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Walt Disney's train artwork and memorabilia to go on display in L.A.

October 20, 2009 |  9:30 am

Mickey Anyone who has visited a Disney theme park can attest to the preponderance of rail transportation -- whether it's the traditional locomotives found in various amusement park rides or the sleek monorails that shuttle visitors from one attraction to another.

Walt Disney's lifelong fascination with trains is well documented. Starting Wednesday, those of us in L.A. will be able to get a glimpse of some of his personal train memorabilia and artwork in an exhibition opening at the Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park.

The show, which runs for one week only, will feature about two dozen items, including rare animation sketches and cells, historic photography and some of Walt Disney’s personal train-related artifacts. As part of the exhibition, there will be photographs of Disney riding the “Lilly Belle” train -- his backyard locomotive named after his wife -- and Mickey Mouse rushing to catch a train in an early animation sketch from "Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip" (1940).

This being a Disney event, there is a corporate promotional tie-in. The show, which is sponsored by Disney Consumer Products, is intended to coincide with a new Disney train toy hitting retail shelves as well as the broadcast of a new television special, "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Choo Choo Express," which will air on the Disney Channel on Oct. 25.

The traveling exhibition began in Kansas City, Mo., where Disney grew up. The exhibition pulled up stakes and moved cross country to L.A.

Wednesday's opening will be a private ceremony -- a certain large, anthropomorphic rodent will be in attendance -- taking place from 10 a.m. to noon.

-- David Ng

Photo: An undated sketch featuring Mickey Mouse and Pluto ready for a train trip in Pomona. Credit: Walt Disney

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