Ron Lee's World of Clowns Factory Tour, Henderson, Nevada (closed)
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
Ronald Arlan Lee July 10, 1947 – February 26, 2017. Obituary located here.
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Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward
Tbd Photograph by Jeffrey Sward  
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Jeffrey Sward is an independent photographer. Jeffrey Sward has no association with any Ron Lee organization, past or present. Jeffrey Sward has no knowledge of resale value of existing Ron Lee statues. Jeffrey Sward has no knowledge of how to repair Ron Lee statues. Jeffrey Sward has no knowledge of resources for buying or selling Ron Lee statues. Jeffrey Sward has no knowledge of Ron Lee statue collectors. Questions about Ron Lee statues, repair, or casting should be directed to the Ron Lee extant organizations at Ron Lee Sculptures at and Ron Lee Casting at

The following is a photographic documentary of the Ron Less Clown Factory when it existed in 2006 in Henderson Nevada.

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, the Ron Lee business split into separate statuary and casting companies. The successor organizations of Ron Lee's World of Clowns and the Ron Lee Art Studio are now located in Burbank, California. Up until the end of his life "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.

Ron made the original art work and molds. He hired people to cast and paint the statues. His extant casting company will do on-specification casting. Ron Lee Casting company.

Speculation about Human Motivation

"You can observe a lot by watching." – famous philosopher Yogi Berra. 

Nothing in particular happened while visiting Ron Lee's World of Clowns in Henderson Nevada.  The observations in this post were made over a period of a few years, mostly based upon the "where there is smoke there is fire" principle.  Factory production of hand-crafted quality trinkets is commonplace, witness Lladró, Hummel, and Precious Moments (also has factory tour).  The Ron Lee Henderson factory was one of the finest of its kind.    I observed in Ron in action but never spoke with him directly.

Ron Lee had a fan club which consisted of annual dues for which the subscribers would receive one promotional statue per year plus a periodic newsletter.  I was a member of this club for a few years and still have the promotional statues.  Some of the statues arrived damaged due to indifferent packaging from underpaid, underappreciated, and overworked employees.  The newsletter offered indirect information. 

Among entrepreneurs California-Business-Bashing is a common sport.  "Real estate too expensive," "wages too high," "workers are lazy,"  "cost of living too high," "material too expensive," etc.  I have listened to many diatribes along the lines of "everything is so much better after I moved my business from California to (select one or more) Nevada-Texas-Mexico-China-Vietnam-Bangladesh-etc." 

Ron was probably very happy with cost savings from the successive moves from Burbank to Chatsworth to Simi Valley to Henderson, each of which had a successively lower cost of doing business.  In addition to low cost, the Ron-Lee-created Henderson facility was spectacular in design and manufacturing efficiency, likely the very pinnacle of all Ron's dreams and aspirations.  As noted by Hamlet "ay, there's the rub."  With perfection achieved, the only thing left to do was  administer perfection in perpetuity. 

Many people seek goal after goal, hoping something will make them  happy.  Instead, it can develop into a cycle of searching for external things to fulfill and complete us.  Often reaching these heights does not  deliver happiness, but instead delivers emptiness and depression, the "arrival fallacy."  The journey is the motivation, not the destination. 



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