Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Showing 101 - 125 of 1,135 comments

techman707
techman707 on March 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Ed, As usual, you’re right on the money. It was JUST A MATTER OF LUCK that the Wonder Theatres are still there. When I worked at the RKO Alden, across the street from Loew’s Valencia (my personal favorite Wonder Theatre) I never thought that “The Tabernacle Of Prayer” would be the one to “save” the Valencia….I am really surprised at how well they have maintained it.

While not a Wonder Theatre, I only wish they could have saved Loew’s Triboro.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I’ve commented before that theater preservation under the NYC LPC (after the Marriot Marquis demolitions) has always been all about the legit houses, without any regard to any of the premiere movie houses in the Times Square area. The rich history of motion picture exhibition in this town, and the important architectural wonders in which that history took place, were completely ignored by the LPC. Not a single house on Broadway or Seventh Avenue survives – with the lone exception of the Embassy newsreel theater.

I know that many of the cinemas were shorn of much their original interior design with the wholesale streamlining and updating that occurred during the dawn of the widescreen roadshow era, but seems to me that enough beauty remained in the Rivoli, Loew’s State, Strand, DeMille, and Forum to warrant serious consideration. I suppose we should be thankful for the conversion of the Hollywood, Broadway, and Globe Theatres to legitimate use – surely those transitions played a part in the preservation of those buildings.

It is nothing short of miraculous, that all four of the original Loew’s Wonder Theaters, situated within NYC limits, are still standing and open (or soon to be open) to the public. And that number five is still alive and surviving as an actual movie palace, across the Hudson in Jersey City!

techman707
techman707 on March 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Mike (saps, I agree, that is probably the WORST picture to depict this theatre….unless you just want to show how low things became in NY.

Bob Endres, You’re right it belongs on the Music Hall page. The Roxy (Radio City Roxy, not the Seventh Ave, Taft Hotel Roxy-probably even sadder.), later called Centre, etc., was a 3,400 seat beauty. The remark “Well two out of three isn’t bad!” just makes me feel even madder! Compared to MANY other cities around the country, they just have NO RESPECT for theatres in NY City and even LESS RESPECT for movie theatres.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm

I really don’t love the photo above, and wonder how it could have over 20,000 views…!

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

technman707This really belongs on the Music Hall page, but in response to your last comment: I was asked by the comptroller of Radio City to take a look at a theatre in the Bronx that was asking Rockefeller help in establishing a dance company. We rode up on the subway with the Rock Center lawyer and he was talking about the public hearing for Radio City. Some woman in the audience said, “You destroyed the Roxy and you destroyed the Center Theatre and now you want to destroy the Hall.” To which he replied, “Well two out of three isn’t bad!”

techman707
techman707 on March 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm

RobertEndres,

The ONLY reason the building is still there is from that “last minute” burst of action you refer to. Just remember what happened to the RKO Center (Rockefeller Center “ROXY”), which to date, is the ONLY building in the complex to be torn down. It was a SAD DAY.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Actually,the marquee was put up for the Mark I-II-III incarnation. When they triplexed the theatre, they also chopped up the lobby to add storefronts. The entrance under the marquee led directly to the downstairs house, and to the right was the staircase leading up to the upper lobby and the two upstairs screens. The rest of what had been a lavish lobby was cut off from the theatre by the stores.The marquee for the DeMille was removed and that small triangular marquee replaced it.

I think the porn people did the triplexing and added the storefronts. I met the contractor a few times and think he had also done work for the operators in other houses they had.

techman707: there was a great deal of attention to the Radio City situation. I had just come back from vacation to pick up the Daily News the next morning and see the huge headline that Radio City was closing. Later that day Alton Marshall the president of Rockefeller Center called all of us to a meetin in the large rehearsal hall to tell us about the closure. The Rockettes made headlines by picketing out in front of the theatre in costume in January. There were also public meetings to protest the closure. Today the Rockettes are largely given credit for saving the Hall, although a friend of mine who was a vice president at the Hall had lunch with Marshall a few years later and was told that they really didn’t want to close the Hall, but had to shake loose from the movie/stage show policy. A deal was made with the state to help save the Hall and it was announced from the stage on what was to be the closing night that it would be saved.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm

to Robert E.–

thanks for the info. if I understand your reply correctly the name Mark I-II-III was on the marquee briefly. it must have been really brief with a capital B since as I said I never remember that name being on the marquee.

