Ambassador Theatre

115 Fayetteville Street,
Raleigh, NC 27601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 56 comments

fatherbates
fatherbates on July 8, 2018 at 5:42 am

BEFORE IT CLOSED, IT USE TO HAVE THE MAD MAD MAD MAD MONSTER LATE SHOW ON SAT NIGHTS TILL 2 AM!

raysson
raysson on March 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

skeeter81:
The Ambassador Theatre also showed the “X” rated feature BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS first-run in 1970 as a late show.

raysson
raysson on June 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

THE SOUND OF MUSIC-The Reserved Seat Engagements

http://www.digitalbits.com/columns/history-legacy—showmanship/sound-of-money-celebrating-sound-of-music-50th-anniv

raysson
raysson on June 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The reserved seat engagement of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” played here in 70mm in 1968.

Not to mention first-run exclusives like “The Exorcist”,“Billy Jack”,“Planet of the Apes”,and the 1976 remake of “King Kong”(the Ambassador’s BIG Christmas Attraction!)not to mention the first-run exclusive of “The Wiz” played here too with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

skeeter81
skeeter81 on June 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I forgot to mention that I saw “A Clockwork Orange” at the Ambassador with my boyfriend (now husband). I had forgotten it was an “X.”

skeeter81
skeeter81 on June 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

raysson, thanks so much. you’re a veritable gold mine of info.

I recall the Ambassador with great fondness. I went to there every week of my life, practically, starting about 1960 as a child. I took the bus so I could see the cartoons they ran on Saturdays for kids, then as a teen, I hit every major movie release. My older sister worked in the ticket booth in the late 1950s.

I asked about the X-rated date in trying to put a date on a piece of Ambassador memorabilia I bought from a collectibles store — a card they used to put in the window of the ticket booth, stating the movie was X-rated and for age 17 and older. So thanks again for that.

raysson
raysson on June 30, 2014 at 11:27 am

The information on this theatre will be upgraded for Cinema Treasures. I have found the original ads to the grand opening of the Ambassador Theatre along with other information that will be revised. Very soon!

raysson
raysson on June 27, 2014 at 11:24 am

skeeter81:

The first X-Rated movie that ever played at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre was Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” that was released in early-1972.

Information regarding this theatre will be revised and updated very soon. By the way, I have found the original ad for the opening of Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre and will be revised with new information. If you need to see the original ad scans I do have them. E-Mail me at

skeeter81
skeeter81 on June 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

I am trying to find out the year The Ambassador showed its first X-rated movie. I recall it made quite a stir, upsetting many Raleighites.

raysson
raysson on February 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm

The world premiere of BRIGHT LEAF made its U.S. event showing at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre on May 31,1950. It was the second motion picture to make its U.S. southeastern premiere engagement(after “Gone With The Wind”),and the first-ever Carolina exclusive premiere to be shown at the Ambassador Theatre.

Among the celebrities who were present at the world premiere were Gary Cooper, Lauren Becall,with Patricia Neal,along with British actor Donald Crisp and director Michael Curtiz.

Micah
Micah on December 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm

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.

raysson
raysson on December 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I remember seeing THE EXORCIST here on March 1,1974 at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre.

raysson
raysson on December 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Micah: There is a parking deck next to where the theater was originally located in Downtown Raleigh. It was on Fayetteville Street just walking distance from the South lawn of the State Capital Building. The theater once on Fayetteville Street was towards your immediate left right off East Morgan Street going towards Hargett Street.

Micah
Micah on December 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

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.

raysson
raysson on September 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

From the October 13,1971 advertisement of the News and Observer in Raleigh,North Carolina……….

WILL RALEIGH TURN ITS BACK ON BILLY JACK?

THE MOVIE EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT!!!!

BILLY JACK will make you angry!

Even make you furious!

Will make you take a stand!!!

And if you’re a woman…it will break your heart!

