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Omaha Pop Culture

The whole of Omaha, or at least the female half of the population, was in a swoon when it was announced that George Clooney would be starring in a movie set in the city. Unfortunately, “Up In The Air” was shot predominantly in St. Louis, although Omaha’s Eppley Field and the Old Market area benefited from a few days in the glow of Hollywood’s spotlights. Jack Nicholson was in town when shooting “About Schmidt” on location here Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon were here for “Election.” And Sean Penn came to Omaha for “The Indian Runner.” Each of these movies shows only a bit of Omaha, but they’re a great conversation opener with locals who appeared in them. Filmmaking in Nebraska began with “Boys Town,” the classic starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney that was released in 1938. Shot entirely on location at Boys Town in Omaha, the movie and its sequel, “The Men of Boys Town” (1941) helped to create one of the top attractions in the city.  One of the best places to see and support Nebraska-made films is the Omaha Film Festival, held each year in late February or early March. And if you are a fan of programming on the Animal Planet channel, you’re already in touch with “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” a wildlife program funded since 1963 by one of the city’s premiere companies. Historically, Omaha has a reputation as a destination for jazz lovers, but in recent years, the city developed a large independent band scene, thanks in large part to the Saddle Creek Record label. To learn more about the history of Omaha and little tidbits of folklore from the area, find a copy of “Above All Others on a Stream,” published by the Douglas County Historical Society.