THE PLAYHOUSE HAS BEEN SAVED! Thank you to all that have pledged your financial support – the leases have been signed! Let the work begin!
From an article by Karen B. Ransom
I became privy to a scrapbook lent to me about the opening of the Bedford Playhouse in Bedford
village on April 30, 1947. I sorted through yellowed articles
unfortunately most with the name of the
publication cut off
and historical photos.
welcomed the theater with trepidation. They were cautious and determined not to have
such a commercial venue change the character of the village. An editorial claimed: “It may change
our way of living by bringing crowds from the outlying districts.”
ey were comforted by the village’s strong identity, believing their Bedford character could
withstand the onslaught of outsiders. Another editorial closer to the opening said: “We move forward
as we have always done as we must. The Theater is a part of our
The investor and designer of the whole of the building was Pound Ridge resident Joseph H. Stearns,
seen as a man of vision. The building was conservative in nature in order to blend with the
surrounding area. It was one of the first shopping ce
nters with stores for lease on the ground floor
and apartments on the second floor. It was to have an air of “charm and restfulness.”
The design of the interior theater and the technology used was done by Drew and John Eberson.
Their firm had designed thea
ters worldwide, including in Venezuela. It boasted “scientific air
conditioning” which allowed smoking in the balcony. It also had the latest in technology
sound system and the latest on projection engineering which would be “free of distortion and
eyestrain.” The builder was A.R. Baker of Bedford village.
The rows of seats were 40 inches apart in order to allow people to access the aisle without bothering
the others while they were seated. The seats were fully sprung and upholstered. The walls were
covered in gold damask. It had a colonial décor. There was a beautiful mural behind what is now the
snack bar created by local Bedford resident Tom Loftia Johnson.
Congratulatory ads were placed in local papers from the new tenants of the building. Walter
Stewart’s Market had just opened, offering quality food products. Stewart’s Market was a Bedford
landmark for more than 50 years on Court Road
the southern side of the building.
The restaurant that is now The Meetinghouse
still a very popular spot
Carousel,” a confectionary and lunch room. Since there was no sign of a contemporary snack bar,
moviegoers were urged to enjoy this casual restaurant both before and after the movie. Best wishes
were also sent by Thomas C. Grimes Country Real
Estate on The Bedford Green, still home to
several real estate offices.