Ron Lee's World of Clowns Factory Tour, Henderson, Nevada (closed)
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
 
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Ron Lee is the creator of a series of soft-metal hand-painted statues.  Most of the statues have a clown theme.  Ron created the "Hobo Joe" clown persona which appears in many of the clown statues.  A contractual arrangement has been made with Warner brothers to allow Ron to create Warner Brothers cartoon character statues, such as Daffy Duck and the Road Runner. 

Ron Lee first set up operations in Burbank, California.  The operation was moved to Chatsworth, California and subsequently to Simi Valley California.  In 1994 the operation was moved again to a spectacular facility in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas.  Each move was to a location with less population density and lower costs. This pattern suggests reclusive and misanthropic behavior. 

Inexplicably, around 2008, the operation moved back to the original location in Burbank, California. In keeping with the reclusive and misanthropic themes, access is by appointment only, and the exact location is not revealed. Refer to links on the bottom of this article.

The Ron Lee World of Clowns Henderson Nevada facility on Carousel Parkway was a masterpiece of industrial design, obviously custom constructed for the Ron Lee operation.  The building is set back far from main road, between very large undeveloped parcels.  The result of the location selection was palpable isolation, consistent with the recluse theme.  

The factory portions of Ron Lee's World of Clowns Henderson Nevada facility all had a plate glass wall adjacent to a hallway which allows the public access to a self-guided factory tour.  In addition to the factory, the Ron Lee Henderson facility included a large gift shop, display cases for statues, a cafeteria, administrative offices, and a carousel.  The carousel was roped off and apparently is never operated. 

Since the Henderson Nevada facility has been abandoned, the self-guided factory tour is no longer available.  At one time there was a gift shop address on Commercial Way.  The factory on Carousel Parkway off West Warm Springs Road may or may not be in operation, but it is closed to the public. It would be likely that the entire large parcel bordered by West Warm Springs Road, North Gibson Road, Kelso Dunes Avenue, and Marks Street was or is owned by Ron Lee. The only building on this large parcel was the Ron Lee factory, striking in a highly developed area.

Ron Lee's World of Clowns is a study in contradictions.  A factory built from the ground up to facilitate public tours, designed by a misanthrope, no longer accessible to the public.  A carousel which is never used.  A series of corporate relocations to more and more isolated areas.  A child-oriented clown-themed product sold as adult collectibles.  A retail product dependent on public distribution made by a recluse.  

In a concerted effort at obfuscation, two web pages at Ron Lee web link A and Ron Lee web link B are needed to form a complete picture of the current operation. These pages indicate that Ron Lee's World of Clowns and the Ron Lee Art Studio are now located in Burbank, California. Hours are daily M-F and "Ron is there daily to visit with his collectors," but by appointment only. The exact address is not revealed to anyone who does not know the secret handshake.

 

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