"Will it play in Peoria?" was an old Vaudeville phrase meaning, "Will it appeal to the average person?" The Illinois city has gained fame through the years, but more often as the butt of jokes or as an example of the typical Middle American town than through any recognition of its many accomplishments. But it had greatness in its grasp, and more than once. Peoria boasts a string of close brushes with prosperity, any one of which could have made it a Chicago or a St. Louis. Charles Lindbergh, for example, first approached Peoria for backing for his historic flight, but the town's moneymen refused him and his Spirit of Peoria, perhaps losing a chance at the airline industry as well.