STARTING WEDNESDAY…RALEIGH WILL GET READY FOR BILLY JACK AT THE AMBASSADOR THEATRE!!! RATED “GP”

raysson
raysson on November 26, 2012 at 10:41 am

Elvis Presley did four full length concert appearances at Raleigh’s Ambassador Theatre on February 8, 1956. These were four performances(2 matinee and 2 evening shows)that were sold out within minutes.

raysson
raysson on November 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

Speaking of “THE TEN COMMANDMENTS” Charlotte’s Imperial Theatre was the only movie venue in the state that presented this film in full widescreen VISTAVISION and was the only reserved seat engagement presentation within the Carolinas that opened on February 17,1957. Raleigh didn’t get the film until November.

raysson
raysson on November 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

Correction: Cecil B. DeMille’s “THE TEN COMMANDMENTS” did not played at the Ambassador Theatre first-run in November of 1957. The film played first-run at Raleigh’s Varsity Theatre on November 23,1957. However,the Ambassador did get the film later on during one of it’s many re-releases.

William Wyler’s “BEN-HUR” also did not played first run at the Ambassador Theatre. The film was one of the exclusive engagement premiere showings first-run at the Cameron Village Theatre(aka The Village Theatre) that opened on August 19,1960.

“SOUTH PACIFIC” got first-run showing at the Ambassador Theatre on November 22,1959 for it’s Eastern North Carolina premiere showing.

OTHER MOVIES THAT PLAYED THE AMBASSADOR:
“The Exorcist”

“Family Plot”–[the final Alfred Hitchcock movie]

“King Kong”-the 1976 version first-run

raysson
raysson on July 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm

THE SOUND OF MUSIC played here as a Reserved Seat Engagement on August 11, 1965 where it played to capacity crowds for an astounding 61 weeks. Not only THE SOUND OF MUSIC played here but also…..

“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS”

“EL-CID”

“CLEOPATRA”

“HOW THE WEST WAS WON”

“THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY”

“THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM”

“WAR AND PEACE”

“ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S PSYCHO”

raysson
raysson on May 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Did PLANET OF THE APES played here too?

raysson
raysson on April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm

David Lean’s DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was also a reserved seat engagement at the Ambassador Theatre in mid-1966. In fact,DOCTOR ZHIVAGO replaced the long-running THE SOUND OF MUSIC after it’s astounding 61-week run.

NEXT ATTRACTION: “GRAND PRIX” in 70MM. Speaking of “GRAND PRIX”,if you want to see this in Cinerama,you had to go to the Carolina Theatre in Charlotte to see it in the Cinerama format.

raysson
raysson on April 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

ctrwd: You’re right. The Ambassador Theatre had a widescreen Cinemascope projection. That was installed during the renovation process in 1953 for it’s Eastern North Carolina Premiere of THE ROBE.

The Carolina Theatre in Downtown Charlotte was the ONLY moviehouse in the state that had the Cinerama capability and the only venue where certain films were presented in the Cinerama format.

The seating capacity for the Ambassador Theatre was 1,477. A lot of great films played here…not only did HOW THE WEST WAS WON,and THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM played here but THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, BEN-HUR, EL-CID, CLEOPATRA, and other blockbusters like THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY, and it’s 61-week astounding run of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY played here and was given the exclusive engagement treatment in 70MM and 6 Track Stereophonic Sound in 1969.

canibfrankwithyou
canibfrankwithyou on September 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Viewed “2001 A SPACE ODDESSEY” 70mm in 1969 prior to flying away for short Navy career!

Ralph Daniel
Ralph Daniel on May 17, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I can state the the Ambassador was not a Cinerama theatre, because I was there at the time that “Grimm” and “West” would have been shown in that process. I had to go to Charlotte, which was the only venue in the state to have Cinerama capability.

atmos
atmos on March 13, 2010 at 4:06 am

The architect was Erle G Stillwell.