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History of Puppetry
in Canada

Harry Smith

Professional magician Harry Smith was also an occasional puppeteer. During the 1920s, while still a young man, he built a hand-puppet booth, as well as a full cast of Punch and Judy characters with which he entertained his brothers, sisters and friends. He replaced the crocodile character – which torments Punch in the traditional story – with Popeye, a cartoon character that was highly popular at the time. During the 1930s, Smith toured southern Ontario and the United States, incorporating Punch and Judy shows into his magic and fire-eating acts. In the 1940s and 1950s, he performed his Punch and Judy show at children's parties and Christmas parties. All of his puppets would be repainted, and sometimes rebuilt, during the 1950s, with the help of his wife Sophia and his son Joe.