We're back with another "Wealth, Actually" podcast. This time I got to speak with John Farr, a man who blended his love of movies with the world of movie house restoration. John Farr has helped restore one historic cinema (The Avon in Stamford) and did it again for the BEDFORD PLAYHOUSE in Bedford, NY. Boasting a half-century love of great film and a career in advertising, John guides smart audiences to smart films through his website – BEST MOVIES BY FARR.
Quick bio- what was your background?
Ties to Bedford, career in advertising to interest in movies and that industry . . .
Best Movies by Farr . . . tell us how this came to be and what it is.
How did you go from being in advertising to becoming urban planner / real estate developer / media mogul?
Concept of movie theater as cultural center for a town
Brief history of the theater and the closing in 2015.
History of Bedford Playhouse – opened in 1947,
It survived my frequent attendance! from 1980 on . . .
What happened in 2015?
Experience with the Avon Theater in Stamford, Jacob Burns in Pleasantville, how did that translate to Bedford?
How did you get the various stakeholders around a reinvigorated concept? How did you meet Ken Horn and how did he get involved?
Groundswell and Description of process post-2015.
What can we look forward to in 2019 and beyond.
What are some of the interesting features that we should be on the lookout for?
Favorite movies generally: Hitchcock, Notorious, Vertigo, Cary Grant
How do we stay in touch with the Playhouse, Best Movies by Farr and your other exploits?
Some additional notes on the history of the Bedford Playhouse:
The Bedford Playhouse is a former movie theater located in Bedford, New York which first opened its doors back in April 1947 to much fanfare. It operated continuously in the village for close to seventy years. It had a state of the art sound system and projection, “modern” air conditioning and an exterior designed to blend in with the historic village of Bedford. The owner and designer, Joseph H. Stearns, was a resident of Pound Ridge.
In 1983, the theater was divided into two smaller theaters, and much of its majesty and historic nature was lost. In early 2015, the theater closed.
A grass roots organization was formed under the leadership of Bedford resident John Farr, with the goal of transforming it into a not-for-profit arts house cinema, cultural center, and community hub. Over $8 million has been raised since then and construction of the new facility began in Spring, 2017.