another question. was the tri-plexing of the theater done by the people who wanted it has an adult house or was it done by an independent contractor and then the lease snatched up by the
porn people? which of course never came to pass.

techman707
techman707 on March 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm

bigjoe59,

Besides the old Newsreel Theatre, Peter Elson (or maybe it was his dad) also had a thing for the “Guild” name. I guess because of the little Guild 50th Theatre he operated, which was a “side hole” to the Music Hall-LOL The Guild 50th used to get the overflow during Radio City’s Xmas show from the people waiting online that didn’t make into the Music Hall after waiting nearly 2 hours. The Guild 50TH usually ran Disney Pictures around Xmas….just like the Music Hall did for many times for Xmas.

They make a big deal over Radio City TODAY, however, at one point when some Japanese Group owned it not that long ago, demolition seemed A REAL POSSIBILITY! I don’t recall ANY groundswell of protection and not as word from the Landmarks & Preservation Commission.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 20, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Bigjoe59: Mark I-II-II did appear on the marquee very briefly before Peter Elson took over. I can’t remember the name of the operators, but I was told they had some other porn houses in the city. When Peter took over he changed the name to Embassy I-II-II. He had a thing for calling his theatres “Embassy” after the original one (now a city tourist center)which he also operated.

techman707
techman707 on March 20, 2014 at 12:07 am

bigjoe59,

Many of these properties have an intrinsic value that can’t be judged based on standard values used for plain old real estate. That was purportedly the reason that the LANDMARKS & PRESERVASTION COMMISSION WAS CREATED!

The Rivoli is (was) a perfect example of a free standing GEM!!! If that wasn’t worthy of being “landmarked” than WHAT IS?

I know that nothing will ever change, however, I can at least express my DISGUST with the system….even if it’s only here. There’s really nothing left to fight for, since the damage has already been done and in reality, THEY ARE ALL GONE.

If anyone is interested, there is still a theatre in Queens, that although deteriorating, The RKO KEITH’S, FLUSHING, is one of only a handful of “atmospheric theatres” that still exist in the U.S. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the title of “atmospheric theatre”, it’s a theatre that gave the illusion that you were sitting outside while watching the movie. It did this by using twinkling stars and a cloud machine that slowly moved changing cloud shapes across the blue background ceiling. IT WORKED REALLY WELL. You can see what’s going on with the fight to save this theatre here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/220242754654213/

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 19, 2014 at 8:31 pm

to texhman707-

like you I miss the great old movie theaters of the Times Square Area. fortunately the Capitol was never twinned like the Rivoli of triplexed like the Demille. as much as these theaters were loved by movie buffs isn’t the primary reason for their demolition is they were economically unviable as a single screen movie theater. for instance the Roxy’s huge size was great for 1927 but by the spring of 1960 said size was its own worst enemy.

techman707
techman707 on March 19, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Ed, Just ANOTHER SAD DAY in the history of New York’s Movie Palaces. I’m still mourning Loew’s Capatol, Strand and the Rivoli. These were TRUE landmarks and should have been preserved. But then again, I miss the Automat.-LOL

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on March 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

I walk by this building every day, on my way to the office. It is completely covered in scaffolding and dark mesh construction netting, so, impossible to really see what is going on, but from what can be viewed through the peepholes and gaps in the street level shedding, they are stripping all vestiges of ornamentation from the facade. I presume this is in preparation for the dismantling of the building, as I also presume that the any remaining architectural detail within the structure is being carted away as rubble.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 18, 2014 at 10:20 pm

to Al A.–

thank you for your thoughts on the book “Movie Roadshows” by Kim Rolston. would you happen to know if “Roadshow: The Fall of Musicals in the 1960s” by Matthew Kennedy is better researched and more accurate than “Film Roadshows”?

i am writing to you on this page because i can’t seem to find the page for the 58th St. off of Lexington Fine Arts.what does one type in the search box?

