Author Archives: Gumby World

Kenton Koch Takes Gumby to the Winner’s Circle

Glendora native Kenton Koch and pal Gumby were all smiles atop the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on May 3, 2014. Koch, racing his Gumby Fest custom ALARA Mazda MX-5, celebrated a first place finish at his home track.

“This weekend was a great weekend for Gumby! A win and a second place was just what we asked for,” said Koch.

Kenton Koch and Gumby at Podium. They take first place!

In addition to his Gumby racing car, Koch sported a custom Gumby Fest Mazda Motorsports Sparco racesuit and helmet, which he donated to the Glendora Library to be auctioned off in support of the library. This partnership grew out of Koch’s desire to give back to his hometown. He found creative ways to get involved by promoting Gendora’s inaugural Gumby Fest, June 14, which honored the city’s connection to Gumby.

“A special thanks to L & G Enterprises for painting such a beautiful helmet. To whoever gets this piece of art, take care of it!” Koch remarked about the Gumby helmet.

Kenton made appearances before and during Gumby Fest for photos ops with Gumby, Koch’s custom racecar, suit and helmet.
Kenton Koch with Gumby and his race teamKenton racing his Gumby Fest car... in first place!Kenton Koch with Gumby and his Gumby Fest race car, suit and helmet.Kenton Koch's Gumby race helmetThe first-ever Gumby Fest honored Glendora’s connection to Gumby—the city was home to Gumby’s studios (Clokey Productions) in the 1960s and 1970s. Thousands turned out for the festivities, which included presentations by current and past Clokey Productions crew, film screenings, stop motion animation demonstrations, a “Gumby Museum” filled with memorabilia, food, music, and a wide array of games and activities for the kids.The planning team is looking forward to the second annual Gumby Fest in the summer of 2015.

For more information on Gumby Fest, please visit www.gumbyfest.net.

Learn about Gumby at www.gumby.com.

Check out www.kentonkochracing.com to learn more about Kenton Koch.

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Gumby Goes Racing

Glendora Racer Kenton Koch Promotes Inaugural Gumby Fest at 125 mph 

April, 2014 (GLENDORA, Calif)  Race drivers come in all shapes and sizes. Glendora native Kenton Koch is tall and lean, just like another famous Glendora native—Gumby. On May 1-3, Kenton will be taking Gumby for a high-speed ride in his ALARA Racing Mazda MX-5 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, California. This community partnership is to promote the June 14th Gumby Fest in Glendora, and help raise money for the Glendora Library.

Kenton Koch's Gumby Mazda race car

Kenton Koch's Gumby race car

Kenton will be donating his custom Gumby Fest Mazda Motorsports Sparco racesuit and helmet to the Glendora Library to be auctioned off in support of the library.

 

 

 

 

 

Kenton Koch: “Being a native Glendora resident, I jumped at the chance to support this great community event. My plan is to take both Gumby and Pokey to the winners circle in Monterey.”

Joe Cina, Executive Director, Glendora Chamber of Commerce: “The inaugural Gumby Fest is all about fun for the family. It’s wonderful to have young community leaders like Kenton Koch step forward in creative ways to help out. This will be a great photo op for kids of all ages.”

Joe Clokey, Clokey Productions/Premavision: “Gumby is about adventure, and racing is certainly an adventure. It’s great to have a Glendora native carrying Gumby and Pokey at the racetrack.”

About Gumby and Gumby Fest

Memories of Gumby make everyone smile. What most people don’t know is that Gumby is alive and doing well, and we’re here to help promote and educate everyone on the history of Gumby as well as the magic Gumby will create for future generations. Welcome to Gumby Fest Glendora. Many are not aware Glendora, California, is Gumby’s hometown. Gumby was created in the mind of Art Clokey after he graduated from USC in the early 1950s. In 1953, Art produced the first clay animation music video called “Gumbasia,” which led to the Gumby series. Based on a suggestion by Art’s wife Ruth, Gumby’s shape was inspired by a gingerbread man. Clokey’s first commercial production of Gumby was an episode for the hugely popular “The Howdy Doody Show.” Gumby then earned his own spin-off in 1957 on NBC that resulted in 233 episodes. In 1960, the couple opened Clokey Productions on Fleetwood Avenue in Glendora. For the next 18 years, Gumby and the stop-motion animated children’s Christian television series, “Davey & Goliath” were produced quietly in an unassuming industrial building in south Glendora. Since Gumby lived in Glendora during his formative years from when he was 7 until 25, we humbly claim that Glendora is Gumby’s Hometown. In honor of Glendora’s connection to Gumby, Glendora will host the first ever Gumby Fest on June 14, 2014, with film screenings, demonstrations, memorabilia, historical displays and plenty of games, contests and activities for the kids.

