The History of 633-647 Old Post Road
The Bedford Playhouse’s movie theater first opened in 1947. The village 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." Yet they 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 Progress."
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 centers 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 theaters worldwide, including in Venezuela. It boasted "scientific air conditioning" which allowed smoking in the balcony. It also had the latest in technology–an RCA 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 was The Meetinghouse– which closed in 2014–was originally "The 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.
In early 2015, Lynn and Mitchell Samberg took over the Meeting House and reopened it as Bedford 234.