Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments
Raysson, I wonder if you even thoroughly read some comments? I posted an aerial photo that shows exactly where the Ambassador was. It was, in fact, nearly halfway down the east side of the block from the capital, not immediately off Morgan Street. Today, there is a parking deck exactly where the Ambassador stood. There are retail shops below the parking deck at street level. The deck is called Alexander Square. The pedestrian entrance to this deck from Fayetteville Street is just to the right of where the Ambassador entrance was. I have uploaded another image from Google Street View that shows the present day site of the Ambassador entrance.
There seems to be some confusion as to exactly where this theater was. It’s address was 115 Fayetteville Street. It was not near the current PNC (RBC) tower. I added an aerial photograph from 1988 of the area to the photos section. The south Capital Building lawn is at the top of the image. The skinny lobby and auditorium buildings I marked with red boxes.
Also, the theater was shuttered when it closed in 2000 until it was reopened in 2003.
Just because it annoys me to hear otherwise, I must point out that Six Forks' majority owner is Doug Cooper, a longtime cinema fixture in Raleigh. Peebles is a minority partner there. Cooper is wholly responsible for reopening Six Forks. The theater is operated under the Ambassador umbrella almost entirely for reasons of film booking and economies of scale involving vendors.
I know where it was/is, I serviced the projection equipment there many times. I was responding to a previous comment that says the theater was demolished. As of a few months ago, it was certainly still there.
For the life of me I cannot remember the seating capacities, but the total seats was either 100 or 110, and the left theater was a little smaller. I think it was 49/51.
Varsity theater (AKA Studio 1) didn’t close until September of 1984. Studio I&II opened in 1987. It closed in October of 2000, one week before Ambassador Entertainment reopened Mission Valley.
Raysson, are you sure Merchants 6 is razed? I was by there sometime in May/June this year and it was definitely still there.
The Tower Twin was not demolished. It remained vacant and virtually unchanged for many years after it closed. Several years ago it was used as a haunted house at Halloween for a few years. More recently it has been converted to retail space. Just so you know, Carmike owned BOTH the Tower Twin and the Merchants Six and ran them concurrently. Also, the two auditoriums at Tower were mirror images of each other. They had exactly the same seating capacity. I cannot remember what the capacity was, but it was around 400 each.
One more thing, the Varsity/Studio 1 had 350 seats when it closed. I’m nearly certain this was the capacity for it’s entire life. This was not a large theater at all. There is no way it could have ever sat 700 as the description above states.
Also, I cannot remember exactly, but the McDonald’s closed around 1995.
No remnants of the last location of the theater show up since it is now Tarrymore Square shopping center at the corner of New Hope Church Rd. and Capital Blvd. The location listed above is incorrect.
The Bonefish restaurant is indeed in the former Cardinal I building. The restaurant’s front patio space was originally the outer edge of the lobby.
Studio One closed in September of 1984. Studio I and II was opened at 2526 Hillsborough in 1987 by the same owner, Roy Harp.
Marketplace opened sometime around 1990 as a quad. It had a two screen addition sometime in the late 1990’s. It is currently a 6 screen cinema.
Mall Cinema was closed LONG before 2003. I know it was converted to a Hallmark store sometime in the early 1990’s, and it had been closed for a bit before that. Marketplace opened I think in 1990 as a quad cinema. It had a two screen addition sometime in the late 1990’s
I think “replaced” is the wrong choice of words. It replaced those theaters as a place for those in area to see first-run films, but Valley and Terrace were physically separate theaters. Terrace was discount for about 5 years and changed to art-house Colony Theater in 1994.
When I get extra time I like to look at the Raleigh theater descriptions. I have found many mistakes in nearly all of the main theater descriptions for the Raleigh theaters. In the case of the Village Twin, the original auditorium was not left intact after the twinning. The auditorium was split down the middle creating two horrible shoe-box auditoriums with smallish screens.
It also really bothers me that the description of the theater for this page lists that the original auditorium was split, when in fact it was left perfectly intact when the 2nd auditorium was added. Also, the Cardinal was never equipped for Cinerama projection. Cardinal 1 was equipped with standard 5/70mm projection equipment. How do you get this changed?
Seth, The building that Bonefish is in IS the actual building that the original, large auditorium of Cardinal was in! They have torn down the lobby as well as the smaller screen (Cardinal 2), though the smaller screen was there and used by Blockbuster before the big shopping center uplift a few years ago.
That theater was once the Varsity. I think it operated as Studio I for a brief time before it closed. Soon after it closed Studio I & II opened just down the street at 2526 Hillsborough in the Electric Company Mall. That theater closed in October of 2000. It was a very unique and very small theater. Screen 1 had just under 50 seats and screen 2 just over 50. The old Varsity sat empty for a long time after McDonalds closed and it is now a textbook store. Do you have pictures of the McDonalds? I would love to see them!
There used to be the Mission Valley Inn directly across the street. It closed in the 1990’s and NCSU bought it and converted it into dormitories. It is now called Avent Ferry Complex.
raysson, The original specs for Mission Valley were around 500 seats for screen 1, and 300 seats for screen 2. Screen 2 is half the size of screen 1 and never had more than 300 seats. Auditoriums 3, 4 and 5 were all added at the same time in 1983 and all seat 288. The only other remodel that was done was in 1994-ish when United Artists took over. This was just a lobby renovation in which a kitchen was built and the concession stand was moved from a circular island in the middle of the lobby to a new stand to the right of the lobby as it stands today. There were some changes to the box office and downstairs managers office as well. The theater has not been majorly altered since, except for seat replacement and redecoration of the largest auditorium in 2007. I have all of the original blueprints from the original build and the additions in 1983.
(Lewis Tew was the longtime manager of Cardinal. He was later the City Manager for Carmike Cinemas)
The company that re-opened Pleasant Valley as a discount house was called Entertainment Film Works (EFW). They signed leases and opened up a handful of closed theaters around the same time as Pleasant Valley. They didn’t pay their rent or bills at most of their locations. Some of landlords threw them out, and in some locations (like Pleasant Valley) they just suddenly closed and very quickly moved out, in some cases owing thousands. They closed Pleasant Valley with almost no notice. They actually opened the theater for the day that day. After the first set of films was started, the staff was informed that they were closing effective immediately. They actually did OK there, and it seemed to be getting better all the time. I am convinced that if it was run properly it could have thrived as a discount house. For some more info on EFW, search “EFW” on the website film-tech.com in the “film-yak” forum.