Davey and Goliath

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Davey and Goliath
Genre Animation
Christian
Created by Art Clokey
Ruth Clokey
Dick Sutcliffe[1]
Starring Dick Beals
Norma MacMillan
Hal Smith
Nancy Wible
Ginny Tyler
Country of origin USA
No. of episodes 72
Production
Producer(s) United Lutheran Church in America
Running time 15 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Syndicated

Davey and Goliath is a 1960s stop-motion animated children's Christian television series. The programs, produced by the Lutheran Church in America (now a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), were produced by Art Clokey after the success of his Gumby series.

Each 15-minute episode features the adventures of Davey Hansen and his "talking" dog Goliath (although only Davey and the viewer can hear him speak) as they learn the love of God through everyday occurrences. Many of the episodes also feature Davey's parents John and Elaine, his sister Sally, as well as Davey's friends: Jimmy, Teddy and Nathaniel in earlier episodes, Jonathan, Jimmy, Nicky (who looked a lot like Teddy) and Cisco on later ones (all were members of the "Jickets" club).

The introductory music is based on the popular Christian hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", written by Martin Luther around 1529 (in German, "Ein feste Burg").

The show was aimed at a youth audience, and generally dealt with issues such as respect for authority, sharing and prejudice.[2] Eventually these themes included serious issues such as racism, death, religious intolerance and vandalism. In general, the characters found themselves in situations that had to be overcome by placing their faith in God.[2] Davey's friends Nathaniel (in the 1960s episodes) and Jonathan Reed (in the 1970s episodes) were black, and were some of the first black characters to appear as friends of a television show's lead character.[3]

The Davey and Goliath series lasted until 1965 originally, but several holiday 30-minute special episodes were created in the late 1960s. The series resumed with some new characters in 1971 and continued until 1973. In 1975, a final 30-minute summer episode was created. In 2004, Art Clokey's son Joe produced a new episode, "Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas." Alison Arngrim, who played the character Nellie Oleson on the television series Little House on the Prairie, has spoken about her Lutheran parents being involved heavily with the show.

Critics cite the show as tastefully prompting the spiritual curiosity of children, without coming off as preachy.[2]

History[edit]

In 1958, Franklin Clark Fry, president of the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA), put aside $1 million to fund production of a future television program for children. Soon after, the ULCA contracted with Clokey Productions, Inc., headed by Gumby creators Art and Ruth Clokey, to create a new children’s show: Davey and Goliath. Scripts were written by children’s book author Nancy Moore in consultation with the church; Moore would go on to pen several episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The ULCA and Art Clokey teamed up to make the first Davey and Goliath episode in 1960, called "Lost in a Cave." In this premiere episode, the figures were entirely clay (with some latex/rubber clothing showing visible seams) and the scenery was also mostly clay. The early voices included Hal Smith (who did a number of voices including Davey's father), Dick Beals (who was Davey's voice) and Ginny Tyler (who did the voice of Sally's and Davey's mother). These three did many other voices as well.

After making "Lost in a Cave" in 1960, Clokey made "The Wild Goat", "Stranded on an Island" and "The Winner" in 1961. In these episodes, the clay figures were now clothed, and more model buildings and trees were added, making the episodes look somewhat more realistic. In 1961, the series of these four episodes began airing free on local television stations nationwide, ranging from ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates to independent stations. Many of these stations ran these episodes leading into network Saturday-morning lineups. Other stations ran them in religious Sunday-morning lineups between various evangelists' programs. By 1964, the show was airing in over 90% of U.S. television markets.

In 1962, about eight more 15-minute episodes were made, including "All Alone", "The Polka Dot Tie", "On the Line" and "The Pilgrim Boy". By then, the clay figures had established looks and consistent sizes, and the scenery had became slightly more realistic. At the close of episodes, "The End" was now displayed in regular print, rather than the Davey & Goliath logo-type print. All the episodes made up to this point were known as Series 1. The background music used on this show originated from sources such as The Capitol Hi-Q Production Music Library, which could be heard on shows like Ozzie & Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, Dennis The Menace and other 1950s sitcoms. A few of these background tracks could also be heard on 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

From 1962 to 1963, another 13 episodes were made, including "The Waterfall", "The Bell-Ringer", "The Silver Mine", "Ten Little Indians" and "Dog Show". Nancy Wible was now providing voices for female characters such as Davey's mother. Norma MacMillan (who also provided various cartoon-character voices such as that of Sweet Polly Purebred on Underdog) could also be heard as the voice of numerous child and female characters. Davey's personality had become slightly tougher and, within a couple of episodes, rebellious. Overall, Davey's character remained good-natured. These episodes were added to distribution shortly after they were made. The precise chronological order in which the episodes were produced and aired is unknown.

