Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Embassy Tri-plex Theatre

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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 1,089 comments)

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on June 30, 2014 at 9:51 pm

“CHEYENNE AUTUMN” opened on December 23, 1964 on a two shows a day (three on weekends) roadshow basis at the Capitol. It did run a NYT full page ad on October 4, 1964 announcing the holiday opening at the Loews Cinerama. This may possibly account for bigjoe’s Cinerama conundrum. It ran until February 23, 1965 when it was replaced by “LOVE HAS MANY FACES”, a wide release.

techman707
techman707 on June 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

“This may possibly account for bigjoe’s Cinerama conundrum.”

Now I’m beginning to become confused.-LOL “Loew’s Cinerama was just what they called the Capitol after they installed the three booths and Cinerama equipment. It not as though there was actually ANOTHER "real theatre” called “Loew’s Cinerama” in New York.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 1, 2014 at 4:23 am

Hey techman707… It is true that those latter day souvenir booklets were not made to accompany a two-a-day hard ticket engagement, but the booklets themselves were very much in the same style and content as those old, classic roadshow souvenirs. I know, because I actually have a pair of vintage booklets – one for “HOW THE WEST WAS WON” and the other for “IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD.”

The HTWWW booklet is distinct from others that I own, because it originally came in a hard cover (unfortunately, lost over the years by youthful neglect). Not sure how may other program booklets were that extravagant. Did they typically charge for the booklets during the Roadshow era? Or were they handed out, complimentary?

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 1, 2014 at 6:31 am

Techman707, you are correct, but the Capitol name was not changed back until later in the year so the early ads suggested a Cinerama presentation.

William
William on July 1, 2014 at 6:36 am

The Los Angeles Roadshow run of “Cheyenne Autumn” was also a short run. It ran only 8 weeks at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm

to Ed S.–

the prime roadshow era was from the Oct. 1955 opening of Oklahoma to the Dec. 1972 opening of Man of La Mancha after which the studios discontinued the policy. I have 137 souvenir programs in my collection. I have to admit a dozen or so of that number are not actual souvenir programs sold in the theater lobby but fancy brochures the studio released to publicize the film.

of the 125 souvenir programs in my collection
13 are hardcover.other than the hardcovers in my collection the only other one I know of is for Porgy and Bess which played the Warner.

of the 13 I own two are from films which opened when this theater was the Demille a prime roadshow house. namely Spartacus and Hawaii.

the other 11 are-

The Alamo Around the World in 80 Days Ben-Hur(1959) El Cid The Greatest Story Ever Told How The West Was Won King of Kings(1961) Mutiny on the Bounty(1962) My Fair Lady South Pacific The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm

a bit of info on just how elaborate these hardcover programs could get. both the Ben-Hur and Spartacus programs had a fold out with several watercolor paintings of scenes from the film. and to top that the King of Kings program included a sealed package of 8x10 color photo portraits of the main actors in the film.

techman707
techman707 on July 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Ed Solero,

I still have a few “vintage” booklets that weren’t damaged when I had a flood in my house in Florida a few years ago. Fortunately for me, my favorite (and probably the most valuable) ones were here in New York at the time. In addition, when I moved to Florida, Roadshow booklets were among many of the non-hardware things that were donated to the “Museum of the Moving Image”. I’m sorry that I donated so many things to only ONE PLACE. They misled me about how, when and the conditions under which many of the things (both hardware and manuscripts, etc.) would be displayed. I was VERY disappointed to say the least.

While I “did” have a souvenir program for Oklahoma, it too was ruined in the flood. I would guess the most valuable ones, at least to me, are The Sound Of Music, Around the World in 80 Days, My Fair Lady (given to me by Jack Warner, who was a friend of my father, when MFL opened at the Criterion, although my sister claims he gave it to her).

Although when I moved to Florida I got rid of my 35mm film collection, at the time of the flood I also discovered that I RUINED nearly half of my 16mm collection by not refrigerating them down in Florida(at least the Eastman prints). For all practical purposes, these were NEW Eastman prints that were now IN THE GARBAGE. Today, the only prints left are the Technicolor IB prints….and a few are VERY rare and valuable ones. I have replaced virtually ALL my films with Blu-ray discs that actually look (and sound) better than the 16mm prints they’re replacing on a 12foot wide scope screen using my JVC RS35 projector. At this point, I’m too sick to go downstairs into my film projection booth anyway. Now I have to determine who I’m going to donate the film to (which includes Technicolor scope print of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World). While I could have sold them, Some of the film preservationist groups will NEVER see Technicolor prints of some of these films ever again. One NEW PRINT (the print is new, but it was made in 1947 of a 1946 movie)“The Jolson Story” is a spectacular print. While they can make new Eastman prints, like the 70mm LG-blow-up Columbia made when “The Jolson Story” ran at the Ziegfeld, anyone familiar with Technicolor IB prints will tell you they CAN NEVER LOOK QUITE THE SAME OR AS GOOD AS THE REAL THING.

P.S. – Just came across another souvenir program for “PEPE”

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm

to techman 707-

the not sending out of messages noting someone has responded to a comment is happening again. I did not receive a note in my inbox that my entry on souvenir programs had been replied to by you..

techman707
techman707 on July 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm

bigjoe59,

You’re right, it’s working sporadically. I just received 5 emails. While they all show today’s date, with the exception of your post dated July 6th, the rest were from days ago that I already saw or responded to.

They must be having an intermittent (no pun intended) problem.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hello to my fellow posters-

there are a number of roadshow engagements that had souvenir programs but I do not have in my collection. hence my question. other than EBay does anyone know of a website that sells movie memorabilia? of the handful of sites selling movie memorabilia that I’ve seen the only programs listed are the ones I already have.

I recently read “Movie Roadshows” by Kim Rolston and I was amazed at the number of such films that had souvenir programs I have never come across. any help would be appreciated.

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