|Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflies, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.|
Augie Gomez - 1944 ... and he always pulled his hat down on his forehead.
Augustine Whitecloud Gomez
1889 ? - 1966
|Special thanks to Augie Gomez's daughters, Gale and Gerrie, for help with this webpage on their father.|
Augustine Whitecloud Gomez was another B western performer who developed riding, knife throwing and rope twirling skills on wild west shows, circuses, and the vaudeville circuit. Family consensus is that he was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and his Native American lineage was Mohawk. His birth date may be August 10, 1889 (death certificate) ... or August 10, 1899 (World War I draft registration) ... or August 10, 1900 (World War II draft registration).
Following are early mentions and timelines from tradezines, circus history publications, newspapers, and other records:
Augie may have appeared in some silent films - perhaps with Tom Mix - but am unable to confirm that. From movie sightings, we know he was working in Hollywood in the early 1930s and continued through mid 1960s films and television. And he was mostly unbilled / uncredited as a rider, henchman, townsman, barfly ... and sometimes in roles as a Mexican, Indian, or native.
Summer, 1932 newspapers had an article on Tom Mix's first talkie, DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (Universal, 1932). Riders in DESTRY included Herman Nolan (Nowlin), Joe Balch, Ed Hendershot, Henry Morris, Clyde Kinney ... and Augie Gomez. Couple years later, Augie, Hendershot, Nolan (Nowlin), and others re-connected with Mix - they were performers in the combined Sam B. Dill - Tom Mix Roundup circus which began their season in Hot Springs, Arkansas in April, 1934.
In the late 1930s, singing cowboy Tex Ritter was doing B westerns for Grand National Pictures ... and Gomez appeared in four. A friendship developed and Augie (along with Tex's movie sidekick Snub Pollard) did personal appearance tours with Ritter in 1937 and 1938.
Movie work continued and Gomez found steady employment in westerns at Republic, Monogram, and Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). His busiest period was the 1940s:
In the 1950s - mid 1960s, Augie pops up in minor, background roles in dozens of television programs including GUNSMOKE, WYATT EARP, GENE AUTRY SHOW, ROY ROGERS SHOW, RANGE RIDER, CISCO KID, DEATH VALLEY DAYS, BONANZA, lots more.
April 16, 1956 and April 30, 1956 issues of the Independent Exhibitors Film Bulletin had articles on Augie and Lillian Walker doing a three-week tour in New York state as part of a publicity campaign for 20th Century Fox's MOHAWK (1956) which starred Scott Brady, Rita Gam, and Neville Brand. The articles noted that "Gomez, who appears in the film, will do his knife-throwing act at theaters, parks, playgrounds and other public gathering places, and is due for several TV appearances en route." and "The Indians are coming back to the Mohawk Valley in New York State. A full-blooded Mohawk Indian, White Cloud, one of Hollywood's leading stunt men and a pretty Iroquois maiden, Lily, are drum-beating the area in connection with the April 100-theater saturation opening of 'Mohawk', 20th-Fox release."
A few examples of Augie on film and TV:
As to his personal life, Augie tied the knot with Marjorie Helen Flory (1908 - 1973) in 1939 in Los Angeles. On their wedding license, Augie identifies himself as divorced. Daughter Gerrie mentioned that his first wife was named "Mary" with an unknown last name. But what about that 1925 Oil City, Pennsylvania marriage to Florence Johnson? We have a mystery!
Marjorie and Augie bought a house in Van Nuys, California in the San Fernando Valley. Daughter Gale was born in 1942 and daughter Gerrie arrived in 1945.
In their later years, both Augie and Marjorie did extensive fund raising and volunteer work supporting Navajo Relief, San Fernando Valley Youth Band, local YMCA, P.T.A., Cub Scouts, more.
Suffering from heart disease, Augie passed away on January 1, 1966 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Los Angeles, California.
Augie Gomez's MOVIE stats by year. A fairly busy guy in the 1940s.Includes westerns, serials, shorts, and other films. TV shows are not included. I've used the RELEASE dates (not filming dates) from the Internet Movie Database so the results may be a little skewed. Total film count in this chart = 153.
(Courtesy of the Augie Gomez Family)
Above - Augie doing rope twirling with daughters Gale and Gerrie at their Van Nuys, California home circa late 1950s.
