Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
Every small town has folks who stand out, no matter what. Some for good reasons, some for bad; some because they make their life unique and colorful.
We frequented Westmoreland, Kan., when my kids were younger. It is where my in-laws grew up and went to school. My children’s great grandparents lived there, and we would make the trip several times a year. On a side street, painted on the small garage was a sign that proclaimed The Great Wiziardes they were a traveling novelty circus with a trapeze act. From these folks came our very own Whizzo the clown. He was on TV here in the Kansas City area till his death in 1987.
Our own town had a very special man with many, many talents. His name was Leonard Sebring. The little house at 204 W. Main was his home. Have you ever driven by and wondered why it looked like the one from Sleeping Beauty? Well, that gentleman was an illustrator and animator for Walt Disney studio’s from 1933 to 1941. There is a very good site if you do an internet search for him. It shows all of the shorts and animated features he worked on.
I was never around him, but I had a classmate who was a friend of his and another classmate who had some of his art work.
Curtis Duncan, class of 1972, now lives in Goodland, Kan. He is the radio guy out there, has been the voice of KLOE-KKCI for a long time. This is what Curtis had to say about Leonard (Lem.”Leonard’s brain was in high gear for seeing this world in ways many would never think of. He might view you as a cartoon character….and use your “likeness” in a greeting card on your birthday.”
Lem was also a fixture of sorts at Charlie’s barbershop back in the day.
He also had a talent for making player piano rolls. These are the paper spools used in old player pianos. The notes are cut into the paper to be read and translated into the tune.
The Gardner Historical Museum is planning an exhibit of Mr. Sebring’s work. They are calling out to all the folks who might have something that was made by him. They would also like to publish a book containing his accomplishments.
So if you knew him or if your folks and grandparents knew him contact Laura McCarthy at the museum. The number is 913-856-4447. Give them a hand with this project. This salute to one of our colorful citizens could be the best and biggest one they have ever undertaken.