word and everyone elses here that’s aware of it that it certainly existed. It could just be a case of bad timing and you might have just missed seeing it.

I’m sure that either I’ll find the picture or someone else will eventually post one.

bigjoe59 on June 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Hello to Techman707-

i was wondering if you’ve located a photo of the front of the theater when Mark1/2/3 was actually on the marquee yet. as said i went to the theater often enough after it was tri-plexed so i should have come across Mark ½/3 on the marquee on at least one or two occasions. but i simply don’t recollect it. hopefully you have found a photo.

AGRoura on June 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

When Diabolique opened in Washington DC at The Playhouse in 54 or 55, no one was admitted after the film had started and customers had to sign an “agreement” that they would not reveal the ending.

AlAlvarez on June 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm

<Tinseltoes on June 16, 2011 at 7:08 am

Fifty-one years ago today, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” opened its NYC premiere engagement at the DeMille and the Baronet on the East Side, both then under Walter Reade management. The booking is still remembered for its innovative “No one admitted after the start of a performance” policy.>

Actually “All About Eve” had used the same gimmmick ten years before “Psycho” and had to abandon it after one week when audiences refused to show up on time.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on June 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Coate and Techman707… I miss the “preview” option as well, but I have read comments elsewhere from Ross or Patrick that they are working on restoring the “preview” feature in the near future. So this is merely a temporary inconvenience.