Davey and Goliath

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Davey and Goliath
Davey and Goliath title card.png
Title card
Created byArt Clokey
Ruth Clokey
Dick Sutcliffe
StarringDick Beals
Norma MacMillan
Hal Smith
Nancy Wible
Ginny Tyler
Theme music composerMartin Luther
Opening theme"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes73 (including specials)
Running time15 minutes
Production company(s)Clokey Productions
United Lutheran Church in America
Original networkFirst-run syndication
Hallmark (Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas)[1]
Original releaseFebruary 25, 1961 (1961-02-25)[2] –
December 19, 2004 (2004-12-19)
External links

Davey and Goliath is an American clay-animated children's television series, whose central characters were created by Art Clokey, Ruth Clokey, and Dick Sutcliffe,[3] and which was produced first by the United Lutheran Church in America and later by the Lutheran Church in America (now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). The show was aimed at a youth audience, and generally dealt with issues such as respect for authority, sharing and prejudice.[4] Eventually these themes included serious issues such as racism, death, religious intolerance and vandalism. 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, and Jonathan, Jimmy, Nicky, and Cisco in later ones.

In general, the characters found themselves in situations that had to be overcome by placing their faith in God.[4] Davey's friends Nathaniel (in the 1960s episodes) and Jonathan (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.[5]

Following Clokey's success with the Gumby series, Davey and Goliath premiered in syndication on February 25, 1961[2][6] as a Saturday feature, and lasted until 1965. By May 1961, it was reported that "Millions of children in cities and towns across the United States and Canada are talking about two new television stars, 'Davey and Goliath'."[7]

After its initial run, several 30-minute holiday special episodes were created in the late 1960s. The series then resumed with some new characters in 1971 and continued until 1973. In 1975, a final 30-minute summer episode was created. In 2004, Joe Clokey produced a new special, "Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas".


Ordering the series[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.[8] 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.[9] Scripts were written by children’s book author Nancy Moore in consultation with the church;[10] 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", which would be the first shown in syndication in 1961. 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 early 1961. In these episodes, the clay figures were now clothed with actual cloth, 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 Network affiliates to independent stations. Occasionally, two or more stations in the same market aired the show, at different times. Many 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.

Producing the episodes[edit]

By 1962, the clay figures had established looks and consistent sizes, and the scenery had become slightly more realistic. At the close of episodes, "The End" was now displayed in regular print, rather than the Davey & Goliath logo-type print. 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 The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, Dennis The Menace and other 1950s sitcoms. A few of these background tracks could also be heard on the late 1950s and early 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

By 1963, 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. Davey himself was older, but the scope of the show itself involved no big changes. By 1963, production on Davey and Goliath wound down. In some episodes, in addition to a placard showing "The End", a screen showed that the show was produced in association with the United Lutheran Church in America.

30 minute episodes[edit]

In 1965, a 30-minute Christmas special called "Christmas Lost and Found" was aired.[11] 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 1967, three 30-minute holiday specials were aired: "The New Year's Promise" in January, "Happy Easter" in March, and "Halloween Who-Dun-It" in October. By now the background music changed to an unknown music library. 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.

1970s episodes[edit]

After these four specials, the LCA and Clokey Productions began funding another series of episodes in 1969, to begin airing in 1971. At this point, only Norma MacMillan and Hal Smith did voices. In these episodes, Davey was junior high-school aged, and occasionally became very rebellious. His antics included pouring paint in a water well, hanging from a dinosaur's head in a museum, accusing a handicapped child of being "dumb"[citation needed] 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.

During this period, 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 changed back to The Capitol Hi-Q music of the 1960s series. Midway through this series, Davey's African-American friend Jonathan Reed was introduced. Jonathan came from a nearby city, and both characters went to school together.

In 1971, 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", and "Chicken". In 1973, production on the series wound down once again, but in 1975 a 30-minute summer camp special called "To The Rescue" was aired. This special marked the official end of the production of the series.

Davey and Goliath in the 2000s[edit]

After an almost 30-year hiatus, Davey and Goliath were next seen as part of a Mountain Dew soda 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. The holiday special addressed both religious and ethnic diversity as 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.

Because most of the original voice cast were no longer alive (Hal Smith 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. It was 45 minutes long and aired during a one-hour time slot with commercials. Until that point, commercials had never aired during any episode.

Television airings[edit]

The program had become a fixture on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings on TV stations (both religious and secular) all around the country during the 1960s and 1970s. 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.

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 Channel aired a Christmas special and the 1967 "Happy Easter" episode, they aired the program with several commercial breaks. Hallmark (in its past incarnation as Odyssey Network) had previously 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.

Until the beginning of October 2018, the series was shown on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) Saturday afternoons,[12] and during the week it was seen on the TBN-owned Smile of a Child network, which is carried on digital subchannels of TBN affiliates.[13]

Home media[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 and other episodes were made available by Gospel Films Video. These were distributed for sale on VHS tapes. Mail-order services also made a few episodes available.

