Fade to Black, a new Kansas City PBS documentary produced by John G. McGrath (Flatland’s Art House), examines the past, present and future of the movie-going experience in Kansas City, dives into the significance and influence of cinema on American culture and illustrates how local theatres adapted to the challenges of 2020. Fade to Black premieres on KCPBS 19.1 Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., and will be available to stream at kcpbs.org/fadetoblack.
Fade to Black follows the Bagby and Bill families, owners of B&B Theaters — who have been in the movie business in Kansas and Missouri since the early 1920s — and traces how the Bagbys and other theater owners are adapting to a shifting entertainment world.
Chronicling the industry through its history, Fade to Black poses several crucial questions: can small, single theatres survive alongside sprawling cinemas showing the latest blockbusters? Will audiences still be willing to go to the movies when they can stream from the comfort of their couch? And, considering all of this, is there a future for the classic movie-going experience that we all know and love?
Fade to Black also features interviews with the Bagby family; Adam Roberts of Screenland Armour; Jerry Harrington from the Tivoli at the Nelson-Atkins; Jaclyn Danger from the Stray Cat Film Center; Brian and Ben Mossman from the historic Overland Park Glenwood Fine Arts; and Steph Shannon of the KC Film Office.