We’re lucky here in Eastern Pennsylvania that we’ve still got a handful of historic movie theaters in our downtowns. I know other folks aren’t able to amble down to Main Street to see a movie, so I try to support these vintage movie theaters when I can. One that I don’t visit often enough is the Ambler Theater, in Ambler PA.
Opened in 1928, the Ambler Theater has a Spanish Colonial style facade and a gorgeous 30 foot vertical sign that lights up the quaint main thoroughfare of Ambler. (I will note for purists that the sign is not the original-which was demolished in the late ’60′s- but rather an exact replica installed in 2005.)
I won’t get into the stories of the Ambler’s past, but you probably know the story by now- theater going affected by TV, changing tastes, theater in peril, closed, and now re-opened. What I will let you know that The Ambler is now a non-profit theater showing a variety of independent, art, and foreign films. It shares its programming and member discount benefits with the County Theater in Doylestown (already on the Retro Roadmap), and also the Bryn Mawr Film Institute so by supporting one of these great theaters you can benefit them all.
I was thrilled to be able to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s on the big screen at the Ambler, and Retro Roadhusband and I have enjoyed some classic cartoons from the collection of local film preservationist Lou DiCrescenzo, who shares his collection of rare and vintage films with the Ambler Theater.
Current theatergoing trends in seating and multi-screening have not bypassed the Ambler, which now has 2 auditoriums with stadium seating in addition to the with it’s grand front auditorium which was reopenend in 2007. I remember going to the Ambler before that space was open and seeing the massive empty space when we peeked in the door, this is definitely a cheerier sight!
Seating 280 people, the main auditiorium features a 30 foot wide movie screen, ornate decoration on the side walls, and organ lofts.
While I could bemoan the lack of authentic seating and authentic old timey feel of the auditoriums themselves, I will instead focus on the neat tiling and lounge signage in the lobby. In this day and age of blockbusters and megaplexes I also applaud the volunteers and non profit folks who saw that that the Ambler was worth saving and hope it continues to warm downtown Ambler with it’s golden glow for years to come.
The Ambler Theater
108 E Butler Ave
Ambler, PA 19002
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