From 1963 to 1964, another series of 13 episodes, including "Happy Landing", "The Big Apple", "Bully Up a Tree", "'Good' Neighbor" and "Rags and Buttons" were made. Davey was slightly larger but the scope of the show itself involved no big changes. At the end of 1964, production on Davey and Goliath wound down. In some episodes (e.g. "'Good' Neighbor"), in addition to the "The End" placard, a screen showed that the show was produced in association with the United Lutheran Church in America.

In 1965, a 30-minute Christmas special called "Christmas Lost and Found" was made. The episode was more overtly religious in nature and distanced itself from traditional Christmas figures such as Santa Claus and Rudolph, with religious Christmas songs included. This would also be the last episode featuring Dick Beals as the voice of Davey.

In the late 1960s, more 30-minute specials were made, including "Happy Easter" (1967), "New Year Promise" (1967) and "Halloween Who-Dun-It" (1968). By now Davey was closer to junior high-school age and was voiced by Norma MacMillan. "Happy Easter" confronted the death of a loved one, as Davey's beloved grandmother dies suddenly (off camera) within hours of a fun-filled visit.

After these four specials, the ULCA and Clokey Productions began funding another series of episodes in 1971. At this point, only Norma MacMillan and Hal Smith did voices. In these episodes, Davey was junior high-school age and occasionally became very rebellious. His antics included pouring paint in a water well, hanging from a dinosaur's head in a museum, telling a handicapped child to shoot himself for being so "dumb" and cheating on tests in school. This Davey had a totally different personality from the Davey portrayed in the 1960s. Norma MacMillan continued to do the voice of Davey. Racism, gangs, conservation, crime and other serious, timely issues became topics for the series. Episodes included "Blind Man's Bluff", "Finders Keepers", "Who's George?", "Who Me?", "Help!" and "The Stopped Clock". The openings were also changed, featuring updated music. Background music was also different from the 1960s series, with some overlap. Midway through this series, Davey's black friend Jonathan Reed was introduced. Jonathan came from a nearby city, and both characters went to school together.

In 1972, another 30-minute special, "School...Who Needs It?", was aired. Also that year, the final regular series of episodes was produced. Jonathan appeared in most of the episodes. 1972's episodes included "Whatshisname", "The Zillion Dollar Combo", "The Watchdogs" and "Chicken". In 1973, the series wound down once again, but in 1975 a 30-minute summer camp special called "To The Rescue" was made. This special marked the end of the production of the series in its first incarnation.

After an almost 30-year hiatus, Davey and Goliath were next seen as part of a Mountain Dew commercial in 2001, with the royalties from the commercial used to fund the production of the 2004 Christmas special entitled Davey & Goliath's Snowboard Christmas. This holiday special addressed both religious and ethnic diversity. Because most of the original voice cast were no longer alive (Hal Smith having died in 1994, and Norma MacMillan in 2001), new voice actors played the roles. This episode took advantage of advances in animation technology using updated graphics and scenery as well. It was 45 minutes long and aired for a full hour including commercials. Until that point, commercials had never aired during any episode.

Television airing[edit]

In some markets, Davey and Goliath aired multiple stations. In New York City, for example, it aired simultaneously on three stations: WOR-TV, WABC-TV, and WPIX. WPIX aired only one episode per week, while WOR-TV and WABC-TV ran two episodes back-to-back in a 30-minute time slot. For a short while, WABC-TV and WOR-TV aired the show in the same time slot but aired different episodes, though all three stations ran all the episodes available. WOR-TV dropped the show in 1985. WABC-TV dropped it in 1987 while continuing to air holiday specials until the mid-1990s. WPIX dropped it in 1990. Also, in the 1970s the show aired in the Los Angeles on KCOP-TV. In most cases, the shows were run in chronological groups.

