Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gumby, I Didn't Know You At All

This is one of those occasions where I’m supposed to say that because of having X or X’s work in my life, I am a changed and a better man.

I can’t say that and be truthful.

But to think of Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, dying this week, made me think about the things we take for granted. Gumby, for one.

I have not watched a lot of Gumby, to be truthful. A few episodes, maybe. The one I’ve watched the most is actually a riff on an episode done by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew, “Robot Rumpus:”

Of course, the story and animation hold up on their own without the commentary from the peanut gallery in the foreground.

This is the most striking thing I learned about Clokey and his work, in reading about his death:

Eddie Murphy rallied Gumby's popularity in the 1980s with a send-up of the character on Saturday Night Live. That brought new toy sales and eventually a new syndicated series in 1988. It was only then that Clokey started seeing serious financial returns on his creation.
"It took 40 years," he said.

So maybe this week I’ll spend a bit more time watching some of Clokey’s creations. Here’s his first short, Gumbasia, featuring clay spinning and undulating and rolling out to a typical ‘50s jazzy bongo tune:

And a regular Gumby episode:

Thanks for the art, Mr. Clokey. I wish you well.

No comments: