Ambassador Theatre

2464 18th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20009

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

DavidZornig on November 4, 2022 at 5:44 pm

Yet another article about the collapse.

DavidZornig on October 27, 2018 at 10:16 am

Another article about the collapse.

DavidZornig on October 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Another Shorpy link with the grand opening night photo. Click on View Full Size.

DavidZornig on August 5, 2015 at 7:35 pm

I uploaded the 1-29-22 roof collapse photo from the below Shorpy link.

rivest266 on June 20, 2015 at 2:29 pm

1917 and 1923 grand opening ads in photo section

DavidZornig on February 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

FYI. The Shorpy Higginbotham Facebook page and website has a detailed photo that will enlarge, of the aftermath of the collapse.

Mendy216 on November 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm

My Uncle was in the Knickerbocker theater the day it colapsed. heard sone noise and he and many others left by the exit. he was in the exit door archway as the roof fell in. he lived on champlain st. NW. 1 block away.

BobFurmanek on October 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm

The Ambassador was one of two theaters in Washington to play Alfred Hitchcock’s DIAL M FOR MURDER in 2-D, without glasses. I’ve posted an ad for opening day, May 27, 1954.

More information can be found in this article:

sconnell1 on March 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

I made a mistake in my comment on June 10th. The correct title of the film is JOHN GOLDFARB PLEASE COME HOME.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

They say this is the site of the theatre:

View link

jeffkrulik on December 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Blizzard of 1922: Knickerbocker Theater Disaster
Newsreel footage of aftermath

sconnell1 on June 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm

While the Ambassador played BECAUSE THEY’RE YOUNG between June 15-June 24 of 1961, the Metropolitan played THE RAT RACE.

The Metropolitan was closed between September 6 and October 4 of 1961. The Ambassador played COME SEPTEMBER.

While the Ambassador played WEST SIDE STORY between June 12-July 2 of 1963, the Metropolitan played THE WONDERUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM.

While the Ambassador played a series of second-run features between May 20-July 7 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of WHAT A WAY TO GO.

While the Ambassador played a series of second-run features between November 18-December 22 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of GOODBYE CHARLIE.

While the Ambassador played the first run of JOHN GOLDFARB, PLEASE COME HOMEY between April 14-May 11 of 1963, the played the Metropolitan played the first run of CHEYENNE AUTUMN.

jflundy on March 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Opening view of the Knickerbocker on 13 October 1917:

jflundy on December 3, 2008 at 5:04 pm

A photo from November 24, 1925:

Harold Lloyd as “The Freshman” is playing as orphans gather under thr marquee.

barkas4 on July 4, 2007 at 7:04 am

Check all the major newspapers of January 29, 1922 and the not so major ones. They all ran headline stories about the crash that occured the day before. NOAA, other weather information websites, and some eyewitness accounts on the web also have the correct date. Only the Army Quartermaster’s website is incorect.

barkas4 on June 5, 2007 at 2:57 pm

The Knickerbocker Theater disaster happened on January 28, 1922, not on the 22nd as stated above.

barkas4 on December 30, 2006 at 3:22 pm

I have not been on this site lately and am pleased that there are some relatives of survivors of the Knickerbocker disaster. My grandfather (Oreste Natiello) was in the orchestra (french horn). His brother was the conductor: Ernesto Natiello. If you have not already contacted Debbie Chambers, do so. She is writing a book about the disaster and has many resources to share. She can be found on or Just search for her postings or for information on the Knickerbocker Theater. She lined me up with a Canadian Company that did a documentory on the Knickerbocker. You can get a copy of it from Disasters of the
Twentieth Century website. Go to their store. The documentary is good and I enjoyed being in it but some of the information is not
true, even some of what I said. I had no opportunity to review
questions ahead of time or to edit what I said. I was probably
nervous or my memory was not that good that day. I was surprised at some of what I said. I never knew my grandfather but have done a
lot of reading on the theater – mostly old newspapers and some
websites. Debbie sent me picures.

askmike on August 5, 2006 at 7:19 pm

I worked at the Ambassador Theater when it was a rock hall. That was from August 1967 to January 1968. It was an amazing place with one of the best lightshows ever. Bands that played there included Jimi Hendrix for a week at $1.50 – $2.50 a ticket; Moby Grape, John Lee Hooker, Vanilla Fudge, The Hollies, Jr Wells, the Fugs, Canned Heat, Strawberry Alarm Clock and more.

Ron3853 on May 12, 2006 at 7:30 am

“Mary Poppins” played first-run at the Ontario Theater, located in the same neighborhood as the Ambassador. The film opened there in October 1964 and played until the next spring when “The Sound of Music” replaced it.

GSenda on May 12, 2006 at 7:27 am

This is the theatre where I saw South Pacific in 1964. We moved later in the year before the firsr DC riots. I had thought we moved in early 1964 but clearly remember seeing this movie as we lived on 16th Street *(2400) and it was not that far a walk to it.

Now if I can just find the one that showed Mary Poppins…

George Senda
Concord Ca

Ron3853 on March 12, 2006 at 1:35 pm

There is a lot of information on Harry Crandall in the book:

Motion Picture Exhibition in Washington, D.C.: An Illustrated History of Parlors, Palaces, and Multiplexes in the Metropolitan Area, 1894-1997

The author is Robert K. Headley
Published in 1999 by McFarland & Company, Inc.
Jefferson, NC & London

I was able to purchase it at Barnes & Noble.

Most of the bibliographical info is on pages 151 through 155, althouh he is mentioned throughout the book. It does NOT give his wife’s name, although she is mentioned twice as “his widow.” He had a daughter who married a man named John Payette, who also was involved in the movie theater business.

jdouglas on March 12, 2006 at 6:41 am

My grandfather’s cousin reportedly married Knickerbocker (and other D.C. area) Theater owner Harry CRANDALL — if anyone knows more about his personal data (or a book that is rumored to include his biography), I would love to hear from them…thanks!