A Town United: The Last Signal Preview Party
March 10th, 2018 was a truly incredible day. Executive Producer & Director Kyle Olson traveled with Co-Executive Producer Tracie Hunter to the small town of Stover, Missouri for the official "Preview Party" for the highly-anticipated documentary, THE LAST SIGNAL.
Held in the historic hometown of John L. Heimsoth, one of the WWII veterans featured in the documentary, this "Preview Party" was a celebration of incredible news that The Last Signal will be heading to the Normandie WWII Film Festival after winning "Best Documentary" . The party was also a chance for our veterans and the citizens of the community to see the first sneak peek (ever!) of our THE LAST SIGNAL, just a few months ahead of our World Premiere set for later this year in Normandy, France.
Thanks to the help of Stover local Tracey Durant, the town was able to 'dust off' the town's old nickelodeon theater, the Osage Theater. This historic cinema, which seats about 100 people, was built in the early 1900's and hasn’t formally shown movies since the 1970's. With the help of some amazing volunteers, the theater was revitalized back to it's 'glory days' for this very special occasion. Some audience members who were in attendance at the party worked at the Osage Theater back when the cost of a movie ticket was only ten cents. They just loved seeing the theater being used to unite the community in such a special way.
The Osage Theater sits next to the town bar, and the wonderful people from the local church were kind enough to bring enough food to fill the entire bar and feed the entire US Navy. It truly felt as if the entire town shut down so that everyone could be in attendance at this special event. Some neighbors in town even decorated their windows with words of gratitude for our veterans and with well wishes for the documentary.
Before our party formally began, DeVere Johnson, the WWII veteran featured in the documentary from Joliet, IL - along with his family - surprised John and the entire city of Stover when they walked into the Osage Theater! DeVere and his family drove nearly 8 hours to be in attendance and celebrate this joyful occasion.
During the party, many stories were shared, tears were shed, and laughs were had. Family members and members of the community alike were able to learn a little more about their local WWII veterans and the sacrifices they made both during and after the war. As the day came to a close, mayor Brenda Steffens presented an official proclamation to John and declared March 10th "John Heimsoth Day" in the city of Stover, Missouri.
Part of the proclamation read…
WHEREAS, John is considered the walking history of Stover.
WHEREAS, John and DeVere Johnson are the last two known survivors of LST 218 during World War II.
WHREAS, the documentary, THE LAST SIGNAL, is a thrilling story proving it is never to late to make history.
THEREFORE, I, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF STOVER MISSOURI, do herby proclaim March 10th as John L Heimsoth Day!
Just when everyone thought the surprises were over -- a final cherry on top of a sweet day was presented, as local resident Carol from "Just Grandma's Cakes" created a remarkable cake that simply took everyone's breath away. The cake tasted just as good as it looked! As everyone left the party, many autographs were signed by our newest celebrities and WWII heroes.
On behalf of the entire cast and crew of THE LAST SIGNAL, director Kyle Olson would like to thank the people of Stover, Missouri for their remarkably kind hospitality in making this event a reality. It takes a village to make a movie; but it also takes a village in order for that movie to succeed. The sky is the limit and we are continuing to reach for the stars!