About Kenton Koch Racing

19-year old Kenton Koch has been racing for over a decade, starting out in karts at age eight.  The Glendora native balanced his school work with racing as he moved up to racing with the Skip Barber Racing School where he won 30 races over three years. Kenton won the 2013 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge to earn a place in the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy.  Kenton kicked off the 2014 season with a win and a second place in the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich. When not at the racetrack, Kenton is a full-time student at Cal State Fullerton where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Learn more about “Gumby Fest” at http://www.gumbyfest.net

Contact “Gumby Fest” Questions:
Joe Cina, joe@glendora-chamber.org, 626-963-4128 or
Gary Boyer, gary@Southlandproperties.net, 626-914-6999

Race Questions:  Kenton Koch Racing. Kenton Koch, kento@kentonkochracing.com, 626-622-5858


 

 

 

 

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First Annual Gumby Fest: June 14, 2014, Glendora, CA

Gumby Fest Logo

Glendora, CA – Several film industry stop-motion animation artists will be joining the fun of the premier Gumby Fest to be held June 14 in Glendora, California.

Gumby, the world’s original clayboy and pop-culture legend who starred in more than 230 TV episodes and a movie, “grew up” in Glendora, where the iconic TV series was produced from 1960 to the late 1970s.

The celebration of all-things Gumby as well as stop-motion animation will take place on the grounds of Glendora City Hall and Public Library at the corner of Glendora Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.

Among the family fun at Gumby Fest 2014:

  • “Gumby Through the Years” presented by Joe Clokey, son of creator Art Clokey,
  • Gumby Museum with memorabilia provided by the Clokey family and Gumby producer  Premavision, Inc.,
  • Film screenings of Gumby cartoons, as well as stop-motion animation videos submitted to festival organizers,
  • A Kids’ Stop-Motion Animation Studio conducted by animation artists from Stoopid Buddies Stoodios, home to the longest running stop-motion show on television, Robot Chicken. Children will learn how to produce a stop-motion video they can take home after the festival,
  • Panel discussions about the past, present and future of stop-motion animation with artists from LAIKA Studios, producers of ParaNorman and next September’s BoxTrolls,  along with stop-motion animators who worked with Art Clokey to produce Gumby shows.

Art and Ruth Clokey founded Clokey Films (later renamed Clokey Productions) when they launched “Gumby” in 1955. The studio moved from Hollywood to a larger facility in Glendora, California in 1960 when they began production on 85 “Gumby” episodes and 65 “Davey and Goliath” episodes.

Clokey’s son Joe and his wife Joan employ top animators, puppet makers and set designers in the industry (many of whom were mentored by Art himself) as they continue all things Gumby with Premavision, Inc., and Prema Toy, Inc.

Gumby Fest is produced by the Glendora Chamber of Commerce, Glendora Community Services, Glendora Library, Glendora Rotary and Glendora Kiwanis.

Sponsors include A1 Rentals, The Glendora Library Friends Foundation, Southland Properties, NJ Croce, Undercovers, Crazy Dog Ladies, Alta Pacific Bank, and TAS Advertising Specialists.

For more information about Gumby Fest, call Gary Boyer at (626) 914-6999 (gary@southlandproperties.net), Joe Cina at (626) 963-4128 (joe@Glendora-Chamber.org), or visit www.gumbyfest.net.

 

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Entire Re-mastered Gumby Collection Released on DVD in Australia

Lucky Australian Gumby fans are the first to get the full library of re-mastered Gumby episodes from 1956 through the ‘80s in a new collector’s edition DVD set. 209 episodes, over 21 hours of Gumby adventures, are included in this tin, which is being sold exclusively in Australia.

Gumby Australia DVD Set

The Clokey family has gone back to the original archived film rolls that Art Clokey shot to re-master them. The original film was well preserved. The color and clarity are amazing! This is the very first time that these re-mastered episodes, with their original soundtracks, are available on DVD anywhere in the world. The re-mastered footage renders Gumby bigger and brighter than you’ve ever seen him.

