Clarence Augustus "Gus"
White, born in 1859, in Goshen New York. Gus went to a Fair when
he was 17 years old, and saw a Punch and Judy Show. He came away
saying, “I can do better than that!” And proceeded to do so!
Young Gus carved the puppets
out of wood, built a theatre, painted the scenery, and created
“Gus White’s Punch and Comic Family”, working only from his
memory of that show. For the next half century, Gus traveled
with his one-man production, up and down the East Coast to
places as far away as Boston, Cleveland, New York City and
Canada. But he always returned to his home base of Goshen, where
he practiced the trade of sign painting. When Punch and Judy’s
popularity waned, he painted signs, full time, until he died, at
the age of 75, in 1934. Gus was buried in an
unmarked pauper’s grave, beneath a tree in the State Hill
Cemetery in Goshen.
There was a fire, in 1905, in
which some of the puppets were destroyed. But Gus was doing a
show, elsewhere, at the time, and the stage and most of the cast
of “Little People” survived.
Except from The Mel
Gus White, American Punch & Judy man,
and his "Comic Family". Circa 1890
Gus White's Remaining Puppets -
Gus White (Clarence August White)
1859-1934 From Goshen, NY. American Punch Prof
for 40 years
Gus was a quick sketch
artist of great prowess. One highlight of the show took place
when Punch drew caricatures of famous people and members of the
audience. Gus had fashioned a special attachment that enabled
Punch to hold a piece of charcoal. And so, while Gus peeked
through a hole in the curtain, to secretly see the subject,
Punch did the drawing.
Except from The
Mel Birnkrant Collection
MEL BIRNKRANT COLLECTION
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