In the 1980s, commercial stations began gradually dropping the series. Religious stations picked it up in many markets and ran it in their blocks of Christian children's programs. By 1990 only a handful of commercial stations still aired the series, including WKBW-TV, which aired it as part of its Commander Tom Show/Rocketship 7 compilation programming. When the series began airing on religious stations, some episodes were gradually dropped. They included "The Polka Dot Tie" (which addresses racism in an indirect way), "On the Line" (potentially frightening for some children), "Ten Little Indians" (for its reference to "Indians"), "Man of the House" (showing the children being left home alone at what may be perceived as too young an age) and "The Gang" (violence). Commercial stations, however, continued running these episodes throughout the 1980s until they dropped the series altogether.

In the early 1990s, those five episodes were officially pulled from syndication and not available to stations regardless of their format (whether religious or secular commercial stations, though very few commercial stations ran it anyway). In the 1990s the show aired strictly on religious stations, including Baptist-based services such as FamilyNet, ecumenical religious networks such as VISN/ACTS (now Hallmark Channel, Pentecostal-based services like Trinity Broadcasting Network, Roman Catholic tele-ministries like CatholicTV Network, EWTN (which had also aired the series in the mid-1980s but no longer airs it), a few local diocesan cable Catholic channels other and religious independent stations.

"Man of the House" and "On the Line" had been revived on Trinity Broadcasting beginning in 2006. In the last few years, however, several of the later episodes have been withdrawn due to some behaviors demonstrated on these episodes are considered by some to be "politically incorrect". These episodes are "The Watchdogs" (due to its topic of violent crime), "Whatshisame" (due to the nature of threats that Davey makes to take revenge on someone), "Louder Please" (due to Davey's attitude toward handicapped people), "Help!" (because a character came extremely close to a death-causing injury), and "Down on the Farm" (for one very brief scene in which a naked Davey goes skinny-dipping, thought to be too casual a reference to childhood nudity). "Pilgrim Boy" was withdrawn from television due to negative references to American Indians.

The show continued to air on CatholicTV Network until late in 2009, on Tri-State Christian Television also until 2010 and still airs on a few local Christian television stations. In 2004 and 2005, when Hallmark aired a Christmas special and the 1967 "Happy Easter" episode, they aired the program with several commercial breaks. Until then no station, commercial or noncommercial, had run commercials during an airing of an episode.

Hallmark aired the entire series commercial-free until 2001. Since then, Hallmark only aired a few of the holiday specials, as well as the Snowboard Christmas special made in 2004.

In 2008, iTunes began offering episodes as free downloads. By December of that year, more than 20 episodes had been made available. Today they cost 99 cents each.

The series continues to be shown on TBN Saturday afternoons, and during the week it is seen on the TBN-owned Smile of a Child network, which is carried on digital subchannels of TBN affiliates.

The Snowboard Christmas special of 2004[edit]

In this special, Davey demonstrates his snowboarding expertise to two friends: Sam, a Jewish boy, and Yasmeen, a Muslim girl.

During the course of the show, they get caught in an avalanche and end up in a cave. Goliath goes for help while Davey and his new friends find out that they really aren't all that different.

The three children wind up learning of each other's holiday celebrations: Jewish Hanukkah, Christian Christmas and Muslim Eid.

Home video[edit]

In 1986 the Program Source began distributing the first 13 episodes of the series minus "The Polka Dot Tie". Also, all five holiday specials were made available. These were distributed for sale on VHS tapes. Mail-order services also made a few episodes available.

