Gumby and Art Clokey have a long and interesting history. Backed by more than 50 years of performances in 234 episodes and a movie, Gumby has become a cultural icon. Audiences of all ages have been inspired and entertained by Gumby. People don’t just like Gumby, they say “I LOVE Gumby.”
Here is a brief timeline of the highlights. For a dramatic and entertaining biography of Art Clokey, check out the Emmy Award-winning documentary Gumby Dharma. You can also read more at www.Premavision.com, the studio website.
Art Clokey produces a stop motion/live action commercial for Andersen’s Pea Soup.
Coca Cola and Budweiser hire Art to produce commercials with stop motion animation and slapstick humor.
Art produces his art film: Gumbasia, and producer Sam Engel encourages him to create clay characters and stories for children.
Gumby is created. Art produces the first Gumby pilot and gets the green light from Tom Sarnoff at NBC to do an animated series.
Gumby stars in his own Saturday morning TV series, The Gumby Show. Production on the first 22 Gumby episodes goes into full swing at Clokey Films Hollywood studio.
The Lutheran Church approaches Art and Ruth about creating a children’s stop motion program with religious messages. Davey and Goliath are the result.
Clokey Productions moves to a large studio in Glendora, California
A busy decade. Art and Ruth create 85 additional Gumby Adventures, which are syndicated worldwide. Gumby and Pokey bendable toys are introduced and break all sales records.
65 fifteen-minute Davey and Goliath episodes and six half-hour specials are produced and syndicated worldwide.
Art creates two silent comedies, The Plucky Plumber and Lawn Party, using a pixilation technique of stop motion animation of people.
Gumby is no longer in production, but Ruth Goodell (Clokey) continues to run the studio and complete the Davey episodes into the 70’s.
Under Ruth’s direction, the studio completes the Davey project and a series of animated specials for Reader’s Digest that air nationally, entitled: “I am Joe’s Heart, I am Joe’s Lungs,”…
Art and his new wife Gloria produce the art films, The Clay Peacock and Mandala, in their basement with the help of their children.
Art and Gloria create an expressionistic, bendable toy called, Moody Rudy.
End of 1970’s
Ruth closes the Glendora studio, and Art and Gloria, driven by encouraging fans, look forward to getting Gumby back on TV.
The revival is going strong. Gumby is on the air in national syndication and quickly becomes the top animated show of all time.
Art and Gloria hit the road, presenting to sold-out crowds at college campuses.
Eddie Murphy introduces the “I’m Gumby Dammit” spoofs on Saturday Night Live. College kids are watching Gumby again with fresh eyes and a new appreciation for its art and surrealism.
Art and Gloria produce 99 new Gumby episodes in their new studio (Premavision) in Sausalito, CA.
Art finishes The Gumby Movie, which was not widely advertised nor distributed.
Warner Vision releases the video of The Gumby Movie, and it quickly sells nearly a million copies on VHS. It airs numerous times on Showtime, HBO and the Disney Channel.
Nickelodeon airs all of the Gumby Adventures from the 50’s, 60’s and 80’s for its anchor spots. It’s on top of the ratings for over three years.
The Gumby series airs on the Cartoon Network.
The studio produces station ID’s starring Gumby and Pokey, which air on ABC.
Gumby and Pokey are featured in a Rose Parade float.
Premavision’s state-of-the-art stop motion animation studio finishes a Davey and Goliath feature, Davey and Goliath’s Snowboard Christmas, which premieres on the Hallmark Channel. Several 30-second Davey and Goliath spots are created for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
An international AP story on Gumby’s 50th anniversary is picked up by almost every major and minor newspaper and TV network in the world.
The Clokeys celebrate Gumby’s 50th anniversary with a huge birthday bash in San Francisco with animators from five decades and entertainment by Smashmouth and the Gumby All-Star Band.
The Museum of the Moving Image in New York presents an extensive Gumby exhibit.
Gumby stars in a video game produced by Namco.
The Museum of TV and Radio in New York and Los Angeles show a Gumby through the Years film retrospective which has a 12-month run.
Gumby has exhibits and film presentations in St. Paul, St. Louis, Atlanta and Seattle.
The new Gumby Comics win the Eisner Award at Comic Con.
Gumby Dharma, a documentary about Art Clokey and Gumby, airs on PBS and then over 30 times on the Sundance Channel. It wins an Emmy for best documentary.
Gumby appears in Pepsi’s Superbowl ad.
Gumby episodes outsell the competition in Australia.
Art Clokey passes away and is mourned throughout the world. Thousands of newspapers along with all the TV networks honor his work.
2010 and Beyond
Florida Schools are using Gumby as a spokesperson in their “Stretch for Excellence” program.
Fans never seem to get enough of Gumby. They dress in Gumby costumes at sporting events and concerts, don Gumby hairdos and create Gumby mash-ups in every digital medium. Branches of the U.S. military are including Gumby in their training programs –“Semper Gumby,” (always flexible.) That’s the power of Gumby.
Art Clokey is honored by Google with a doodle on what would have been his 90th birthday in October.