IMAGINATION MOVERS – (from left) Scott Durbin as “Mover Scott,” Rich Collins as “Mover Rich” Dave Poche as “Mover Dave,” and (in front) Scott “Smitty” Smith as “Mover Smitty” star in “Imagination Movers” airing on Disney Channel. (DISNEY CHANNEL/BOB D’AMICO)
Imagine a natural force so massive, you fear for your life.
Now, imagine your house full of water and everything you own, lost.
Finally, imagine your dreams floating away in the flood waters and how you life would be forever changed.
The dream of becoming a family friendly rock group could have washed away with the waters of Hurricane Katrina in 2004. But for four guys, three of whom had lost their homes after the levees broke, the storm only made them more determined to succeed.
And their hard work has paid off.
Mover Scott , Mover Smitty , Mover Rich, and Mover Dave are the ones whose songs are going to get your child off the couch and dancing all over the room.
Not only are these guys musicians, but between them, they bring unique backgrounds which include teaching, search-and-rescue/fireman, architecture, English Literature, and journalism.
So how does a group like this get started?
Over birthday cake.
In 2003, “we started talking at Scott’s son’s birthday party,” Mover Rich explains in an exclusive with HMC. “We wanted to start our own kids show that combined old-school education with the rock ‘n roll we’d grown up with.”
Wanting to give kids positive male role models like they’d seen on Mister Rogers and Captain Kangaroo, the guys started brainstorming ideas and making progress.
Then the unthinkable happened.
The category five, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans dead on and “we lost our homes, and our lives were in complete chaos,” Mover Dave told us. “But the dream (of forming the Imagination Movers) was one of the few things to latch onto.”
Movers Dave, Scott, and Rich all lost their homes and Mover Smitty worked solid for two weeks following the hurricane with the search and rescue teams.
As they each built their lives back together, the guys started focusing back on the dream. “We were working the phones, making every call and contact we had,” Mover Smitty told us. “A friend who lives in New Orleans helped us get our foot in the door (at Disney).”
Now, the story could end there, the guys were picked up by one of the biggest names in entertainment and they all lived happily ever after, but it doesn’t.
Even with the chaos of the aftermath of Katrina and the threat of Gustav, the guys wanted to give back to the city who so embraced their music and ideas.
During the show, the guys have influences of the flavor of New Orleans throughout. Their theme song “Imagination Movers” rocks of classic zydeco sounds and beat.
Mover Rich uses a street set or a junk drum set to play.
Off camera, Mover Dave has used his architecture background to help with some of the post-Katrina rebuild projects. Mover Smitty is still a fireman and part of the search and rescue team.
Not only do the guys have flavors of New Orleans scattered throughout their show, their studio is located in New Orleans as well.
The Movers said it was very important for them to stay in the Big Easy because they wanted to “champion the city” during post-Katrina (and more recently Hurricane Gustav) repairs.
“We had so much support from the city, local communities,” Mover Dave said. “It’s home, it’s a unique city and completely different from any other city in the country.”
The city and people of New Orleans aren’t the only ones who’ve helped make this dream come true. “All of our wives saw the value and potential of what we were doing,” Mover Rich explains. “They have sacrificed and stayed by our sides before and after the (Katrina) storm. We have to appreciate they were willing to be daring and let us reach for our goals.”
If you like Imagination Movers, check out our interviews with Wiggles Anthony and Murray and their friend Paul Paddick AKA Captain Feathersword .