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 18, 2014 at 9:08 pm

hello to Robert E.–

thanks again for your reply. now I apologize for asking this question since I asked it on this board sometime ago. was Mark I, II and III ever actually on the marquee? as I said I have been using the TKTS booth since the day it opened and never remember the marquee ever having that name.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 18, 2014 at 6:25 pm

It was an “almost” adult theatre when it was the Mark I, II, III. Because of the city’s restrictions it never did actually run porn.That was when the contractor added the runway into the house which was taken out before it was ever used. It was after Clark, whom techman707 refers to, and before Elson. It was also when they added the two screens in the balcony. Since porn was primarily 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the space between the two balcony screens used as a light path for the second projector to shoot to the screen was pretty narrow. I remember standing on the stage with the man doing the projection work, and walking across looking up at the balcony to see how far we could go before the projection port was cut off by the walls of the two upstairs screens. They could get a pretty reasonable 1.85:1 image but that was about it. Later Elson ran a 70mm print, but alas the big 70mm roadshow image was constricted to the 1.85 size by the upper walls. I would say the planned adult theatre would have been around 1976. They actually used a 16mm projector which would have shown porn, as a feature projector in one of the upstairs screens when it was the Mark,although by the time I worked there in the Elson years all three of the Cinemeccanica Vic X’s were back in use.

techman707
techman707 on March 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm

bigjoe59,

Robert E is correct, there was NO REAL BACKSTAGE and NO Dressing Rooms. I worked at the DeMille until the fire and then went back for a short time when this guy Clark, who owned a theatre on 42nd ST operated it before Elson. I think the film that we re-opened with was “Once Is Not Enough”, however, it wasn’t exclusive and he soon failed.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 18, 2014 at 3:01 pm

to Robert E.–

thanks for the info about the former Columbia/Mayfair/ Demille’s almost life as an adult theater. now exactly when was it almost an adult theater? I have been using the TKTS both since it opened June 1973 so when i’m online I am looking right at the theater and never remember any signage of any kind that an adult theater was coming. if I understand the info correctly its almost life as an adult theater existed solely in the negotiation stage that never came to pass. I never remember it being anything than a mainstream movie house.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on March 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm

The house was completly remodeled after it’s run as a burlesque house and didn’t really have a stage or fly space. I was there when it was being triplexed and it was planned to do xxx movies with strippers in the downstairs house. The contractor built a small stage with a runway into the house as well as added dressing room space for the strippers, but it wouldn’t have been large enough to do any kind of theatrical production. The city put a stop to the xxx policy on the grounds that there were already enough porn houses in the city, and the theatre reverted to showing movies.

stang119
stang119 on March 18, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Re: the article on this theatre Mar 8, 2014 — “Remnants of Times Square’s Loew’s Mayfair Theater” When I was young this was called The DeMille Theatre and I saw many a roadshow film here. I never could figure out why it was just abandoned as a theatre. I’m assuming that since it was once a vaudeville house that it could be renovated into a legit Broadway theatre, If Disney could do it for the New Amsterdam then why not this house too?

rasLXR
rasLXR on March 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

bigoe59 Try looking here there’s lots of info re road show screenings etc.

http://www.in70mm.com/

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm

to Ed S.–

you have been most helpful in the past. so here goes. how is the late but great Fine Arts Theater on 58th St. off of Lexington Ave. listed on this site? if you type in Fine Arts all you get it the Paris opposite the Plaza Hotel.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 18, 2013 at 6:21 pm

to Ed S.–

i think pc is haunted,either that or i need new glasses. yesterday when i looked i did not see a Astor Theater listing for New York, New York. but there it is today. no one’s perfect. :–)

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on November 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm

to Ed S.–

as always I thank you for your reply. I was always under the impression that Ben-Hur opened at the Astor. so the fact it opened at the Cohan is a perfect reason for The Big Parade’s quite long run at the Astor.

to answer your question. since we have communicated a great deal on this page that’s why I posted my question on this page. also under what name is the Astor listed. if you type in Astor Theater in the subject search box office on the home page the theater which existed at the nw corner of Bway & 44 St. does not show up.