While this set is only available in Australia, we’re looking forward to a U.S. release. Stay tuned!

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Gumby at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival

The Clokeys (stewards of the Gumby brand and Clokey Productions/ Premavision Studios), were the Saturday night headliners at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival in October, 2013. The Clokeys, along with director Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas), were the festival jurors.

Gumby with Erik Goulet, Henry Selick and Joe Clokey  at Montreal Film Fest

Puppets (Gumby and Jack) with Erik Goulet, Henry Selick and Joe Clokey

What an inspiring event! It was a stop motion marathon—over 300 short films were submitted to the competition. Producers, directors, animators, puppet makers, writers, set designers and crew from around the world attended to premier their new films.

The Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival, which was launched five years ago, is the first festival in the world dedicated solely to stop motion animation. Founder Erik Goulet, an animation professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, frustrated with the lack of attention that stop motion films received at regular film festivals, decided to start his own. He has been generating international attention for this unique art form. Other stop motion animation festivals are now springing up around the world: Poland, Brazil and Mexico.

Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival Poster

Festival goers learned more about stop motion pioneer Art Clokey and the impact Gumby had on the development of animation during the “Gumby through the Years” presentation. The montage included a sampling of Gumby and Davey and Goliath episodes and excerpts, Art Clokey’s art films and his early commercial work. While a few film and commercial makers were experimenting with stop motion animation in the 1950’s, Gumby was the first stop motion character to have his own TV series. Many of today’s acclaimed animators attribute their break in industry to Art Clokey, who was known for hiring and training young art school graduates. Gumby has inspired thousands in the animation business and continues to stir imagination and creativity.

Gumby and Volunteers at the Montreal Film Fest

Gumby with volunteers

 

Henry Selick’s presentation included a screening of Nightmare Before Christmas (celebrating the film’s 20th anniversary) and scenes from his features: CoralineJames and Giant Peach and Monkey Bone. Animation Director Anthony Scott, who learned to animate under Art Clokey and later worked on many of Henry Selick’s films, joined in the presentation to share his anecdotes and perspective on how stop motion has evolved in the last 20 years.

You can read more about the Montreal Film Festival and the winners at http://www.stopmotionmontreal.com/index.php/en/

 

 

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Gumby at the Disney Family Museum

The Gumby Central Gang was thrilled to be part of the special exhibition: Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation—which was on view at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California, from September 2012 through April 2013.

Between Frames - Exhibit LogoThe exhibition explores the evolution of stop motion animation in the United States—especially in special effects, television, and film—while examining some of the key milestones in the field. Innovators include Willis O’ Brien (King Kong), Tim Burton (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas), Art Clokey (Gumby), Ray Harryhausen (It Came From Beneath the Sea), Henry Selick (Coraline and James and the Giant Peach), Phil Tippett (Star Wars and Jurassic Park), and more. This 100-year-old art form launched Walt Disney’s career in animation.

The exhibition includes behind-the-scenes photographs, replicas of the original armatures, a Digital Input Device (DID), puppets and other interesting tools of the trade. Gumby is represented with storyboards, an original Gumby puppet mold, a description of how a clay character is made, a morphing Gumby, and photos of Art Clokey at work.

"Animate Your Night" animation activities at the Disney Family Museum

"Animate Your Night" animation activities at the Disney Family Museum

Visitors are invited to manipulate and touch armatures at a special interactive station. A video spotlights great moments in stop motion animation, and episodes and clips from various stop motion masterpieces are shown.

We especially enjoyed the kick-off party, “Animate Your Night,” in September, during which visitors made clay puppets with wire and foil armatures and created their own digital stop motion animation. There was so much wonder and creativity in the air! The entry hall featured a sculpted cake adorned with sweet likenesses of the characters in the exhibit, and the caterer even got into the spirit by dressing in a Gumby costume to deliver tasty treats. Too much fun!

Gumby, James and the Giant Peach Cake

Can you believe that this is a cake?

Gumby caterer serving

A very Gumby caterer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next time you are in San Francisco, stop by the Walt Disney Family Museum for an introduction into the world of animation and Walt Disney’s life. The well-designed museum will surely delight animation fans of any age. Check out their calendar of events for their list of fascinating talks and activities.