Augie owned or co-owned a leather / shoe repair shop and made costumes for himself and daughters. On the right is a 1948 newspaper want ad for his leather and boot shop in Van Nuys, California.
Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Augie Gomez: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0326984/
Article and photos from Augie's daughter Gerrie Gomez Dodd at the Museum of the San Fernando Valley website: http://museumsanfernandovalley.blogspot.com/2013/09/whitecloud-gomez.html
The Playbill website has Augie portraying "Sam Sundown" in the March, 1929 Broadway production of "Buckaroo" in New York City: http://www.playbill.com/person/augie-gomez-vault-0000103933
There's some clippings online at Newspapers.com:
Family Search (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), Fold3 Military records, California Death Index, death certificate, and newspaper articles provide more on Augie Gomez and family. Based on newspaper and trade articles, we know he was performing circa 1915 and later. However, his early years remain a mystery - found nothing on Augie in the 1900, 1910, 1920 or 1930 census.
Records and family trees on Ancestry.com and Family Search indicate that Augie's parents were Elizabeth Rice Simpson and Joseph R. Danay / Daney / AKA White Cloud.
Augie's releationship to the Danay family is unclear to me. And he isn't with the family in the 1910 census.
Above Christmas greeting in the December 31, 1920 issue of Variety (available at the Internet Archive). Gus Hornbrook had acts playing outdoor venues as well as vaudeville theaters, and Augie toured with Hornbrook in 1920. (Various newspapers as well as Variety and Billboard trade publications note that Hornbrook worked for P. T. Barnum, and later, he formed his own wild west show and toured for many years at fairs, rodeos, etc. in the U.S. and overseas.)
While on break from shooting his westerns for Grand National Pictures, Tex Ritter did personal appearances. On his 1937 and 1938 tours, Tex was joined by Augie Gomez, Princess White Cloud, and Snub Pollard. Above newspaper ad is for their April, 1938 tour stop and performance in Macon, Missouri.
(Courtesy of Dorothy Hack)
On the right are George Houston and Al 'Fuzzy' St. John and the still is from THE LONE RIDER IN GHOST TOWN (PRC, 1941). There's lots of faces here, and most we can identify. But there's two unidentifieds, and crops/blowups are shown below.
Left to right below are Archie Hall Sr. (mustache), a very young Lane Bradford (John Merton's son), Jack Evans (beard), unidentified (with moustache) and another unidentified (with the beard).
Left to right above are Augie Gomez, Frank Ellis (mustache), Lew Morphy, George Houston and Al 'Fuzzy' St. John. Bending over and wearing the 'stache is Budd Buster.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from left to right are Don Barry, Harry Worth and Milton Kibbee in a scene from Barry's KANSAS CYCLONE (Republic, 1941). In the background between Barry and Worth are Augie Gomez and Matty Roubert. And if you look closely between Worth and Kibbee, you might make out Eddie Dean, about five years before he became PRC's resident singin' cowboy.
(From Old Corral collection)
THE LAW RIDES AGAIN (Monogram, 1943) was the second of the Monogram Trail Blazers series, and starred Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson. Kenneth Harlan portrayed a crooked Indian Agent who is keeping promised cattle shipments from the Indians. And he was assisted by B-movie vet Jack La Rue (as an escaped convict) and other Harlan henchies were Hank Bell, John Merton and Chief Thunder Cloud. In the above lobby card, Artie Ortego is top center wearing the full headdress and has his bow and arrow at rest. Chief Many Treaties (Bill Hazlett) as 'Chief Barking Fox' is wearing the full headdress and is on the right. That may be Augie Gomez, aiming the rifle, at the bottom center of this lobby card. The other players are unidentified.
(Courtesy of Carol Murray and her "Jack Hendricks Photo Album")
Above - Marin Sais, the one-time wife of cowboy hero Jack Hoxie, has a brace of six-guns aimed at Jack Ingram and gang. From left to right are Augie Gomez, Jack Hendricks, Artie Ortego, Jack Ingram, and Herman Hack. Still from the Buster Crabbe FRONTIER OUTLAWS (PRC, 1944). Crops/blowups are shown below.
Left to right are Augie Gomez, Jack Hendricks, and Artie Ortego.
Left to right are Jack Ingram, Herman Hack, and Marin Sais.