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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 Birnkrant Collection  

 

 

 

Gus White, American Punch & Judy man, and his "Comic Family". Circa 1890


 

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Gus White's Remaining Puppets - American Punch Professor 1859-1934


 

 

 

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


 

 

           

 

THE MEL BIRNKRANT COLLECTION

 


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