Ambassador Theatre

115 Fayetteville Street,
Raleigh, NC 27601

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: North Carolina Theatres, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: Erle G. Stillwell

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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News About This Theater

Ambassador Theatre

Built on the site of the Grand Theatre which was destroyed by fire on January 4, 1928. The 1,700-seat Ambassador Theatre was the foremost movie theatre in Raleigh for decades. It opened on February 21, 1938 with Bob Burns in “Radio City Revels”. It was operated by Paramount pictures Inc. through their subsidiary H.F. Kincey.

The Ambassador Theatre showcased the films of M~G~M, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, etc. At least one premiere took place there – Gary Cooper in “Bright Leaf” in 1950.

It was demolished in March 1989 when Fayetteville Street was turned into a mall.

Contributed by Edward Wright

Recent comments (view all 59 comments)

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!

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.

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.”

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.

raysson on June 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

THE SOUND OF MUSIC-The Reserved Seat Engagements—showmanship/sound-of-money-celebrating-sound-of-music-50th-anniv

raysson on March 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

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

fatherbates on July 8, 2018 at 5:42 am


CJ1949 on December 5, 2020 at 9:05 am

Re: The Ten Commandments. This played very late in many areas of the country because exhibitors refused to pay the high rental terms. If small towns played it at all, it was rarely within the first year of release. The same can be said for another Paramount release of the time, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Many small towns never played these pictures. Paramount also held these back deliberately from the smaller towns, and was judicious about awarding these pictures to only circuits that were willing to meet the rental terms. This was also the era of “pre-release” engagements where only the larger cities would get the picture for a limited time, and then the distributor would put it on the shelf for a few months before wider distribution - resulting in many theatres being starved for product.

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