Gumby

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For other uses, see Gumby (disambiguation).
The Gumby Show
Gumby sm.png
Gumby in the episode "Lost Treasure"
Genre Comedy, Family, Animation
Created by Art Clokey[1]
Voices of Dallas McKennon (Gumby, Professor Kapp, Denali)
Art Clokey (Pokey, Prickle, Gumbo)
Gloria Clokey (Goo)
Janet McDuff (Gumba)
Ginny Tyler (Minga)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 233 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Clokey Productions
Distributor DreamWorks Classics
Broadcast
Original channel NBC (1955–1962)[2]
Syndication (1983–2003)
KTV (2012–present)
Angel Two (2012–present)
Me-TV (2012)
Picture format Color & Black & White
Audio format Mono (1955–1968)
Stereo (1988–1992)
Original run 1955 – 1992

Gumby is a green clay humanoid character created and modeled by Art Clokey, who also created Davey and Goliath.[3] Gumby has been the subject of a 233-episode series of American television as well as a feature-length film and other media.[4] Since the original series' run, he has become well known as an example of stop motion clay animation and an influential cultural icon, spawning many tributes and parodies, including a video game and toys.

Characters[edit]

Gumby's principal sidekick is Pokey, a talking orange pony. His nemeses are the Blockheads, a pair of humanoid, red-colored figures with block-shaped heads, who wreak mischief and havoc. The Blockheads were inspired by the Katzenjammer Kids, who were always getting into scrapes and causing discomfort to others.[5][6] Other characters are Gumby's dog Nopey whose entire vocabulary is the word "nope," and Prickle, a yellow dinosaur who sometimes styles himself as a detective with pipe and deerstalker hat like Sherlock Holmes.[7] Also featured are Goo, a flying blue mermaid who spits blue goo balls and can change shape at will, and Gumby's parents, Gumbo and Gumba. The later syndicated series in 1988 added Gumby's sister Minga and mastodon friend Denali.

Origins[edit]

Gumby was created by Art Clokey in the early 1950s after finishing film school at University of Southern California.[8] Clokey's first animated film was a 1953 three-minute student film called Gumbasia, a surreal montage of moving and expanding lumps of clay set to music in a parody of Disney's Fantasia.[9] Gumbasia was created in a style Clokey's professor Slavko Vorkapich taught at USC called Kinesthetic Film Principles. Described as "massaging of the eye cells," this technique of camera movements and editing was responsible for much of the Gumby look and feel. Clokey and wife, Ruth (née Parkander), invented Gumby in the early 1950s at their Covina home shortly after Art finished film school at USC. In 1953 Clokey showed Gumbasia to movie producer Sam Engel, who encouraged him to develop his technique by adding figures. NBC executive Thomas Warren Sarnoff saw and loved Art's first pilot and had Art make another one (Gumby on the Moon). This was a huge hit on the Howdy Doody show, so Tom gave Gumby his own show on NBC. "Robot Rumpus," was the third pilot which was used for the second season in 1957.

Gumby was an NBC series (a Howdy Doody spin-off) during 1957.[10][11] Featuring lots of Clokey's puppet films, as well as variety, interviews and games, it was hosted by Robert Nicholson ("Nick") from March to June, then by Pinky Lee until November.[12][13]

Gumby was inspired by a suggestion from Clokey's wife Ruth that he base his character on the Gingerbread man. Gumby was green because it was Clokey's favorite color. Gumby's legs and feet were made wide for pragmatic reasons: they ensured the clay character would stand up during stop-motion filming. The famous slanted shape of Gumby's head was based on the hair style of Clokey's father Charles Farrington in an old photograph.[14]

Gumby's voice was originally provided by Ruth Eggleston, wife of the show's art director Al Eggleston,[15] and starting in 1957, Dallas McKennon became the voice of Gumby. New episodes were added from 1960 to 1966. Production continued through 1967–1968, by which time Norma MacMillan voiced Gumby. On some occasions, his voice was provided by Ginny Tyler and Dick Beals.[16]

Lorimar-Telepictures years[edit]

Mr. Stuff gives Gumby all the goodies he can hold in "Grub Grabber Gumby".

By the 1980s, the original Gumby shorts had enjoyed a revival, both on television and home video.[17] This led to a new incarnation of the series for television syndication by Lorimar-Telepictures in 1988–1989 that included new characters, such as Gumby's little sister Minga and a mastodon named Denali. Dallas McKennon returned as the voice of Gumby in new adventures that would take Gumby and his pals beyond their toyland-type setting and establish themselves as a sing-a-long band.

In addition to the new episodes, the classic 1950s and 1960s shorts were re-run as part of the series, but with newly recorded soundtracks, with the voices re-recorded and the original music replaced by Jerry Gerber's synthesizer score from the 1988 series. Clokey's rights to use the original Capitol Records production tracks could not be renewed at the time, due to legal issues. Most episodes are available on home video and DVD.

