- February 22nd to add an additional comment from Matt DiSero.
- February 17th to include comments from Matt DiSero and Jeff Pinsky.
- February 15th: Correspondence from James Randi added to the comments.
- February 14th to include the second last paragraph and bullet list of related links.]
I had the pleasure of making Mr. Leonard's acquantaince through Toronto's Hat and Rabbit club. He was always a true gentleman, the likes of which are rare these days. As I sat through his Broken Wand ceremony, I was deeply moved by the impact he had on the lives around him. I attended an art showing of his, in his memory, and was awestruck by his talent and passion for painting.
The following is a guest post from an author who wishes to be known as The Magic Demon.
REMEMBERING RON LEONARD (1923-1998)
by The Magic Demon
I remember writing a fan letter to Ron in care of the Uncle Bobby show and getting back an autographed 8x10 b&w photograph and a very kind handwritten reply encouraging me in the hobby of magic. In today's digital world full of instantaneous tweets and e-mails it's perhaps hard to imagine the sheer joy of receiving a snailmailed letter like that after anxiously waiting several weeks. Even after all these years I can still recall that he generously provided details about Ring 17 (which I was too young at the time to join) as well as what was then Toronto's only magic retail outlet, The Arcade Magic & Novelty Shop (now long vanished.)
If you do a search on line on Ron Leonard today you are more likely to find references to his much sought-after artwork than his magic. His magic seems to have been only a part-time profession for most of his life which he juggled alongside his other avocation (painting) and a full-time day job.
Among the few notable magic-related on line links about Ron that I've found to date:
- His listing at the Canadian Magicians' Archive;
- A fun colour screenshot of Ron and Uncle Bobby captured mid-performance (circa probably mid to late 1970s);
- Ron's writeup at Genii magazine's Magicpedia (which appears to have been inspired by this post);
- A b&w publicity photo of Ron with other performers on the Uncle Bobby show in their prime (circa probably mid to late 1970s);
- A reference from his friend James Randi about Ron's suggestion to modify Randi's $10,000 psychic challenge;
- And according to this site, Ron volunteered secrets learned from The Great Raymondo's protege to David Ben for the opening effect in Ben's stage show "The Conjuror".
Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Ron Leonard in person he seemed to be a genuinely nice man as well as being a talented and very entertaining magician.