Ambassador Theatre

411 N. 7th Street,
St. Louis, MO 63101

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Showing 1 - 25 of 79 comments

slip
slip on March 13, 2017 at 5:13 am

doogerp on September 24, 2015 at 11:20 am

I’d like to use your 35mm photos in a book project. Please email me at

JAlex
JAlex on March 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

While the layout of the Ambassador and Oriental Theatres were somewhat similar, the decoration of the two certainly weren’t. The Ambassador had a “Spanish Carnival” design, the Oriental, as Ben Hall described it, a “hasheesh-dream d├ęcor.”

sam siklas
sam siklas on March 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm

If anyone wants to get an idea of how it was to visit this theater and see its silver leaf auditorium (which was unique) they could check out the Ford Center (originally Oriental Theater) in Chicago. There are elements in the Ford Center Auditorium (it uses the traditional gold leaf)which are suggestive of how this theater appeared while it was still in operation.

jgrebe
jgrebe on October 22, 2016 at 9:44 am

The piano that was contained in the Ambassador organ was “worked ” on by some college students in the 1950’s leaving it in the organ maintenance room with it unstrung and with the plate out. So when the organ was bought by Pillsbury it was left and went down with the theatre. I used to tune the pianos there for concerts and got access to the whole theatre.

pnelson
pnelson on October 21, 2016 at 7:12 pm

This theatre is unique and truly one of the more beautiful in American history. A tragedy it was destroyed.

jgrebe
jgrebe on October 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

The Ambassador is one of two St. Louis Theatres that had their Wurlitzer Pipe Organ blowers never retrieved from their basements and lie under the ground still. The other is the Missouri Theatre. The Ambassador Wurlitzer is undergoing rebuilding and will find its new home in Indiana. Ken Crome’s shop owned the organ

rivest266
rivest266 on February 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

August 26th, 1926 grand opening ad in photo section.

doogerp
doogerp on September 24, 2015 at 11:20 am

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
Mary03 on July 13, 2015 at 12:58 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
Scott on July 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

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
Chris1982 on July 12, 2015 at 10:20 pm

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 7:56 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 7:51 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
Scott on July 11, 2015 at 10:49 pm

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
Chris1982 on July 11, 2015 at 4:52 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
BobbyS on July 11, 2015 at 12:39 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
Chris1982 on July 10, 2015 at 3:20 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 3:20 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
Scott on July 10, 2015 at 1:20 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
Patsy on July 9, 2015 at 6:06 pm

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

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 9, 2015 at 5:44 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
Patsy on July 8, 2015 at 2:17 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
dickneeds111 on July 8, 2015 at 2:06 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
JAlex on April 30, 2015 at 8:30 am

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

Chris1982
Chris1982 on August 30, 2014 at 9:52 am

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