Movie and beyond[edit]

Screenshot of the video game, Gumby vs. the Astrobots

Beginning in 1982, Eddie Murphy began a parody of Gumby on Saturday Night Live. According to Murphy’s parody, when the television cameras were turned off, the sweet Gumby reverted to his true self: a cigar chomping, irascible celebrity who was highly demanding of the production executives. Whenever the executives refused to give into his demands, Gumby would assert his star status by saying “I’m Gumby, Dammit.”[citation needed]

In 1987, the character appeared in The Puppetoon Movie. In 1995, Clokey's production company produced an independently released theatrical film, Gumby: The Movie (aka Gumby 1), marking the clay character's first feature-length adventure.[18] In it, the villainous Blockheads replace Gumby and his band with robots and kidnap their dog, Lowbelly. The movie featured in-joke homages to such sci-fi classics as Star Wars, The Terminator, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Starting in 1992, TV channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network aired re-runs of Gumby episodes. The original cartoon, "Robot Rumpus," was featured on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

The Library of Congress had Gumby as a spokescharacter from 1994 to 1995, due to a common sequence in his shows where Gumby walks into a book, and then experiences the world inside the book as a tangible place. By the end of the decade, Gumby and Pokey had appeared in commercials for Cheerios cereal, most notably Frosted Cheerios.[citation needed]

In August 2005, the first video game featuring Gumby, Gumby vs. the Astrobots, was released by Namco for the Game Boy Advance. In it, Gumby must rescue Pokey, Prickle, and Goo after they are captured by the Blockheads and their cohorts, the Astrobots.[citation needed]

The Gumby images and toys are registered trademarks of Prema Toy Company. Premavision owns the distribution rights to the Gumby cartoons (having been reverted from previous distributor Warner Bros. Television), and has licensed the rights to Classic Media of which said licensing ends in September 2012. In 2012, Classic Media was sold to DreamWorks Animation and renamed DreamWorks Classics. Prema Toy Inc. and Premavision Inc own all of the rights to Gumby.[citation needed]

August 4, 2006, in Atlanta at The Center For Puppetry Arts opened Art Clokey's Gumby: The First Fifty Years, an exhibition featuring many of the original Puppets and sets; along with screening the films of Art Clokey. The event, conceived by David Scheve of T.D.A. Animation and Joe Clokey of Premavision was one of several exhibits that opened around the country, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the animated series The Gumby Show, which began production in the fall of 1956, and debuted on NBC in March 1957[citation needed]

On March 16, 2007, YouTube announced that all Gumby episodes would appear in their full-length form on its site, digitally remastered and with their original soundtracks. This deal also extended to other video sites, including AOL.[19] In March 2007, KQED-TV broadcast an hour-long documentary "Gumby Dharma" as part of their "Truly CA" series.[20]

In 2007, Gumby was nominated for two Eisner Awards. In July of that year, it won one of them, Best Publication For a Younger Audience.[21]

On October 12, 2011, Google paid tribute to Art Clokey’s 90th birthday featuring clay balls transforming into characters from Gumby. The doodle was composed of five clay balls in the Google colors placed beside a toy block with a "G" on it. Clicking any of the balls revealed the Blockheads, Prickle, Goo, Gumby, and Pokey.[22]

Toys and merchandise[edit]

Various Gumby merchandise has been produced over the years, the most prominent item being bendable figures. Several single packs and multi-figure sets by Jesco (later Trendmasters), as well as a 50th anniversary collection, have been made of the Gumby characters. Also included in the Gumby merchandise catalog are plush dolls, keychains, mugs, a 1988 Colorforms set, a 1995 Trendmasters playset, and a Kubricks set by Medicom. A tribute album, Gumby, was released in 1989 by Buena Vista records.

Reception[edit]

In 1993, TV Guide names Gumby the best cartoon series of the 1950s in its issue celebrating 40 years of television.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Felch, Jason (January 9, 2010). "Art Clokey dies at 88; creator of Gumby". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ King, Susan (April 9, 2002). "Feet of Clay? Sure, but as DVD Debut Shows, He's Still Got Legs". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Lloyd, Robert (July 9, 2006). "Even now, Gumby has that special dimension". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Blockheads". Gumbyworld.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Pokey: Gumby's Best Pal". Gumby.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Prickle and Goo". Gumby.com. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  8. ^ Felch, Jason (January 9, 2010). "Art Clokey dies at 88; creator of Gumby". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/09/local/la-me-art-clokey9-2010jan09. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  9. ^ "Gumbasia". KQED. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Art Clokey". KQED Public Media for Northern California. Retrieved February 6, 2009. 
  11. ^ Fritz, Steve. "Animated shorts: Growing up with Gumby". Retrieved February 6, 2009. 
  12. ^ Butler, Kevin S. "Gumby on TV". Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Gumby Show, The". Toonarific Cartoons. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ A. Schneider (March 25, 2002). "Gumby, a segment of NPR's "Present at the Creation" series". NPR. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Gumby's Name, Personality and Voice". GumbyWorld.com/Premavision. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  16. ^ McLaughlin, Erin. "Dick Beals, Voice of Speedy Alka-Seltzer, Gumby Is Dead". ABC News. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Solomon, Charles (December 17, 1986). "Cartoon Cassettes To Animate The Holidays". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  18. ^ Quintanilla, Michael (November 27, 1993). "For Feat of Clay, He's Left a Lasting Impression". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  19. ^ Arrington, Michael (March 16, 2007). "YouTube Troubles Are Over: They Got Gumby". TechCrunch. Retrieved March 16, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Gumby Dharma: Truly CA". KQED Public Media. March 27, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  21. ^ "2007 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  22. ^ "Art Clokey 90th birthday google doodle". 
  23. ^ TV Guide April 17–23, 1993. 1993. p. 74. 

External links[edit]