 

 

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Cycle with Gumby

Now that spring is here, we are seeing more bikes on the road. Many communities throughout the world promote biking with local or national cycling days, weeks or even a full month. May is National Bike month in the U.S., and National Bike to Work Day is May 17, 2013. Gumby’s getting into the action.

Gumby with bicycle

Cycling is a great way to be green inside and out. You reduce harmful emissions from auto exhaust, conserve fossil fuels, slow the wear and tear on the car, reduce air and noise pollution, and save money! You’ll find it easier to get a good parking space and you may be able to pass by gridlocked cars in congested areas.

Cycling provides important health benefits. It can be a low-impact way for you to keep fit and get a good workout. In addition to burning calories and helping to shed pounds, you reap the rewards of higher metabolism after a rigorous ride. Studies have shown that cycling can increase your longevity. It’s keeps your heart healthy, reduces your risk of heart disease and boosts the immune system. While it improves muscle strength and tone, you’ll also find that your coordination improves. Cycling is a great mood booster, too. Cruising through a beautiful landscape or an action-pack urban environment awakens the senses. The combination of exercise, fresh air and inspiring scenery will clear your mind and make you smile.

Haven’t been on a bike in a while? Just take one small step at a time: bike to the store, to work or to school once a week. So, dust off your bike, pump up the tires and make a date with your kids or a good friend for a pleasure ride. Rediscover the fun of cycling. Oh, and Gumby says, “Don’t forget your helmet and sunscreen.”

Gumby cycling jerseys for men and womenGumby cycling jerseys for men and women are available at the official Gumby Store.

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Gumby Central Celebrates

It’s a new year, and the days are marching on. Gumby and Pokey are hamming it up to bring you some creative and heart-felt holiday greetings and visuals of their escapades.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit “Gumby Central,” Gumby’s official Facebook page, then be sure to check it out now. Like the page, enjoy the postings and share them with your friends. Get the latest tweets by following “Gumby Central” on Twitter. Here are a few snippets of what you’ve been missing…

Gumby cutting paper hearts for Valentine's Day

Pokey eating Valentine's Day chocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day! How are you showing your friends and loved ones how much they mean to you? Gumby’s into handmade things, so he’s been hard at work, cutting and pasting. Meanwhile, Pokey has other ideas… he’s found that box of chocolates that were hidden in the closet. Hey, Pokey, please save some for the rest of us!

Gumby and friends toast the New Year

 

Rewind to January: Gumby and Pokey rang in 2013 with their friends, toasting with carrot juice, Gumby’s favorite beverage. Those blustery winter days were cold, but fun. Gumby, Pokey and the Blockheads braved the weather for a sledding adventure.

 

 

Gumby and Pokey sledding

Blockheads sledding wipeout

Gumby and Pokey playing football for the Superbowl

 

 

 

 

Gumby and Pokey just couldn’t sit still for the Superbowl. They suited up and helped out their favorite teams. Then, it was off to join in a couple of festive parades for Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year.

Gumby and Pokey with Mardi Gras beads

Gumby and Pokeywith Chinese New Year dragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stayed tuned for more of Gumby and Pokey’s excursions, celebrations and words of wisdom. Like Gumby Central on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to be the first to see what our favorite precocious clay friends have been doing.  See you there!

 

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Great Lessons – Gumby in Our School Communities

As we’re settling into the new school year routine, opening our books and our minds, we look at what we have learned and still can learn from Gumby.

Gumby creator Art Clokey was a huge proponent of learning. Early in his career, he spent a few years as an art teacher in Santa Barbara, California. Art loved to read and wanted his Gumby episodes to encourage children to seek out information. He wished to spark their young imaginations and spur them to read into new adventures… just as Gumby and Pokey can walk into any book and find themselves in an historic or futuristic time and place.

Blockhead classGumby’s fun adventures give us a glimpse into history or introduce us to other cultures and people. Gumby has helped George Washington, he whirled with the Dervishes, tamed dinosaurs and chanted with Kachinas. What a creative introduction to significant people, places and events of the past!

This image from the 1980’s Gumby episode, “Blocks in the Head,” reminds us of the significance of the name of the two mischievous trouble makers in Gumby’s world… the Blockheads. Art shaped their heads into blocks to represent square thinking! Gumby models being flexible, creative, using imagination and diving into books as the alternative to being a Blockhead.

