Embassy 1 Theatre

1560 Broadway,
New York, NY 10036

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Embassy Newsreel Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Embassy Theatre was opened by Loew’s Inc. on August 26, 1925 with Eric Von Stroheim’s “The Merry Widow”. Designed by famed theatre architect Thomas Lamb in a French Renaissance style, seating was provided for 556, all on a single floor. Decorative details were the work of the Rambusch Studio, and murals on the walls were by Arthur Crisp. The entrance on the east side of Broadway, Times Square, is a long narrow corridor, lined with polish wood panels. The concept of the Embassy Theatre was to provide movie entertainment to a refined audience, and initially when first opened almost all the staff were female. The Embassy Theatre was equipped with a Moller 3 manual, 15 ranks theatre organ, which remained in the theatre until around 1927.

In 1929 the Embassy Theatre was taken over by Guild Enterprises, and on November 1, 1929, it became the first movie theatre in the United States to operate as an all newsreel theatre, renamed Embassy Newsreel Theatre. In 1949 it became a first run movie theatre again. Later renamed Embassy 46th Street Theatre, and finally Embassy 1 Theatre (the nearby former Mayfair/DeMille Theatre had been renamed Embassy 2, 3, 4 Theatre).

In 1987, the interior of the Embassy 1 Theatre was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Embassy 1 Theatre was closed as a cinema in 1997. Renovations were carried out and it reopened in 1998 as the Times Square Visitors Center. Sadly this closed in June 2014.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 125 comments)

Tinseltoes on November 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

Yesterday (11/2) marked the 83rd anniversary of the grand opening of the Embassy as the first cinema in America to show sound newsreels exclusively. It was the brainchild of William Fox, with Fox Film Corporation as the Embassy’s new management. All of the many thousands of feet of film that were shot weekly for the Fox Movietone and Hearst Metronone newsreels would be available to the Embassy, which could cover major events in more detail than the “pruned” versions in the conventional theatrical newsreels. More about this can be found in an article in The New York Times of November 2nd, 1929, page 11.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 7, 2014 at 5:16 am

A little behind on posting this, but I walked by this theater (as I do every week day) about a week ago, and noticed signs outside stating that the Times Square Museum and Visitor Center is now “permanently closed.” The signs refer folks to a website for the Times Square Alliance, but there is no informatin there about the closure (except an echo of the message already on display in the outer vestibule).

Here’s a link to the Museum and Visitor Center page on that website.

I wonder what will now become of this restored little gem?

techman707 on July 7, 2014 at 10:19 am

“I wonder what will now become of this restored little gem?”

Probably the same thing that happen to ALL THE OTHER “Movie Theatre” landmarks….they get DEMOLISHED!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Maybe it has been landmarked…?

HowardBHaas on July 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

This is terrible news, but earlier today, I asked Ken Roe if he’d expand the Introduction above & include the landmarking (which includes the interior). Ken did expand it. I will guess it will become a retail store.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 8, 2014 at 3:39 am

One correction… The building is not boarded up. It is cordoned off, at the sidewalk, but you can still see into the outer and inner vestibules. One of the doors is always open, as this is a staging area for workers of the Times Square Alliance, who keep the area sidewalks clean and empty out the trash bins. There is also a sign that says the entrance is still open for access to offices at 1560 Broadway.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on July 8, 2014 at 3:42 am

This part of the block has been under scaffolding for some time (including the Palace Theatre entrance and the Doubletree Suites Hotel entrance on the corner of 47th), so it is difficult to get a good, representative photograph; but I will try to snap a shot in the next day or two, to update the gallery.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 8, 2014 at 4:10 am

Maybe the Nederlander Organization will purchase it and make a small theater.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on August 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

There are absolutely no stage facilities whatever, Mikeoaklandpark. And there’s barely any lobby space at all. I’ve uploaded a photo from last week. Alas, while Ken’s initial revision to the introduction above was a bit premature in saying the place had been boarded up, this is, in fact, what has since happened. A fresh barrier of plywood is now in place, covering the entire entrance right along the sidewalk.

robboehm on August 8, 2014 at 6:42 am

The most impressive thing about this theater was the entrance. I was surprised at the tiny and low ceilings auditorium. Once would hope the long entrance will be preserved in whatever the iteration of the building takes.

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