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 113 comments)

StanMalone on June 5, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Regarding Ed’s comment of 8/7/14: I was in this visitors center in 2006 when I was last in NYC. I was there to attend one of the classic series the Ziegfeld was running in those days. I could tell that this used to be a movie theatre because the one sheet frames were still in the entrance. The visitors center itself was i what I thought at the time was the old theatre lobby. However, I found out later that area was actually the auditorium itself, and if the seat count is correct even that must have been a tight fit. It was certainly not one of the movie palaces like the State or Rivoli.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm

StanMalone it was very small but comfortable theater. I saw All That Jazz there and one other film. They had great curtains that opened and closed during the previews and before the main feature .

DavidZornig on September 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Two photos added. 06/06/1944 photo copyright Howard Hollem. 1959 photo copyright Dave Gelinas.

DavidZornig on September 5, 2015 at 10:57 am

1964 photo added, photo credit National Geographic Magazine.

DavidZornig on October 19, 2015 at 11:38 am

1953 photo added, photo credit Samuel Gottscho.

DavidZornig on October 21, 2015 at 11:18 pm

1938 photo added courtesy of Al Ponte’s Time Machine – New York Facebook page.

Myron on December 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Sadly, the theatre was secretly closed. It had been restored as a Visitors Center and gift shop. It featured the actual New Year’s Ball. It is now closed and I believe it will be a McDonalds although the interior was landmarked. This should be looked into.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Myron, we here have known about its closing since Ed Solero’s post back on July 7, 2014, nearly 18 months ago…

vindanpar on December 21, 2015 at 5:07 pm

From what I remember of that time and I was so young and went to so few presentations as it was at the point when first run Times Square houses were turning to exploitation films was that roadshow movie houses along with Broadway theaters had female ushers.

Men in tuxedoes sold the souvenir programs. I remember this from when the Rivoli showed Fiddler and the Criterion showed MFL in ‘71.

And I only remember usherettes at legitimate theaters though now it is kind of hazy. Maybe somebody who was going to Broadway shows and roadshow movies during the 50s and 60s could clarify this.

RickB on February 28, 2016 at 8:28 am

Brief video of Broadway in late 1929, beginning with a shot of the Embassy Newsreel and proceeding up the street to the Strand. Go here <warning: autoplay audio>, click on “Sound”, find “Noise Abatement Commission” in the far right column toward the bottom and click there.

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