“Christmas time at the Embassy theatre is the time for hanging up stockings and the kiddies of Orange, East Orange, West Orange and other suburbs bring their stockings to the Embassy, where they are hung in the lobby.

[Richard R.] Reilly [manager] inaugurated his idea as early as November 26. On that day, at the Saturday matinee performance, he told the kiddies of the coming of Santa Claus to the Embassy and he emphasized the fact  the following Saturday. The children came and brought their stockings, which were left with ushers  who gave the children a number and took their names.

“The stockings were then hung in the lobby with the number of the child placed on each stocking so that attending kiddies always could pick out their stocking, show them to companions and to parents.

“Every Saturday meant a holiday for the children. As they came into the theatre they saw Santa Claus filling up various stockings. This until Saturday, December 24, when the last stocking was filled. So great was the response from the children that on Saturday, December 3, the day set for the bringing of the stockings, there were 2,397 kiddies at the matinee. The number of stockings brought during the period was 1,227.

“The sight in the Embassy lobby and foyer was a picturesque one. The stockings, filled with presents, were returned to the kiddies on Saturday, December 24, which coincided nicely with Christmas Eve., Reilly placed in several of the stockings season passes to the Embassy.

“He further ingratiated himself with the children by having the children who received season passes report to him every Saturday matinee before the theatre was opened.

“The manager took these children into his office, showed them the activities going on before a theatre is opened to the public, got their reactions to pictures and did everything to make them happy.”

Since 1997 theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle, has conducted a popular series of  theatre talks and walks, available for  historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.
Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres.
The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.
Currently seeking funding for “Editing & Formatting” the first three volumes of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, 3rd Edition