Embassy 1,2,3 Theatre

707 7th Avenue,
New York, NY 10036

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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).

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 and the building was demolished in spring of 2015.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 1,027 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 16, 2018 at 10:46 am

Thank you. I shall add the photo there as well.

HomecrestGuy
HomecrestGuy on December 25, 2018 at 8:25 am

Mayfair photo added to gallery, from the 1939-41 NYC Tax Photos collection.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on December 25, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Hello-

a question pertaining to the ad on photo pg.1 for the continuous performance engagement of Oklahoma. was the film shot with a Todd-AO camera side by side with a Cinemascope camera? or was the film shot once in Todd-AO and then reshot in Cinemascope?

PeterApruzzese
PeterApruzzese on December 26, 2018 at 6:34 am

Shot twice – IIRC, they would do the setup for the Todd-AO first, then do the CinemaScope take after.

robboehm
robboehm on December 26, 2018 at 7:04 am

The double shooting was something Frank Sinatra objected to on some other film. He maintained he was to be making two films and should be paid accordingly. Don’t remember the film he turned down or what the second process was.

davepring
davepring on December 26, 2018 at 7:27 am

The film was Carousel and the process was CinemaScope 55

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on December 27, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Hello-

in terms of davepring’s post. from a reliable source I read that the real reason Sinatra left the filming of Carousel was not because for the “if I’m shooting 2 films I want be paid twice” reason. it turns out his paramour at the time Ava Gardner was shooting in Europe and she sent him a note stating that if he didn’t get the set asap she would have an affair with her co-star.

vindanpar
vindanpar on March 14, 2019 at 11:59 am

Interesting. Thank you for Cinderella ad.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 15, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Hello-

I went to see Hawaii twice during its roadshow engagement and The Shoes of the Fisherman once during its roadshow engagement. my point being simple. when it was a prime roadshow I’m sure they kept it immaculate. but as I have said before in its last 2/3 years of its operation the men’s restroom on the orchestra level and the men’s room for the upper and lower balcony were in horrid condition. I’m surprised the theater was never closed down for being a public health hazard.

RobertEndres
RobertEndres on July 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm

It was Walter Reade’s prime house before the Ziegfeld opened. It went from 70mm roadshows to almost becoming a porno house when it was triplexed to becoming a Peter Elson grind house. I was in the booth on a visit when “Fisherman” was being shown there, then spent time in the booth during the tirplexing, and finally worked there during the last years. It is not surprising that the condition deteriorated it was a completely different operation. In between the roadshow years and the time it was triplexed there was a fire in the balcony that left damage that wasn’t cleaned out until the triplexing. There were still remnants of its glory days, but it had definitely gone down hill.

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