Gumby is a green clay humanoid figure who was the subject of a 233-episode series of American television which spanned over a 35-year period. He was animated using stop motion clay animation.
Gumby principle sidekick is Pokey, a talking pony voiced by Art Clokey and Dallas McKennon at different times, and his nemeses are the Blockheads, a pair of humanoid, red-colored figures with block-shaped heads, who wreak mischief and havoc at all times. The Blockheads were inspired by the Katzenjammer Kids, who were always getting into scrapes and causing discomfort to others. Other characters are Gumby's dog Nopey (who responds to everything with a gloomy "nope"); and Prickle, a yellow dinosaur who sometimes styles himself as a detective with pipe and deerstalker hat like Sherlock Holmes. Also featured are Goo, a flying blue mermaid who spits blue goo-balls and can change her physical shape at will; Gumby's mother Gumba and father Gumbo. The later series on Nickelodeon added Gumby's sister Minga and mastodon friend Denali.
Gumby was created by Art Clokey while a student of Slavko Vorkapich at the University of Southern California. Clokey and his wife, Ruth (née Ruth Parkander), invented Gumby in the early 1950s at their Covina home shortly after Art finished film school at USC. Clokey's first animated film was a 1953 three-minute short called Gumbasia, a surreal montage of moving and expanding lumps of clay set to music in a parody of Disney's Fantasia. Gumbasia was created in a style Vorkapich taught 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. In 1955 Clokey showed Gumbasia to movie producer Sam Engel, who encouraged him to develop his technique by adding figures. Of the three pilot episodes of Gumby, the first was done by Clokey on his own, and the next two were done for NBC and shown on The Howdy Doody Show to test audience reaction. The second 15-minute pilot, "Gumby Goes to the Moon", was initially rejected by NBC executive Thomas Warren Sarnoff. The third Gumby episode, "Robot Rumpus", made a successful debut on the Howdy Doody Show in August 1956. Gumby was an NBC series starting in 1957.
Gumby was inspired by a suggestion from Clokey's wife Ruth that he base his character on the Gingerbread man. Gumby was green simply because that 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.
Read more about Gumby at Wikipedia
Official Site: Clokey Productions
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