Ambassador Theatre

411 N. Seventh Street,
St. Louis, MO 63101

Unfavorite 17 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 72 comments

doogerp on September 24, 2015 at 2:20 pm

I was granted access to the Ambassador in the early 80’s as I worked half a block away and met the building managers son one day while exploring the office building part. We went to the office and talked to his dad and arranged a weekend exploration of a whole Saturday of the theater. I went all thru this place back stage, understage dressing rooms, projection booth, balconys for the most part the seats were gone at that time. I shot over 4 rolls of color 35mm film and even fired up the lighting panel on the stage right and lit up the place inside it was still beautiful. The pictures are put away if I can locate them I will scan and make them available. I do know the chandeliers that were on either side of the stage are located in the Des Peres theatre lobby.

Mary03 on July 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm

I used to work at the concession stand at the Ambassador when I was in high school in the late 60’s and all I can say is the theater was gorgeous! The staff had to spend the night there one evening when we were all snowed in from a major snowstorm so we had the run of the place. I love old places and still do so I was quite excited to see the nooks and crannies. That large entrance hall always made my jaw drop along with the exquisite staircase. The auditorium was massive with a capital “M” – six stories high! The ornamental plaster work was a dream to behold as well. There’s just nothing like it today. The cineplexes in the malls just don’t have the class and never will. Young theatergoers need to experience a TRUE moviehouse just once in their lives. If they do, they’ll never go back to their very pale imitations.

Scott on July 13, 2015 at 2:19 pm

I wish I had ventured inside the Granada. Drove by it a number of times but never stopped to see a movie. The facade was indeed impressive.

Chris1982 on July 13, 2015 at 1:20 am

South Side Man, EH? My Best friend and father were from the South Side. We visited the Granada mostly because their father was best friends with Tony DeCarlo who managed the Granada for many years.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 12, 2015 at 10:56 am

Chris, I loved going to the Granada. Even with the water-stained ceiling and the broken and worn seats, it was my favorite among the theaters I frequented in the ‘70’s, including the Avalon and the Crest.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 12, 2015 at 10:51 am

Scott, I agree that the financial viability played a part in the restoration of the property. It wasn’t just a theater, it was also an office building that was being eclipsed by newer and bigger office buildings in the area. At the time of the decision to take the building down decisions were being made or were made on restoring the Fox in midtown. Personally, I believe the correct decision was made, especially given the sketchy history of the American (Loew’s Orpheum) property in recent years and the explosion of the Grand Center area in midtown.

Scott on July 12, 2015 at 1:49 am

Norman, I believe I attended a show at the Ambassador in the mid 1970s. My memory of it is vague, as I attended many shows back then in various theatres. However, judging by the pictures I’ve seen, I would say that the lobby and foyer areas of the theatre were standard Rapp & Rapp; nice, but not much in the way of originality. The auditorium was another matter, however. That was obviously a beautiful work of art, and the silver leaf must have been something to see. Such a shame the theatre was destroyed, but then, it’s hard to imagine that a theatre in that location would be well attended today. I guess it’s possible that it could have been a catalyst for an entertainment district down there, but I don’t think it would have worked.

Chris1982 on July 11, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Norman, the Granada Theatre was often referred to as the Mini-Fox of South St. Louis. Not many neighborhood houses were built like that.

BobbyS on July 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Hope you can all make it to the BIG SHOW at the FOX on Sunday, August 23rd. See my post on CT/Fox for details. A show this big in that theatre should be breathtaking!

Chris1982 on July 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

I agree Scott doesn’t compare to the FOX. But as Norman said it is not a Cinema Treasure

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 10, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Scott, I do agree. The Fox certainly lives up to its name “The Fabulous Fox. ”. I never had the opportunity to go inside the Ambassador so I can’t compare them. But they are all impressive in their own way. Heck, even in its dilapidated condition I was really impressed with the Granada before it came down.

Scott on July 10, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Norman, I live in the St Louis area and agree with your point. However, I would say that the Fox Theatre is much more ornate than the Peabody. The Peabody is nice, but is more restrained in its ornamentation.

Patsy on July 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm

Norman: Thank you for your additional information. Much appreciated.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 9, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Patsy, as much as I would like to you can’t save them all. We are fortunate here in St Louis to still have the St Louis Theater(Powell Hall), the Tivoli Theater in the U City loop(still showing movies), Loew’s Orpheum (now the American), The Fabulous Fox Theater, and the Peabody Opera House (though not a former movie palace it is just as ornate as the Fox). That’s about as many performance venues that a city of this size can accommodate.

Patsy on July 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Sorry to be reminded that this cinema treasure was taken from us especially with such a rich history. It is truly a loss for St.Louis.

dickneeds111 on July 8, 2015 at 5:06 pm

The Boston Cinerama was bigger. Before being converted to Cinerama the RKO Boston Theatre was over 3100 seats and after conversion it was reduced to 2400. I imagine the Ambassador must have had seating changed after conversion. This happened to every theatre that was converted.

JAlex on April 30, 2015 at 11:30 am

To answer the question of “bigrose” of two years ago: a double bill of “Junior Miss” and “East to Look At.”

Chris1982 on August 30, 2014 at 12:52 pm

jimseabough, there is a photo in the photo section of the Ambassador Theatre marquee with “Dr. Zhivago” now playing.

BobbyS on November 12, 2013 at 1:26 am

I am going to the FOX in December to see a show and now will seek out thoses two chandeliers at the Des Peres Cinema. Thanks. Two bad an opera company or other group could not rescue this theater. These beautiful buildings will never be built again.

Patsy on October 9, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Nice to learn that two chandeliers in the Des Peres Cinema are identified with a plaque on the wall…music to my ears!

jimseabough on October 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I was in St. Louis over the weekend 10/6/13 and went to see GRAVITY in 3-D at the Des Peres Cinema on Manchester Rd. I noticed two beautiful chandeliers in the lobby. Sure enough, those two chandeliers were ‘rescued'from the Ambassador Theatre before it was demolished. There is a plaque on the wall identifying them. So beautiful and they brought back memories of that wonderful showplace where I saw CLEOPATRA, MY FAIR LADY and the two 'Doctors’… ZHIVAGO and DOLIITLE in their road show engagements.

bigrose on August 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Can anyone tell me what was showing in this theatre on August 14, 1945? My mom remembers being at the movies with her sister for her birthday and coming out to the V-J Day celebrations downtown.

Patsy on October 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm

KenRoe: Thanks for this information!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 9, 2012 at 12:18 pm

According to the Theatre Historical Society of America, the organ remained in the theatre until the 1970’s, although it was not in a playable condition. It was removed by motor magnet Fred Pillsbury and placed into storage, where it deteriorated even further. After passing through several more hands, in 2006 it was in the possession of organman Ken Crome in Reno, Nevada, in poor condition, but complete.

Patsy on October 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Jeb: Thanks for your theatre passion regarding this theatre at such a young age. If only it could have been saved…it should have been!