January 9, 2010

Actually, His Dad Was Gumby, Dammit

Art Clokey, who, with his first wife Ruth, created Gumby, died Friday at the age of 89. Clokey's parents divorced when he was 9, and he stayed with his father. For a year or so--but not two--when his father was killed in a car accident, and he went to live with his mother:

He lived with his mother for a while, but when her second husband made her choose between him and her son, Clokey was sent to an orphanage. Fortunately, he was adopted by a good family. But Clokey wouldn't forget his father, whose head shape - characterized by a cowlick hairdo - would later provide the inspiration for Gumby's trademark lopsided head.
Wow, -10 for the stepfather and mom, Great Depression or no.

Here's Gumbasia, an experimental clay animation short Clokey made in 1953 [and showed in 1955] while studying film at USC under Slavko Vorkapich, the legendary Serbian Master of the Montage. The title is apparently a reference to "gumbo" mud on his grandfather's Michigan farm and Disney's Fantasia. It got him funding for the Gumby pilot. Several Gumby pilots, actually, and guest spots on Howdy Doody before spinning Gumby off onto his own show.

'Gumby' creator and Los Osos resident Art Clokey dies [sanluisobispo via waxy]
The Art Clokey and Gumby entries don't quite sync up [wikipedia]

2 Comments

Pokey Minds the Baby.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRCWxQmIpR8

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