The Nonchalantdad: Art Clokey and the Birth of Gumby
News arrived today of the passing of the creator of those endearing bendable figures known widely as 'Gumby and Pokey'. It is amazing to be reminded that Art Clokey created these characters (with his wife Ruth) almost 60 years ago now - apparently creating them near the end of his studies at USC for a student project, then debuting the idea on none other than the 'Howdy Doody Show' (how's that for giving you a sense of time!).
I must admit to you that without Gumby I might not have survived my earliest childhood. Gumby was surreal enough to my 4 year old mind to make perfect sense in my convoluted household. His continued optimism throughout his journeys and experiences with his sidekick Pokey helped me endure when otherwise things might have been very fuzzy for this four year old. And, who can ever forget that first taste of pure 'evil' imagined in the form of the 'Blockheads' - creating havoc wherever they happened to follow!
It is also worth noting that Mr Clokey also later created the stop-motion duo called Davey and Goliath - each episode packed with an incredible moral lesson. For some reason, I will never be able to forget Goliath's voice when he would call out Davey's name ..... 'Dayyyyy iii veeee'. I also seem to remember, unlike Gumby, that Davey and Goliath would come on the television very very early in the morning.
We tend to forget things like this after so many years move past us. But, the news of Clokey's passing suddenly brought back the experience loud and clear. And, it is worth remembering the beginning of clay animation at a time near the new birth of such shows as Toy Story and the Incredibles. If you aren't familiar with our surreal little friends Gumby and Pokey (and all their sidekicks) then I suggest you take a little peak to see some beautiful artistic history in all its simplicity. Thank you Art and Ruth! I mean it......