In 2006, other episodes were distributed on VHS tapes. In 2012, 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 "Whatshisname?" 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. For unknown reasons, the episode "The Family of God" was not included in any set.

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


  • Adult Swim's Moral Orel is a darker, adult-oriented parody of Davey and Goliath. Though it is stylistically and thematically similar, the show's creator, Dino Stamatopoulos, claims Moral Orel had its genesis as a parody of Leave It to Beaver.[14]
  • MADtv spoofed Davey and Goliath in their fourteenth episode with Davey and Son of Goliath, alluding to the Son of Sam serial killer who claimed a talking dog had instructed him to kill.[15] MADtv created a second parody for a segment in episode 25 of season three entitled Davey and Goliath 2: Pet Sematary. The sketch features Goliath being 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.
  • Drawn Together spoofed Davey and Goliath in the episode "Lost in Parking Space, Part 2" when Princess Clara and Foxxy Love are in Hot Topic's secret torture chamber.

The Simpsons[edit]

Davey and Goliath has been parodied several times in The Simpsons.

  • 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 "Simpsons Bible Stories", Bart dreams that he is David in the biblical story of Goliath. Santa's Little Helper walks up to Bart and says the famous line "I don't know, Davey! Oh, you've gotten pretty fat, Davey."
  • 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 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.
  • In the episode "Ned 'n Edna's Blend," Ned Flanders' dream sequence parodied the show.

List of episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113February 25, 1961 (1961-02-25)November 4, 1961 (1961-11-04)
213September 8, 1962 (1962-09-08)February 23, 1963 (1963-02-23)
313September 14, 1963 (1963-09-14)March 7, 1964 (1964-03-07)
413September 11, 1971 (1971-09-11)March 4, 1972 (1972-03-04)
514June 17, 1972 (1972-06-17)February 24, 1973 (1973-02-24)
Specials7January 1, 1965 (1965-01-01)December 19, 2004 (2004-12-19)

Season 1 (1961)[edit]

Series # Title Original airdate
1 "Lost in a Cave" February 25, 1961 (1961-02-25)
2 "Stranded on an Island" March 4, 1961 (1961-03-04)
3 "The Wild Goat" March 11, 1961 (1961-03-11)
4 "The Winner" March 18, 1961 (1961-03-18)
5 "The New Skates" September 9, 1961 (1961-09-09)
6 "Cousin Barney" September 16, 1961 (1961-09-16)
7 "The Kite" September 23, 1961 (1961-09-23)
8 "The Mechanical Man" September 30, 1961 (1961-09-30)
9 "The Time Machine" October 7, 1961 (1961-10-07)
10 "On the Line" October 14, 1961 (1961-10-14)
11 "The Polka-Dot Tie" October 21, 1961 (1961-10-21)
12 "All Alone" October 28, 1961 (1961-10-28)
13 "The Pilgrim Boy" November 4, 1961 (1961-11-04)

Season 2 (1962–63)[edit]

Series # Title Original airdate
14 "The Silver Mine" September 8, 1962 (1962-09-08)
15 "The Waterfall" September 22, 1962 (1962-09-22)
16 "Down on the Farm" October 6, 1962 (1962-10-06)
17 "The Bell-Ringer" October 20, 1962 (1962-10-20)
18 "The Parade" November 3, 1962 (1962-11-03)
19 "Officer Bob" November 17, 1962 (1962-11-17)
20 "The Shoemaker" December 1, 1962 (1962-12-01)
21 "Ten Little Indians" December 15, 1962 (1962-12-15)
22 "Not for Sale" December 29, 1962 (1962-12-29)
23 "Dog Show" January 12, 1963 (1963-01-12)
24 "Boy Lost" January 26, 1963 (1963-01-26)
25 "The Runaway" February 9, 1963 (1963-02-09)
26 "The Sudden Storm" February 23, 1963 (1963-02-23)

Season 3 (1963–64)[edit]

Series # Title Original airdate
27 "Man of the House" September 14, 1963 (1963-09-14)
28 "Happy Landing" September 28, 1963 (1963-09-28)
29 "Bully Up a Tree" October 12, 1963 (1963-10-12)
30 "The Big Apple" October 26, 1963 (1963-10-26)
31 "The Bridge" November 9, 1963 (1963-11-09)
32 "Lemonade Stand" November 30, 1963 (1963-11-30)
33 "Rags and Buttons" December 14, 1963 (1963-12-14)
34 "A Dillar, A Dollar" December 28, 1963 (1963-12-28)
35 "Hocus Pocus" January 11, 1964 (1964-01-11)
36 "Editor-in-Chief" January 25, 1964 (1964-01-25)
37 "Jeep in the Deep" February 8, 1964 (1964-02-08)
38 "The Gang" February 22, 1964 (1964-02-22)
39 "The Good Neighbor" March 7, 1964 (1964-03-07)

