|Born||April 27, 1920|
|Died||May 3, 1985 (age 65) |
|Resting place||Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky|
Harry Leon Collins (1920 - 1985) was a magic spokesman for the Frito-Lay company for many years.
Collins became interested in magic as a teenager after learning a trick from local attorney Edward Smith. He served as a Marine in World War II and was wounded in Saipan. While in the service he performed his magic act as part of jazz bandleader Bob Crosby's show for military troops "This Is The Army Show."
In 1952 he began work as a salesman for the Frito Lay Corporation where he would stay for 45 years. Collins became a sales manager and in 1970 was given the full time job as their corporate magician. "Mr. Magic" as he was known, toured the United States, promoting their products, doing television commercials, making appearances at supermarkets, conventions, fairs and schools. When he performed, instead of the normal magic words "hocus pocus", he would say "frito-lay!
One of his shows was attended by a young Lance Burton. Later when Burton began doing magic himself, Collins saw his devotion towards the art and became his mentor. Collins taught him the techniques and fundamentals of magic, including sleight of hand, the manipulation of playing cards, and the important art of misdirection.
Collins was a member of the Louisville Magic Club and there is a life sized statue of him at his grave site at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.