On this Day in Movie History, November 2, 1929: William Fox Opens First Newsreel Theatre With All Female Staff

On this day, November 2, 1929, William Fox purchased a former Broadway theater called the Embassy. He changed the format from a $2 show twice a day to a continuous 25 cent program establishing the first newsreel theater in the USA.

When the Embassy Theatre, 1560 Broadway, between 46th and 47th Streets in New York City, which holds the distinction of being the first, and only movie theater in the U.S. to have had an all-female management and staff (1925) changed to a Newsreel Theatre, Fox maintained this all female staff. The idea was such a success that Fox and his backers announced they would start a chain of newsreel theaters across the USA. The newsreels were often accompanied by cartoons or short subjects.

Said the heiress Gloria Gould, who managed the Embassy, “I believe women are more reliable, and I shall employ only women in the Embassy Theater,” According to this account, “The ushers were planned to be young ladies in ballet costumes.” But then Gloria bailed on the project in 1925, hopping on a steamer bound for France. Said the heiress, “I could not afford to live in New York any more even if I wanted to.”

In 1987, the Embassy Theatre was designated as a city landmark, and in 1998 it became Times Square’s Visitor Center.

1913 – Burt Lancaster (Academy Award-winning actor: Elmer Gantry, [1960]; Trapeze, From Here to Eternity, The Bird Man of Alcatraz, The Unforgiven, Atlantic City, Local Hero, Field of Dreams, The Phantom of the Opera, The Rainmaker, The Rose Tattoo, Scorpio, Tough Guys, Airport, Come Back Little Sheba, Gunfight at the OK Corral, Judgment at Nuremberg; circus acrobat; died Oct 20, 1994)

1917 – Ann Rutherford (actress: Andy Hardy series, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Gone with the Wind; TV panelist: Leave It to the Girls; died Jun 11, 2012))

1942 – Stefanie Powers (Stefania Zofia Federkiewcz) (actress: Hart to Hart, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Feather and Father Gang, McClintock!, Die! Die! My Darling, Herbie Rides Again, The Interns)

1966 – David Schwimmer (actor: Friends, The Wonder Years, Breast Men, Band of Brothers)


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