Season 4 (1971–72)[edit]

Series # Title Original airdate
40 "The Stopped Clock" September 11, 1971 (1971-09-11)
41 "Who, Me?" September 25, 1971 (1971-09-25)
42 "If at First, You Don't Succeed..." October 9, 1971 (1971-10-09)
43 "Finder's Keepers" October 23, 1971 (1971-10-23)
44 "Kookaburra" November 13, 1971 (1971-11-13)
45 "The Caretakers" November 27, 1971 (1971-11-27)
46 "The Hard Way" December 11, 1971 (1971-12-11)
47 "Rickety Rackety" December 25, 1971 (1971-12-25)
48 "Help" January 8, 1972 (1972-01-08)
49 "Boy in Trouble" January 22, 1972 (1972-01-22)
50 "The Greatest" February 5, 1972 (1972-02-05)
51 "Blind Man's Bluff" February 19, 1972 (1972-02-19)
52 "Who's George?" March 4, 1972 (1972-03-04)

Season 5 (1972–73)[edit]

Series # Title Original airdate
53 "The Family Of God." June 17, 1972 (1972-06-17)

Davey and Jonathan are looking forward to their First Communion, but Cisco isn't nearly as enthusiastic. The boys and Davey's parents eventually convince him that Communion is for all people, even those without a family. Note: This episode ends with the hymn "Sons Of God." It was probably excluded from home media due to the fact that wine is mentioned throughout the episode.

54 "Six-Seven-Six-Three" September 9, 1972 (1972-09-09)
55 "The Zillion-Dollar Combo" September 23, 1972 (1972-09-23)
56 "Upside Down and Backwards" October 7, 1972 (1972-10-07)
57 "Louder, Please" October 21, 1972 (1972-10-21)
58 "Ready or Not" November 4, 1972 (1972-11-04)
59 "Kum-Bay-Ah" November 18, 1972 (1972-11-18)
60 "Whatshisname?" December 2, 1972 (1972-12-02)
61 "Pieces of Eight" December 16, 1972 (1972-12-16)
62 "Chicken" December 30, 1972 (1972-12-30)
63 "Doghouse Dreamhouse" January 13, 1973 (1973-01-13)
64 "Good Bad Luck" January 27, 1973 (1973-01-27)
65 "The Watchdogs" February 10, 1973 (1973-02-10)
66 "Come, Come to the Fair" February 24, 1973 (1973-02-24)

Specials (1965–2004)[edit]

Series # Title Original airdate
1 "Christmas Lost and Found" December 25, 1965 (1965-12-25)
2 "The New Year's Promise" January 1, 1967 (1967-01-01)
3 "Happy Easter" March 26, 1967 (1967-03-26)
4 "Halloween Who-Dun-It?" October 29, 1967 (1967-10-29)
5 "School: Who Needs It?" August 22, 1971 (1971-08-22)
6 "To the Rescue" June 29, 1975 (1975-06-29)
7 "Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas" December 19, 2004 (2004-12-19)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Church resurrects cartoon". The Washington Times. December 21, 2004.
  2. ^ a b "Davey and Pal Make TV Bow", Hartford Courant, February 18, 1961, p. 11
  3. ^ Weber, Bruce (May 25, 2008). "Dick Sutcliffe, 90, Dies; Began 'Davey and Goliath'". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Davis, Jeffery (1995). Children's Television 1947–1990. pp. 139–140. ISBN 0-89950-911-8.
  5. ^ "Davey & Goliath revived to teach children". Today.com. Associated Press. December 13, 2004.
  6. ^ "The News of Television", Philadelphia Daily News, February 24, 1961, p32
  7. ^ "'Davey and Goliath' Captivates Young TV Viewers", Ithaca Journal (NY), May 27, 1961, pA-7
  8. ^ Forman, Bill (December 14, 2005). "Oh Davey, Oh Goliath!". Metro Santa Cruz. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  9. ^ Miller, Chuck (Summer 1996). "The Gospel According to Davey and Goliath". Animato! (35). Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  10. ^ "Davey and Goliath". Spectrum. Department of Christian Life and Mission. 1969: 210. 1969.
  11. ^ King, Kelly (May 2009). A Comparative Analysis of Children's Cognitive and Affective Learning from Selected Bible Story Videos. ProQuest. p. 13. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  12. ^ "TBN Schedule - TBN.org".
  13. ^ "Smile of a Child TV // Television Program Schedule". www.smileofachildtv.org.
  14. ^ Crane, Dan (May 20, 2007). "Holy Satire! Faith-Based Mockery". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  15. ^ Falanga, Mark (February 2, 2015). "Remembering "Davey and Goliath"". BreakThru Radio. Retrieved March 10, 2015.

External links[edit]