Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Embassy Tri-plex Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened on January 10th, 1910 as the Columbia Theatre at the northeast corner of 47th Street and Broadway inside an office building. It operated as a burlesque theatre and was designed by noted theatre architect William McElfatrick.

Walter Reade bought the theatre in 1928 and rebuilt it into a movie theatre. A major renovation was undertaken by architect Thomas W. Lamb who removed the two original balconies and place a single balcony in an Art Deco style auditorium. It reopened in October 1930 as the Mayfair Theatre, screening movies, with RKO as the operator. By 1950, it had been taken over by the Brandt Theatres chain.

The name was changed to the DeMille Theatre when road-show, reserved-seat movies were popular during the early-1960’s. World Premiere’s of 70mm movies at the DeMille Theatre included “Spartacus” (October 6th 1960) “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (March 26, 1964) and “Hawaii” (October 10, 1966).

In late-1976, the theatre became the Mark I,II,III. The triplexing was crudely done by putting a wall dividing the balcony down the center, creating a a very narrow tube that inclined upward. One entered near the screen and had to climb very steep steps to reach the seating area.

It became the Embassy 2,3,4 Theatre in December 1977 when Guild Enterprises took it over. (The Embassy 1 Theatre was on Broadway at W. 46th Street, almost adjacent to the Palace Theatre). In 1997, after the Embassy 1 was closed for conversion into the Times Square Visitor Center, this theatre was renamed Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre. The Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre was one of the last Times Square movie houses to close.

It was shuttered for several years, until around 2007, when it was virtually gutted and converted into a Famous Dave’s BBQ Restaurant. This had closed by May 2013.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 992 comments)

patryan6019 on September 15, 2014 at 7:03 am

bigjoe59…WhenI saw Lion in 1969 I did not buy the program—soft cover—being sold at the theatre. In 1971 I wanted to correct that studidity and buy one.I was annoyed when a hard cover copy was air mailed from AVCO Embassy in NY. I should have inquired at that time who merited this version at the time of the original release. Does this mean other programs existed that way—maybe? probably? 45 years later could I have the only one that survives? If you could, tell me who published the soft cover. Ronark Program Co. NYC did the one I have. Also, do you have the program for Patton? I have no programs before the 50s so I have no personal knowledge of the silent era. But you might find the following interesting. A book published in 1977 is titled Souvenir Programs of Twelve Classic Movies 1927-1941 edited by Miles Kreuger. I don’t nave the book(only photocopies of parts of it)but in the foreward he wrote on Dec 2, 1975 he says “Although infrequently seen today, early souvenir programs…were issued for almost every major motion picture released from the mid-1920s until the paper shortage of World War Two…For the first half of this century, almost all souvenir programs for Broadway shows and later for Hollywood movies were priced at 25 cents…This is not film history being analyzed in retrospect. These are reproductions of the actual programs…”.

techman707 on September 16, 2014 at 8:14 am

Hey guys, I think that at this time a separate thread or section should be created on CT that just deals with “Motion Picture Souvenir Programs”. The only reason I bring this up now is because we’ve barely touched on this interesting subject and it has already become pretty long. With a separate thread it would be much easier for us to find what we’re looking for……just a suggestion. And while we’re on the subject of changes, the previous suggestion of a “like button” IS VERY IMPORTANT. However, I’d also like to add a “DISLIKE” button while we’re on the subject. If you’ve ever been on Facebook and wanted make your opinion known WITHOUT having to start typing a comment. Yet, your only choice is “LIKE” or select nothing and have to type a whole “COMMENT”, which as you know, can become quite long. Just as it will tell you “82 members also LIKED this ”, it could now tell you that “105 members also DISLIKED the story content”. Now you would have a better barometer of how the members REALLY feel! Just my opinion.

bigjoe59 on September 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Hello to All-

I don’t know how many of you subscribe to the page for the Astor but I have come upon a contradictory bit of info about the theater that I would like you thoughts on.

bigjoe59 on September 30, 2014 at 11:23 pm

to techman707-

you make a most interesting suggestion in that CT should have a page devoted just to souvenir programs. to which i have a question for you.

the prime roadshow period as i have stated was the October 1955 opening of “Oklahoma” to the Dec. 1972 opening of “Man of La Mancha”. now i didn’t go to every such film in that period but everyone i did go to had a souvenir program. so here’s my question- during this period the studios still opened their continuous performance films in 1 maybe 2 theaters in Manhattan. so of these films how do you think the studios decided which would have souvenir programs?

techman707 on October 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm

BigJoe, I don’t know the answer to your question, but you can be sure it was driven by money. I also know there were “official” souvenir programs that were planned along with a Roadshow release of a film and then there were/are “run of the mill” souvenir programs that were just licensed (by man different companies) for a fee. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

As techman707 says, souvenir programs were not limited to just “Roadshow” engagements. Programs (official, licensed, or otherwise) continued well into the 1980’s. I picked up many of these at the local multiplex, not just the big houses in Manhattan.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

My parents bought a souvenir program for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in 1980 in suburban New Jersey. Definitely not a roadshow.

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on October 2, 2014 at 12:48 am

I have a program for ‘Rocky III’, not even close to a roadshow

techman707 on October 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Jay Harvey, I have T-shirts, buttons and “programs” from “Rocky Four-The War”. I’m not sure anymore, but I think the buttons and programs were free and they only charged for the t-shirts. But that’s what I meant by other “licensed” materials. IMHO, I NEVER even considered ANY OF THIS the same as an “official roadshow program” that used to be sold during a Roadshow Engagement.

bigjoe59 on November 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Hello to All-

several months back I posted a question and I was wondering if anyone had any new info. the question was simple. April 25, 1896 was a pivotal point in movie history , it was the 1st time movies were projected on a screen in a theater before a paying audience. the theater being Koster Bail’s Music Hall at Bway & 34 St.. now whatever “movie theaters” existed in Manhattan in the first several years of the biz were music halls, vaudeville theaters, legitimate theaters or decent sized unused retail spaces simply converted to show “flickers”. so wouldn’t the 1st theater built brick by brick from the ground up as a “picture house” been made note of in the press at the time?

the first i was able to find was the Crescent which was located at 36 W. 135 St. and opened on the nite of Dec. 16 ,1909.

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