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Second Sunday Talk

“All Hell Couldn’t Stop Them”: To War and Back with Omaha’s Thurston Rifles

The story of a company of Omaha citizen-soldiers, their empire-building adventure in the Philippines, and their devoted supporters back home.

Presented by: Bob Lohman

Second Sunday: Movie Media and the Metro

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


Second Sunday: Sunset Speedway

Kent Taylor, writer and producer of the documentary The Only Place to Be on Sunday Night: Remembering Omaha’s Sunset Speedway (1957-2000), Stan Cisar, former announcer at Sunset Speedway, and Craig Kelley, former co-owner, promoter, and race director of Sunset Speedway will be sharing memories and history of this popular race track and others.

June 12 at 2:00 p.m.

Gross Auditorium at College of Saint Mary

Free to DCHS members; $5 for non-members

Call 402-455-9990 for reservations or email

Second Sunday: “I AM A MAN” Ponca Tribe of Nebraska

Rebecca White Sullivan, Vice Chairwoman for the Ponca Tribe, will give a presentation on Chief Standing Bear the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. No man should be forced to leave his home, forced on foot to walk hundreds of miles to the unknown, watch disease and famine take the lives of hundreds, and left with nothing but broken promises. Chief Standing Bear had endured enough when his son’s dying wish was to be buried back home; and the great Chief knew what had to be done. As a result of being arrested, Chief Standing Bear proved through law that Native Americans were men with his famous statement in court, “I AM A MAN.” But, what became of Chief Standing Bear’s own Tribe after the trial and would he be Proud of his Ponca People today?

May 15 at 2:00 p.m.

Gross Auditorium at College of Saint Mary

Free to DCHS members; $5 for non-members

Call 402-455-9990 ext. 102 for reservations or email

Second Sunday: Seeds For Positive Change

Preston Love, Jr. is a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Black Studies Department, author of five books, an Omaha World-Herald Editorial Columnist, Voter Participation Activist, and creator of local and national historical tours.

Troubled times produce unique opportunities for problem-solving, creative thinking, and heightened sensitivities, all seeds for positive change. Preston Love, Jr. will speak on his recent initiative called “North Omaha Legacy Tours,” which seeks to produce impactful opportunities in our community through cultural and history tours for youth and adults.

April 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Gross Auditorium at College of Saint Mary

Free to DCHS members; $5 for non-members

Call 402-455-9990 for reservations or email

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