In the mid-1990s, other episodes were distributed on VHS tapes. In 2000, various episodes were released on DVDs showcasing a particular theme. In 2004 and 2005, most episodes were released on various DVD compilations. At the end of July 2006, it was announced that a new compilation would be released titled Davey & Goliath: The Lost Episodes, which was intended to include the episodes "Cousin Barney", "Polka Dot Tie", "Pilgrim Boy", "10 Little Indians", "Down On The Farm", "The Gang", "Louder Please", "Help", "The Watchdogs" and "What's His Name." The producers changed the names of two of these episodes in the release (e.g. "The Gang" to "The Jickets"), making them more politically correct. This compilation was originally scheduled for release on September 19, 2006 by Starlite Video and then postponed several times. In April 2009, Celebrity Video Distribution (CVD) released the collection. "Polka Dot Tie", "The Gang", "Help", "Louder Please" and "Watchdogs" were unedited. "Down On The Farm" was edited by about five seconds to excise a scene showing an unclothed Davey jumping into a lake. "Pilgrim Boy" and "Cousin Barney" had scenes making negative references to American Indians edited out, adding up to over a minute each. "10 Little Indians" had its title changed to "Ten Pin Alley", with all references to the word "Indian", as well as brief scenes with an Indian boy picking up bowling pins, were deleted, leaving the episode without a minute of footage. "Whatshisname" was edited by one minute to remove a scene in which Davey threatens to pour molasses on another boy and then cover him with feathers.

Bridgestone Multimedia Group released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in 12-volume collections between 2011 and 2012. Released in honor of the series' 50th anniversary, the disc sets were distributed with "50th Anniversary Edition" labeling. The series is in a somewhat chronological order, though the original TV series' exact episode sequence is not known.

Bridgestone Entertainment DVD Series

Volume Episodes Series
1 Lost in a Cave, The Wild Goat, Stranded on an Island, The Winner, Cousin Barney, The New Skates 1
2 The Kite, The Mechanical Man, All Alone, The Time Machine, On the Line, The Polka Dot Tie 1
3 The Pilgrim Boy, The Silver Mine, Sudden Storm, Ten Pin Alley (formerly Ten Little Indians), The Bell-Ringer, Boy Lost 1 & 2
4 Officer Bob, The Runaway, Not for Sale, The Shoemaker, The Parade, Dog Show 2
5 The Waterfall, Down on the Farm, Man of the House, Happy Landing, Bully Up a Tree, Editor in Chief 2 & 3
6 The Big Apple, The Bridge, The Jickets (formerly The Gang), Hocus Pocus, Lemonade Stand, "Good" Neighbor 3
7 A Diller, A Dollar, Rags and Buttons, Jeep in the Deep, The Stopped Clock, Who Me?, To The Rescue (Summer Special) 3 & 4
8 If at First You Don't Succeed, Kookaburra, Finders Keepers, The Caretakers, The Hard Way, Halloween Who-Dun-It Special 4
9 Blind Man's Bluff, The Greatest, Rickety-Rackety, Boy in Trouble, Help!, Christmas Lost and Found (Special) 4
10 Louder Please, The Zillion Dollar Combo, Six-Seven-Six-Three, Upside Down and Backwards, Who's George?, New Year Promise (Special) 4 & 5
11 Whatshisname, Kum Ba Yah, Chicken, Ready or Not, Pieces of Eight, Happy Easter (Special) 5
12 The Watchdogs, Come, Come To The Fair, Doghouse Dreamhouse, Good Bad Luck, School...Who Needs It? (Special) 5

End credit issue[edit]

In the 1980s, end credits of these episodes disappeared. New prints distributed after 1984 also omitted the end credits. In the 1960s episodes, the end credits consisted of a variation on the instrumental horn and organ theme, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" (the modern form of which was written by Johann Sebastian Bach for the hymn written earlier by Martin Luther), played over Luther's seal with credits displayed. The 1970s episodes had various instrumental pieces accompanying end credits. However, the thirty-minute holiday episodes' end credits remained intact; the reason for this is unknown.

In the fall of 2005, TBN began running the episodes with the end credits included. End credits now appear on the post-2005 DVD releases from Starlight Home Entertainment.

Parodies[edit]

  • Adult Swim's Moral Orel is said to have been a darker and an adult-oriented parody on Davey and Goliath. Though it is stylistically and thematically similar, the show exaggerates the flaws of Protestantism in a way that one would now agree with Orel's (or Davey's) decisions. The show is ultimately a criticism of Protestantism using sarcasm and facetiousness.[4]
  • MADtv also parodied an episode of the series during season three, episode 25 as Davey and Goliath 2: Pet Sematary, complete with the classic stop-motion animation. The parody featured Goliath run over by a tractor-trailer truck, a motorcycle gang, and the stars of Riverdance, only to be raised from the dead in the Pet Sematary. Earlier in the series, MADtv spoofed Davey and Goliath on Season One episode 14 with Davey and Son of Goliath, alluding to the Son of Sam serial killer who claimed a talking dog had instructed him to kill.[5]

The Simpsons[edit]

The Simpsons, created by Matt Groening, who was raised Lutheran, has spoofed the series several times.

