Fans of quality movies in the Mountains cheered at Mount Vic Flicks on Sunday night when retiring owners Ron and Diane Bayley announced they had found buyers for the cinema.
Katoomba couple Adam Cousins and Kirsten Mulholland will take over within weeks and promise to continue the program of arthouse films which the Bayleys have presented for the past 26 years. Ms Mulholland said she was thrilled to be taking over.
“My girlfriends and I used to go up there quite a lot — we’d take rugs before they got heating. I don’t know why, I was just always in love with the idea of running it.”
Ms Mulholland said she had no idea it was for sale until a friend alerted her to a story in the Gazette in May about the Bayleys’ desire to retire. She went to see them one Friday night, stayed chatting for three hours then she and Mr Cousins decided to take the plunge and buy the business.
Mr Cousins, who will leave his job as a costs accountant with an electronics manufacturer in Penrith, said the prospect of running the cinema is “terribly exciting”.
Ms Mulholland, who is working part-time after maternity leave, will return to full-time work as a drama teacher to ensure financial security but she will also be beside Mr Cousins at the box office or in the candy bar.
And their two sons — Finn, 4, and Charlie, 2 — will join mum and dad at the movies. “We’ll set up something for them so they can go to sleep,” she said.
The cinema will be closed for several weeks while the old equipment is replaced with the latest digital system. Ron Bayley has offered to help in the changeover and has also given the couple tips about upcoming titles. Mr Cousins has been doing his own research, talking to the regular film-goers to get an idea of their likes and dislikes.
The Bayleys farewelled Mount Vic on Sunday at a sell-out screening of a 1957 classic called The Smallest Show On Earth. Specially selected by Mr Bayley, it was about a young couple who inherit a run-down cinema and, despite opposition from a big cinema nearby, decide to reopen. Peter Sellers starred as the drunken projectionist.
The Bayleys thanked all their supporters and said they were overwhelmed at the roll-up to the last show, and with the number of cards, chocolates and flowers they had received from happy customers.
Details of the cinema’s reopening will be posted on the website, www.mountvicflicks.com.au.