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 1,137 comments)

techman707 on September 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm

This was “VERY STICKY” the night it happened. An operator at the Lynbrook stripped a gear on the intermittent of one of their Norelco AAII Todd/AO projectors (greatest projectors ever made) during the run of “Doctor Zhivago” and as a favor I ran into Manhattan to Norelco on 42nd Street to get the part. Although I got back in time, that evening’s show had to be cancelled. It wasn’t installed by Joe Kelly (the projection star of United Artists Theatres projection department), but by one of the Altec “service Engineers” they also contracted with. If you ever saw the size and strength of those gears, you would wonder how it could get stripped. According to the operator, they were using those Mylar tear-proof type leaders that aren’t supposed to break on startup….and it didn’t, it nearly pulled the projector over. Whether then or now, you would be BETTER OFF with a film break than what the alternative is. Of course with nothing more than a hard drive to store a movie, there’s no such thing as a “film break”. There’s also NO SUCH THING AS 70mm with digital projection. It makes me sad to think of what today’s generation is missing. Not only the spectacular theatres of the day, but, 70mm Roadshow type presentation. Witness how they’re now going to disgrace the memory of “Gone With The Wind” with digital showings. They that digital hard drive copy on the screen at Radio City Music Hall and let me know how it compares with film?

patryan6019 on September 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

bigjoe59…I’m going to disturb your comfort zone. I have most souvenir programs from the 50s thru the 70s. On 9/2 you wrote"I don’t wish to sound vain in my knowledge of roadshow souvenir programs but I am confident that Hawaii was the last such film to have a hardcover one". Sitting nearby as I type this is my hardcover program of The Lion in Winter. More importantly, on 9/1 you wrote “Hey I’m not 19 anymore either but I pride myself on being say 98% correct in my recollections” followed by the often repeated “the big roadshow films of the 1955-1972 period”. That is incorrect and no one has pointed that out to you (how can they all not know) until now. The final roadshow release is Last Tango in Paris, New York opening Feb 1,1973 (Didn’t you see it on the Michael Coate DC list on 8/6?). But this was just the beginning of the end of the era. From my own research on roadshows Tango took 13 months to open in all 50 states and DC plus the 5 largest provinces and Ottawa in Canada (A total of 56 of 57 first openings; I haven’t as yet found Alabama, which may push the true end further into 1974). The openings are as follows (in descending amount per month)— 23 in May, 9 Apr, 5 Aug, 4 both June and July, 3 Sept, 2 both Oct and Nov and 1 in Feb, Mar, Dec and the final (until I find Alabama) Feb 1974 in Alberta. bigjoe59, I hope you accept my information as helpful as I have much more that you and others may want. Just ask.

AlAlvarez on September 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Thank you for that, patryan6019. The elimination of X-rated films from historical context is one of my pet peeves. As is the elimination of THE BIRTH OF A NATION and DEEP THROAT from all-time top grossing films. It all seems like cleansing of things that the new researchers find distasteful.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 13, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Just my curiosity here… Was the roll out of Tango intentional? Or was its slow penetration (if you’ll forgive the expression) into smaller markets a matter of the controversial explicitness off the film? And was the New York engagement (and any others that followed) on a hard ticket basis?

AlAlvarez on September 13, 2014 at 4:08 pm

“Hard” ticket (if you’ll forgive the expression), was definitely the case in Miami.

I got in under-age by having my older brother buy my ticket in advance. Although the usherette did ask me for ID, she walked away when I asked her for hers. I think she was younger than I was.

As for the slow release, (if you’ll forgive…)I think it was Oscar driven.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 13, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Next version of CT website software must include a “like” button! Thanks AlAlvarez, as usual.

patryan6019 on September 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Ed Solero…To clarify for you the roadshow database that I created, the number for each month is only for the first opening in each state, province and capital city which 99% of the time is the largest city. The roll out was intentional, the whole point of a roadshow right up to the end. The 13 months for Tango was about average,some are longer (80 Days took 23 months). It had nothing to do with its x rating. It was UA’s last roadshow with La Mancha just ahead of it and Fiddler a year before that rolling out the same way. Reserved seats are what made it a roadshow

bigjoe59 on September 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hello to patryan6019-

as I said I was 98% accurate in my memory so I
don’t mind you adding new info. to which two new

*the souvenir program I bought at The Lion In Winter was the traditional one with staples in the spine. I bought it at the film’s premiere roadshow run at the Lincoln Art Theater on 57th Street. I never knew it had a hardcover edition as well.at what theater did you by yours?

*also while its not perfect I find Kim Holston’s book “Movie Roadshows” fascinating since its the only book I have ever come across on the subject. now during the silent era the author lists 85 feature films as having opened on roadshow runs
in Manhattan. now whether I own them or have read about them i know of only five souvenir programs- The Birth of A Nation, The Big Parade, Ben-Hur, Don Juan and The King of Kings. i can’t believe of the 85 films Holston lists only 5 had souvenir programs. what’s your best guess at finding out which of the other 80 films had souvenir programs?

patryan6019 on September 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

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 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm

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.

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