Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 7th Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Loew's Inc., RKO, Walter Reade Theatres

Architects: Thomas White Lamb, William H. McElfatrick

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Columbia Theatre, RKO Mayfair Theatre, Loew's Mayfair Theatre, Brandt's Mayfair Theatre, DeMille Theatre, Mark I,II,III Theatre, Embassy 2,3,4 Theatre

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News About This Theater

Embassy Tri-plex Theatre

Originally opened on January 10th, 1910 as the Columbia Theatre on Times Square at the northeast corner of W. 47th Street and Broadway/7th Avenue inside a steel frame 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. In 1935 it was taken over by Loew’s Inc. on a 10-years lease. 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).

On November 24, 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 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, which happened on December 31, 1998.

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 and the building was demolished in spring of 2015.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 1,072 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 18, 2020 at 6:21 am

You can see the elusive Mark Triplex marquee about 21 seconds into this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0Whm9gNtzI

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 18, 2020 at 9:51 am

Al, let me also say thanks, without any hint of sarcasm at all, for posting that vid! I enjoyed seeing the glimpses of Times Square marquees and even the sledding in Central Park! Judging by the movie titles displayed and the sandwich board outside the one shop proclaiming “363 days to Christmas” the date would be December 28, 1976. No need to thank me, hdtv267, for my incredible detective work. And I guess “In Search of Noah’s Ark” was a hot ticket to occupy two screens at the Mark that holiday season!

MSC77
MSC77 on July 2, 2021 at 7:53 am

Fifty years ago today, “Shaft” opened at the DeMille (and day-and-date at 72nd Street Playhouse). A benefit premiere was reportedly held three days prior.

Despite what you may have read elsewhere, New York (and Los Angeles) were not the first markets in which “Shaft” played. For fans of the film and/or those interested in historical playdate details, here’s the link to my latest film history column which includes the film’s first-run bookings chronology and historian Q&A.

grindhouse
grindhouse on July 2, 2021 at 11:03 am

Terrific article MSC77 thanks. I never like how some films are placed firmly in the Blaxploitation genre. Blaxploitation is automatically thought of as low budget, B or less movies, making them seem less than. I never considered “Shaft” in that category and I’ll add “Blacula” to that list. Yes, they are low budget but they are really really good films and wildly entertaining. “Shaft” has great work from Gordan Parks, Richard Roundtree and Issac Hayes earning his Oscar. While “Blacula” had laughs, camp, the amazing William Marshall and at times is genuinely creepy. Of course both were successful enough to earn sequels.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 2, 2021 at 3:16 pm

Hello-

to Al A. thanks for posting the video link. I’ve tried typing it 3 times but zippo. to which I accept there is visual proof that Mark 1-2-3 was actually ob the marquee. though it must have been for a relatively short period since as I have said I’ve been a regular patron at the TKTS booth since the day it opened and don’t remember it.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 2, 2021 at 3:54 pm

bigjoe, try cutting and pasting link. It is still active.

Astyanax
Astyanax on July 2, 2021 at 6:48 pm

How did the 72nd St. Playhouse, an outlier venue between the Bloomingdale’s belt and the East 86th St. strip get to day & date the DeMille? No one expected Shaft to be a smash but did this AIT house see a surge in business during this run?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 2, 2021 at 7:11 pm

Probably the only Upper East Side outlet available for MGM by then.

grindhouse
grindhouse on July 2, 2021 at 8:15 pm

The 72nd Street Playhouse day and dated with a few Broadway houses including The Capitol with “The Planet Of The Apes”.

72nd St Playhouse

ridethectrain
ridethectrain on July 4, 2021 at 8:24 am

Plase update, when it became a triplex on November 24, 1976, Embassy 2 seating was 540 and Embassy 3 and 4 was 300. Theatre closed December 31, 1998

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