Lee produced a number of designs for newsreel theatres, a type of theatre that would show newsreels on a continuous basis. All the renderings describe in this archive as Theatre Design Concepts are newsreel theatres. The newsreel had been introduced as a short shown before the feature during the 1930s. World War II heightened interest in the newsreel, giving rise to the idea of small theatres showing newsreels only. As technology allowed, Lee began to increase his use of glass and later plastic, both transparent materials that could be used to great effect for buildings whose primary use was at night. Lee's renderings for these designs all show the buildings at night. By using transparent materials, Lee was creating illuminated sculptures that were their own advertisements for the film.Note on reverse: This modern idea has been designed to be inviting, entertaining and smart, to stand out in a busy location. The name on the theatre indicates the design was prepared for Mexico, probably in early 1940s.
Lee's concept for a large theatre in Mexico City uses circular domed forms borrowed from the Arabic tradition in Spain and applies elaborate encrustations of Churrigueresque ornament typical of the Spanish Baroque around the monumental central entry, at the cornice line and to frame the windows. Elaborate finials top the parapets and the suggestion of a minaret can be seen on the right.
The side exit doors of the auditorium are embellished with heavy Baroque ornament, while the wall above is finished in wood veneer set in a pattern of squares. An elaborate sculpture of a horse riding on waves flanks the proscenium.
This view show the integration of the two previous restaurant areas, the larger high-ceilinged space in the foreground. An orchestra plays for dancing within one of the vaulted areas, while couples dance on the dance floor in the foreground.