  • In the episode "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment", after watching television all night Homer appears to be watching the show. A character obviously meant to be Davey says, "We could get there quicker if we took my dad's car!" Goliath answers, "I don't knooowwww, Davey!"
  • During the episode "Bart the Lover", Maude Flanders speaks about her son Todd's TV habits: "Well, he used to watch Davey and Goliath, but he thought the idea of a talking dog was blasphemous...".
  • In the episode "HOMЯ", "Gravey and Jobriath" was a show watched by Ned Flanders and his sons at an animation festival. The episode concerned Gravey's attempts to construct a pipe bomb ("for to blow up the Planned Parenthood!"). In contrast to the traditionally animated style of The Simpsons, the segment was created using stop-motion animation much like the original series. It ended with Gravey shoving the pipe bomb into Jobriath's mouth for his "lack of faith," followed by an off-screen explosion and cheering from the Flanders children.

List of episodes[edit]

1960-62 - Series One

  1. Lost in a Cave
  2. The Wild Goat
  3. Stranded on an Island
  4. The Winner
  5. Cousin Barney
  6. The New Skates
  7. On the Line
  8. The Polka Dot Tie
  9. The Kite
  10. The Mechanical Man
  11. The Pilgrim Boy
  12. All Alone
  13. The Time Machine

1963 - Series Two

  1. The Silver Mine
  2. The Waterfall
  3. Down on the Farm
  4. The Bell-Ringer
  5. The Parade
  6. Officer Bob
  7. The Shoemaker
  8. Ten Little Indians (renamed "Tin Pin Alley")
  9. Not for Sale
  10. Dog Show
  11. Boy Lost
  12. The Runaway
  13. Sudden Storm

1964 - Series Three

  1. Man of the House
  2. Happy Landing
  3. Bully Up A Tree
  4. The Big Apple
  5. The Bridge
  6. Lemonade Stand
  7. Rags and Buttons
  8. A Diller, a Dollar
  9. Hocus Pocus
  10. Editor in Chief
  11. Jeep in the Deep
  12. The Gang (renamed "The Jickets")
  13. "Good" Neighbor

1965

  1. Christmas Lost and Found (half-hour special)

1967

  1. Happy Easter (half-hour special)

1968

  1. New Year Promise (half-hour special)

1969

  1. Halloween Who-Dun-It (half-hour special)

1970 - Series Four

  1. The Stopped Clock
  2. Who Me?
  3. If at First You Don't Succeed
  4. Kookaburra
  5. The Caretakers
  6. Finders Keepers
  7. The Hard Way
  8. Who's George?
  9. The Greatest
  10. Help!
  11. Boy in Trouble
  12. Rickety-Rackety
  13. Blind Man's Bluff

1971

  1. School...Who Needs It? (half-hour special)

1972 - Series Five

  1. Six-Seven-Six-Three
  2. Kum Ba Yah
  3. Doghouse Dreamhouse
  4. Upside Down and Backwards
  5. Good Bad Luck
  6. The Watchdogs
  7. Louder Please
  8. The Zillion Dollar Combo
  9. Pieces of Eight
  10. Chicken
  11. Come, Come to the Fair
  12. Ready or Not
  13. Whatshisname

1975

  1. To the Rescue (half-hour summer special)

2004

  1. Snowboard Christmas (hour-long special)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weber, Bruce (2008-05-25). "Dick Sutcliffe, 90, Dies; Began ‘Davey and Goliath’". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  2. ^ a b c Davis, Jeffery (1995). Children's Television 1947–1990. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-89950-911-8. 
  3. ^ "Davey & Goliath revived to teach children". MSNBC. Associated Press. December 13, 2004. 
  4. ^ http://www.adultswim.com/shows/moralorel/stuff/interview/index.html
  5. ^ http://www.planetmadtv.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3075#4

External links[edit]