In recent years, as his father sold the Encino house and moved to another home not very far from the exhibit, the collection was mostly locked away in a half-dozen storage spaces. “The ones you drive by on the freeway with a crystal meth guy on one side, stolen goods on the other and Dumbo in the middle,” Richard Kraft said.
And his company, Kraft-Engel Management, now not only represents such disparate clients as Moby, Marc Shaiman, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, but also produces theatrical endeavors using their work.
Mr. Kraft has overseen various Disney spectaculars at the Hollywood Bowl, including a 2016 screening and concert of “The Little Mermaid” featuring Sara Bareilles, and, this past spring, of “Beauty and the Beast” with Zooey Deschanel.
“All of a sudden, making things became more interesting than owning things,” Mr. Kraft said. “It all started to make sense.”
Given Mr. Kraft’s innate showmanship, he was bound not to simply get rid of his treasure trove, but, as he said, “give it a grand bon voyage party.” Thus this large-scale exhibit overseen by Mike Van Eaton, the owner of a gallery also in Sherman Oaks, and a series of special events such as a retro-Disneyland slide show by Mr. Phoenix, a signing by the midcentury modern artist Josh Agle (known as Shag), a presentation by the film critic Leonard Maltin and various concerts.
“Richard is almost manic in his quest that people have a good time,” Mr. Agle said. At the exhibit, he added, “Richard walks up to strangers and tells them about a piece they’re looking at, and many times they don’t even know it’s his collection. He’s like Willy Wonka giving a tour of his factory.”