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Sliced Bread Documentary
February 6, 2014

Innovation, hard work and ingenuity are the core of our Midwestern values. And the new PBS-produced documentary about Chillicothe as the Home of Sliced Bread, celebrates those values. It will air on KCPT at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20, with encore performances at 9:30 p.m. on the 21st and 10:30 p.m. on the 24th.

'Slice of Life' is a half-hour documentary-style special that highlights Chillicothe as the Home of Sliced Bread. It includes many events and locations in Chillicothe and features interviews with John Irvin, Ed Douglas, Kelly Poling, Cathy Ripley and others. "We are really pleased that our Sliced Bread Documentary will be airing so soon and several times," said Ed Douglas, chair of the Sliced Bread Committee. "Additionally, we expect other PBS stations in the Midwest to air the show soon. We are hopeful stations nationwide will follow. It is a historic show that tells a story of what a great town we live in and how people in small towns can not only survive but prosper."

Several hundred Chillicothe residents saw a sneak peak of the documentary at a party held in November. "The reviews were overwhelmingly positive," said Amy Supple, Director of the Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region. "PBS and Producer Randy Mason and their crew did a great job in telling our story. This is a tremendous opportunity to highlight some of Chillicothe's greatest things to a large number of viewers." After it airs, portions of 'Slice of Life' will be used for promotional purposes to share the story of sliced bread.

The title sponsor for the PBS show is Midwest Gloves and Gear of Chillicothe. Additional corporate sponsors include Pepsi Cola Bottling of Chillicothe and Woody's Automotive Group. Other support for the project was provided by The City of Chillicothe, The Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region, The Joe and Lenore Lambert Foundation and The Mervyn W. Jenkins Foundation.

Sliced Bread Documentary Premieres in Chillicothe
By CALLI PRICE, Nov. 22, 2013

C-T Photo / Calli Price

CAPTION: Members of the Chillicothe community gathered at the B&B Grand Six Theatres for the premiere showing of the documentary 'Slice of Life' Thursday evening. The documentary showcases several aspects of Chillicothe's history, especially its significance as the home of sliced bread. Kansas City Public Television will air the documentary in early 2014.

B&B Grand Six Theatres rolled out a red carpet to welcome guests to Thursday night's premiere showing of 'Slice of Life,' a PBS-produced documentary about Chillicothe and its place in history as the home of sliced bread. Attendees dressed to the nines for the event, which began at 7 p.m. with welcoming remarks from Ed Douglas, chairman of the Home of Sliced Bread Committee. Douglas thanked everyone for attending, and commended Kansas City Public Television on their work with the project. "Our major partner on this journey has been Kansas City Public Television," Douglas said. "They had the vision and the commitment and the talent to get this project done and make it something which our entire community can be proud of."

KCPT Producer Randy Mason also gave opening remarks, explaining the vision behind the documentary. "I think the notion became to try and talk about small towns, the people that make them, some of the history that can go into them," Mason said. "The theory is that someone watching it in Saginaw, Michigan, or somewhere else who doesn't know a darn thing about you all comes away with a little better impression and a little better understanding of maybe what went on here and what continues to go on here."

The 27-minute documentary encompassed the story of how the idea of a bread-slicing machine became a reality in Chillicothe 85 years ago at the hands of inventor Otto Rohwedder and baker Frank Bench. Other local history was included in the documentary, as well. The local manufacturing of gloves was discussed, which led to Chillicothe's distinction as the "glove capital of the world." Footage and background about the late U.S. Congressman Jerry Litton, who died in 1976, just after winning the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, was also part of the documentary. The story behind Kelly Poling's murals on downtown buildings was also featured.

The remainder of the film focused on how Catherine Stortz-Ripley came to discover that commercially-sliced bread was invented here and the efforts of the community to bring the world's second bread-slicing machine from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., to the Grand River Historical Society Museum. The documentary ended with the development and unveiling of the "Slice of America" exhibit at the museum.

Ripley, news editor of the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, said the documentary encompassed the heart of Chillicothe. "The documentary truly is a slice of life," Ripley said. "It's a look at the people of Chillicothe, a reflection of life during the 1920s and how great inventions have, historically, come from rural areas. 'Slice of Life' is a story about an invention that revolutionized the baking industry. To think it began in our town is impressive."

After the premiere, attendees proceeded to the Chillicothe Country Club for the Premiere Party. The club was decorated in a 1920's theme and featured a 1920's-era car at the front entrance. Live piano music was provided by Mary Willis. A series of brief speeches closed the evening. Ed Douglas thanked the sponsors of the 'Slice of Life' documentary, which include: Midwest Gloves and Gear, Pepsi Cola Bottling, the City of Chillicothe, the Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region, Joe and Lenore Lambert Foundation, Mervyn W. Jenkins Foundation, Woody's Automotive Group and KCPT.

He also thanked the businesses that helped with the premiere event, which include: Chillicothe Development Corporation, B&B Grand Six Theatres, the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, Chillicothe Hy-Vee, Piggly Wiggly Floral Department, Sensenich Jewelers, the Chillicothe Country Club, the Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region and the Home of Sliced Bread Committee. Douglas also recognized those who helped coordinate and decorate for the evening. He said the next step for the community is developing a landmark in downtown Chillicothe to serve as a "photo-op" for visitors.

Mayor Chuck Haney thanked everyone for attending the premiere and thanked the Home of Sliced Bread Committee for its role in the documentary. "I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread," Haney said. "On behalf of the City of Chillicothe, thank you for your work for sliced bread."

President and CEO of Midwest Gloves and Gear Steve Franke also spoke, saying that the company supported the making of the documentary because it was important to the community. "We supported the sliced bread documentary for our current and past employees," Franke said. "We've supported over the last decade about $3 million in charitable contributions and we felt this one was important to the community. This is important for Chillicothe because it's really our home, and the home of all of our employees."

Ripley said she was pleased with the documentary. "The documentary went beyond all of my expectations. Randy Mason and his team from KCPT embraced the project from the start and took the time to get to the heart of our community."

Mason said the documentary will air on KCPT in early 2014 and will eventually be shown regionally.

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