Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gumby Creator Shuffles Off This Mortal Coil, Dammit.

Art Clokey, the man who invented and breathed life into the odd-looking clay character Gumby, who became an American cultural icon, passed away Friday, January 8, at the age of 88.
I still enjoy the adventures of Gumby and his orange horse friend Pokey, especially the original Gumby episodes from the 1950's, when it was just Gumby and Pokey.  I never got into Prickle, Gumby's yellow dinosaur friend, and the blue Goo (what the hell was that thing?).
Back then, being a kid was a lot simpler task than it is today.  Of course, I'm old, and my memory is probably faulty.
In any event, Gumby was always a really sweet guy, someone we all can identify with.
During the 80's, some Saturday Night Live writers wondered if Gumby was perhaps like a lot of "really sweet" show-business performers: "sweet" in public, but maybe not so sweet backstage.
So, thanks to Eddie Murphy's portrayal of the lovable clay figure as a profanity-talking, cigar-chomping, show-business primadonna, (I'm Gumby, Dammit!) Gumby enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.
Art Clokey didn't seem to mind SNL's parody of his creation.  "Gumby can laugh at himself," Clokey noted in a 2002 interview... thereby proving that Gumby really was a sweet guy.
For your enjoyment - Gumby and Pokey visit Hidden Valley, circa 1956.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Clokey.