The first 20 years of Imagination Movers: Disney show, long tours, arrest during a video shoot | Keith Spera


Children’s music quartet The Imagination Movers aren’t particularly gangster. In fact, a tour bus driver named Zeus, whose previous clients included Snoop Dogg, declared the Movers “the most boring band in the world” for their lack of bawdiness on the road.

But someone was arrested during an Imagination Movers video shoot a long time ago.

In the early 2000s, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, which was still in the Warehouse District at the time, allowed fledgling Movers to use the museum for a late-night filming session.

After the shooting around 2 a.m., a passing police officer spotted the Movers, in their signature blue jumpsuits, carrying props out of the museum and loading them into the trunk of a car.

“I’m sure it looked fishy,” mover Scott Durbin said recently. “There were a lot of red flags.”

The cop stopped and questioned everyone. In what later turned out to be a case of mistaken identity and mishandled paperwork, the video’s director was handcuffed and arrested.

As Durbin recalled, “we saw him drive off in the back of a squad car, his jaw dropping.”

That mistake aside, Louisiana’s Children’s Museum and the Imagination Movers have had a long and mutually beneficial history together.

The Imagination Movers perform at Gentilly Stage during the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 29, 2018.

That story continues on Saturday when the four main movers — Durbin, Dave Poche, Scott “Smitty” Smith and Rich Collins — plus “Farmer” drummer Kyle Melancon perform outside at the Louisiana Children’s Museum, which now sits in City Park.

The Movers’ first show in New Orleans since the pandemic began kicks off the museum’s summer season as well as the band’s 20th anniversary year. The festivities – “play, games and summer activities and cool treats” – start at 9.30am; the movers must arrive at 1 p.m. Tickets for anyone 12 months and older are $6 for museum members, $20 for non-members.

Initial support from the Louisiana Children’s Museum provided crucial “proof of concept” for the movers, Durbin said. “We aligned with the museum’s vision of uplifting and celebrating families and children.

“And here we are again to celebrate 20 years with them.”

Take a break with Elmo

Collins, Durbin, Poche and Smith, friends and neighbors of Lakeview, formed the Movers in 2003 to inspire children’s creativity with songs that parents might also enjoy. Paying their dues, they sang about healthy snacks and taking medicine at backyard birthday parties.

During a morning break, the Louisiana Children’s Museum booked the Movers as the opening act for “Sesame Street” Muppet Elmo’s keynote address at a conference for children’s museum trustees. This exhibition led to the Movers being invited to perform at museums across the country.

The Movers eventually sold tens of thousands of their award-winning, independently released CDs and DVDs. Between 2008 and 2013, Disney Junior aired three seasons of the eponymous live-action show “Imagination Movers.” In each episode, recorded on a soundstage in Harahan, the Movers confronted and resolved “idea emergencies” inside their idea warehouse. The slapstick humor stopped long enough for the Movers to perform original songs they wrote specifically for each episode.

The show has been translated into over 20 languages ​​and has won The Movers an international following. They toured the world from Dubai to the White House, playing to over a million fans and filling theater-sized venues as Walt Disney Records released the Movers albums.


Scott Durbin of The Imagination Movers approaches fans to greet them during the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 29, 2018.

Disney’s decision not to produce a fourth season of the series could have doomed the Movers. But Collins, Poche, Durbin and Smith found ways to keep going. They financed the recording costs of their albums “Licensed to Move” and “10-4”, as well as a five-song 2021 EP, “Happy To Be Here”.

They recently raised $40,000 through crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo to fund their upcoming album and other music videos. The plan is to release the album of new songs, along with a compilation of other bands featuring Movers’ songs, during the band’s 20th anniversary year.

“We always have people who are passionate about what we do,” Durbin said. “We are so lucky to be able to continue to do so.”

From Alaska to Hawaii

They always travel for concerts. Armed Forces Entertainment, the Department of Defense agency that provides entertainment to troops on bases around the world, recently booked the Movers for eight shows in Alaska and Hawaii. “It was an interesting trip to prepare for,” Durbin noted.

Meanwhile, the four movers have returned to the jobs they had before the Disney deal. “Everything is on a loop,” Durbin said. “We started with side gigs and we’re back to the same side gigs.”

Smith is a firefighter. Poche is an architect. Collins is a writer/editor who also performs and records as a solo artist. he had a solo concert at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2022.

Durbin is an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and coordinator of the university’s music business program. His actual experience in the music business – touring, releasing and marketing music, lawsuits with former managers, etc. – contributes to discussions with students.

The music industry is constantly changing, so Movers continue to adapt. They are in the process of consolidating their back catalog. The rights to the Movers’ first three albums – ‘Good Ideas’, ‘Calling All Movers’ and ‘Eight Feet’ – recently reverted to the Disney group.


Scott Durbin of The Imagination Movers performs in the crowd at the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 29, 2018.

They hope to launch new projects with other partners, as they, and not Disney, own much of the intellectual property associated with the group, including the Imagination Movers name and the distinctive blue jumpsuits.

They also own the name of Warehouse Mouse, their puppet sidekick, but Disney owns the image of the mouse that appeared on the show. So they could bring back Warehouse Mouse for a Movers movie, but he should have a different look than he did on the Disney Junior show.

All 76 episodes are available again on the Disney+ streaming service. Movers’ songs — they’ve written more than 250 original compositions — continue to populate SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live playlist.

Thus, new generations of fans are still discovering the Movers, real humans in a universe of children’s entertainment dominated by puppets and cartoons.

And, as evidenced by the Movers’ performance at the 2019 Austin City Limits Festival in Texas, the nostalgic middle and high school fans who first cheered on the Movers while kids still come out to see them.

“It’s crazy to see so many fans,” Durbin said. “The fact that it’s been 20 years and we’re still going says a lot about what we’re doing. We wanted to do it the right way and for the right reasons. Our mission has always been consistent.

“We have climbed the mountain and we are on the other side. But we are always creative and people always react to it.

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