Tom Desch (copy)

Tom Desch films segments of “An American Home: Frank Lloyd Wright’s B. Harley Bradley House” in 2014. The filmmaker originally hails from Herscher.

KANKAKEE — A free screening of a Herscher filmmaker’s PBS documentary, “The Living One: Dick Brannan’s Rise to Drag Racing Fame,” will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in the main theater at Paramount Theatre in Kankakee.

There also will be a sneak preview of “Selling Happiness.”

The showing of two of Herscher native Tom Desch’s latest films will conclude at about 8 p.m. There is seating available for about 300.

Pat Wisniewski is co-producer of the films.

Desch, 39, is a 1998 graduate of Herscher High School.

“Selling Happiness” is a 30-minute PBS documentary which follows the risks taken by the Hofweber-Hammes family through three generations in the automotive business.

The Hammes Dealership had a location on South Indiana Avenue across from the Kankakee County Courthouse. The garage is adjacent to the Knights of Columbus Hall.

While many car manufacturers fought to rise to the top of the then-new industry in the early 1900s, another business grew out of it, the car dealer.

It would be car dealers who would connect the new machines to communities around the country. At a time when people were hesitant to trade their horses for a car, it would be the dealers who would teach people to drive.

Today, there are more than 30,000 vehicle dealerships in the U.S., but when the car was new, these entrepreneurs took a significant risk.

Throughout the 20th century, the family would adapt to the changing role of the automobile in the American society, and in doing so, changed the very industry of which they were a part.

“Selling Happiness” is the latest production between filmmakers Desch and Wisniewski and Lakeshore Public Media.

The Brannan story looks back on the racing legend who captured multiple records and led Ford Motor Co. to national prominence during the golden age of drag racing in the 1960s.

He found his biggest booster in Kankakee’s own Hammes family who sponsored his car.

Together, the duo produced the award-winning “Everglades of the North: The Story of the Grand Kankakee Marsh,” “Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability” and “An American Hoe: Frank Lloyd Wright’s B. Harley Bradley House,” and most recently the drag racing film.

All of these films have aired on the PBS stations across the U.S.

A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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