Bob & Tom’s Excellent Adventures: The magic of Disney

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You don’t have to travel to Florida or California to experience the magic of Disney.

The Peoria Riverfront Museum is displaying an exhibition that came out of a Peorian’s basement. The hard work behind the art that shows dreams can come true.

Walt Disney was named the Top Entertainer in Illinois History earlier this year. His Disney Studios had 59 Oscar nominations, more than anyone else. His signature character, Mickey Mouse, was first seen in the 1928 short film, “Steamboat Willie,” a parody of a Buster Keaton film “Steamboat Bill Junior.”

Disney combined sound and an animated picture for the first time. The House of Mouse was born. Over the years, Mickey’s appearance changed as the Disney studios work got more sophisticated. That led to the Golden Age of Disney animation: 1937 to 1967. 

Now, the Peoria Riverfront Museum has an exhibition of the Disney Studio’s work. The collector is Peorian Steve Spain. For 35 years, Steve has been enjoying and collecting Disney art.

“For this show, I brought 80 pieces,” says Spain. “That’s not my whole collection, but I brought the very best.” 

“We’ve been in the planning process for this for about three years,” says Peoria Riverfront Museum Curator Lottie Phillips. “Steve had this wonderful collection and we realized it was museum quality.”

Disney is no longer just Walt, or Mickey for that matter. The Walt Disney Corporation is a $100 Billion entertainment giant of films, television, theme parks, social media, toys, and Broadway.

Looking back at the Peoria exhibition, it’s good to remember it all began with something as small as a pen and ink, and a mouse.

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