Art Clokey, Gumby Creator Dies
Jan. 8, 2010

Art Clokey was born Arthur C. Farrington on 
October 12, 1921 in Detroit, MI.


  When he was 9 years old, his parents divorced and he stayed with his father.  After his father died in a car accident, he went to live with his mother, who had remarried, in CA.  A year later he was placed in a half-way house orphanage because his step father did not want him around!

At age 12, he was adopted by Joseph W. Clokey, a classical music composer and organist who taught music at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and who encouraged young Arthur's artistic inclinations.

Clokey, who got his start in animation as a student of Slavko Vorkapich at the University of Southern California, first created the claymation figure Gumby in 1955 in an experimental student film calledGumbasia, which consisted of animated clay shapes contorting to a jazz score. 

The title Gumbasia is an homage to Walt Disney's Fantasia.

From the Gumbasia project, Art Clokey and his wife Ruth invented Gumby in 1956, and the quirky and gentle green clay boy appeared in several series beginning with the The Howdy Doody Show.

The Gumby Show was the first TV series using stop-motion animation. The 1950s Gumby Show didn’t last long, but the beloved character appeared in new shows in the 1960s, with a lull in the 1970s, and a resurgence in the 1980s that continues to this day.

In 1995, Gumby,The Movie came out sparking even more interest.

Gumby, whose name derives from his childhood experiences during summer visits to his grandfather's farm, when he enjoyed playing with the clayey mud called "gumbo".

The Gumby Family from the movie:
Prickle, Pokey, Gumby, Minga and Goo 

Art at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Gumby in 2005.

"I didn't allow merchandising for seven years after it was on the air," Clokey told San Luis Obispo Tribune in 2002, "because I was very idealistic, and I didn't want parents to think we were trying to exploit their children."

Clokey is credited with the clay-animation title sequence for the beach movie Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965), starring Vincent Price and Frankie Avalon.


Besides the popular Gumby animation, Clokey also produced a clay animation show called, Davey and Goliath, about the the adventures of a boy and his dog, which taught simple spiritual principles of kindness and charity.
Davey and the dog Goliath with his adorable singsong pronunciation of “Daveeey,” has also enjoyed renewed popularity over the years. Clokey produced the series with his first wife Ruth funded by the Lutheran Church in America. 

Clokey used the money from the Davey series to help bring a Gumby series back to television in the 1960s.  His son, Joe Clokey, continued the Davey and Goliath cartoon in 2004.
Arthur Clokey died on January 8, 2010, at his home in Los Osos, CA.  He was 88 years old.

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