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Second Sunday: Movie Media and the Metro

September 11, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Did you know Omaha was once a huge force in the Hollywood film industry?

FEPCO and Modern Sound Pictures…names once common in the film industry that are now lost to time. For a large portion of the 20th century, these Omaha-based companies dominated the industry that produced “movie papers,” which was everything needed to successfully promote a Hollywood production. Both of these companies were early pioneers in their respective corners of the market, and both were confronted by industry challenges including fickle audiences and evolving technology. What happened to these homegrown Hollywood titans?

In their talk Movie Media and the Metro, Kelli Bello, Firehouse Letterpress archivist, will explain how Omaha became known as a major distribution hub of Hollywood film and promotional materials from the 1920s-1980s. She’ll share pieces from the shop’s extensive collection of vintage film and projection equipment, press kits, posters, and letterpress advertising blocks. Shop owner Larry Richling will discuss how he managed to acquire such a rare collection and his plans to share it with the world.

Kelli Bello is the current Community Outreach Coordinator for Douglas County Historical Society. Prior to joining DCHS, she spent 18 months learning the lost art of letterpress printing utilizing the film advertising blocks and antique printing presses in the Firehouse Letterpress collection. It was her personal connection to these pieces that led her to dig deeper into their origin. In her research, a fascinating story with dynamic local characters unfolded. Prior to joining DCHS and the Firehouse Letterpress, Kelli worked in non-profit development for Special Olympics Nebraska and the Joslyn Castle and Gardens, where she currently serves on the board of directors. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Diego State University. She is originally from California, but Kelli, her husband Brian, and their three daughters now call Omaha home.

Larry Richling is the owner of the Firehouse Letterpress, which was recently relocated to historic downtown Council Bluffs from the basement of Hollywood Candy. Larry grew up in Omaha, and has been a life-long collector. He started his collecting with an interest in Pez candy dispensers….and now is the owner of thousands of the little machines. He is also a fan of vintage soda fountain and circus equipment and ephemera, as well as all things Hollywood-related. He recently sold Hollywood Candy, which he founded and owned for 13 years, and is now focusing on his next dream of owning a vintage letterpress print shop. This allows him to share his massive collection of Hollywood advertising blocks and equipment with the public. Of course, also in Firehouse Letterpress resides a soda fountain and a movie theater. Larry and his wife Mary recently moved to Council Bluffs, and enjoy their winters at their home in Florida.

September 11 at 2:00 p.m.

Gross Auditorium at College of Saint Mary

This installment of Second Sunday is presented FREE to the public, thanks to underwriting provided by the Dr. C.C. and Mabel Criss Memorial Foundation and Humanities Nebraska!

Call 402-455-9990 x102 for reservations or email admin@douglascohistory.org



September 11, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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