Even today, Gumby continues to be an inspiration in our schools…

Musical Creativity

Last spring the Gumby Central gang had the privilege of attending an amazing musical performance inspired by Art Clokey’s works. Secondary school band director Ralph Martin, at the Vacaville Christian Schools in California, obtained permission from the Clokey family to use the musical scores from “Gumby on the Moon” and “Gumbasia” in his lessons and for a non-profit concert.

Radio Jazz performance

The sixth through twelfth grade students in the school’s jazz ensemble, Radio Jazz, practiced for months. They transposed and performed the actual music from “Gumbasia” at their concert in March 2012. View the “Gumbasia” performance.

After listening to the original music to “Gumby on the Moon” and watching the episode on video over and over, the students composed their own original music with several movements to correspond with the passages in the video. The episode was shown on the large screen behind the band as they soulfully blended the hip and mysterious melodies they had written to evoke Gumby’s extraterrestrial experience. See the “Gumby on the Moon” performance.

What talent and creativity! The professional performance quality earned the band gigs as an opening act at the world-famous Yoshi’s jazz club in San Francisco. Congratulations! We applaud Ralph Martin for his dedication and unique approach to teaching. We know the talented students in Radio Jazz will go far.

Stretch for Excellence

In Florida a number of school districts are participating in a program called Stretch for Excellence, a campaign to motivate students and staff to stretch beyond the normal, expected outcomes and to never give up. It is designed to foster that “can do” life attitude that helps a person excel in our information age.

Gumby Stretch for Excellence in Florida schools

The program started first with teachers and support staff in a public school in Florida. They received much needed recognition through the 3” and 6” bendable Gumby, a token or reflection how “flexible” they had been.

Each month honorees were awarded the coveted “Gumby Award.” The program was so successful that it expanded to include students and has been used each year since its initiation in 2009. Gumby green can be found in almost every office and in many classrooms. More and more enthusiastic students challenge themselves as the concept continues to spread to new districts.

Keep on stretching for excellence! As Gumby has shown, learning can be fun.

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The Puppet Maker Career, An Interview with Gumby Puppet Maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay (Part Two)

Nicole LaPointe McKay, Gumby Puppet MakerGumby Central met with puppet maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay to get the inside scoop on making puppets and what it is like to have a career in puppetry and stop motion animation. Part Two: The Puppet Maker Career follows. Part One: Making Gumby appeared in our December 2011 blog post.  

GC: Thank you for taking time to continue our conversation on puppet making and animation as careers. Let’s start with the basics. What kind of education is needed to be a puppet maker?

NLM: Going to college helps you to focus and push forward in the right direction. There are plenty of theater arts programs worldwide. Going to college helped me meet and team up with others, who helped me break into the industry. If you are highly disciplined and self-motivated, you may be able to learn on the job. Building your portfolio is critical as is doing volunteer projects that help get your name out.

GC: In our last interview, you mentioned some of the events in your life that inspired you to become a puppet maker. Where did you study for this career?

NLM: I started out as a theater major with a concentration in scenery and stagecraft at Radford University in Virginia. I found that I really enjoyed a sculpture class I took one semester too. For French class, I chose to write a paper on the French Punch and Judy puppets (Le Guinol).  At the same time I wrote a report on Bunraku, (Japanese puppet theater) for a theater history class.  While researching, I learned about the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts program. All of my research and writings on puppetry, in addition to my new found love of sculpture, pushed me in that direction. I auditioned and was accepted into the UCONN Puppet Arts Masters Program.

While working on my master’s degree at UCONN, I was influenced by my study of old style Italian performance Commedia dell’arte.  There is a lot of slapstick comedy and clowning performance in this art and it is actually where the “slapstick” came from. By learning to use my own body in expression, I could better understand and transfer the motions to the puppets. I also studied Chinese rod puppetry, which is a very high energy and expressive style of Chinese puppetry.  There was a lot to gain in going to school for puppet arts. I got to know the history of puppetry around the world, gained experience in woodcarving, mould making and met some great people along the way. All of our classes required performances, so we not only made puppets, but we performed them. This hands-on experience was great, and I would recommend it.

GC: How did you gain your first employment in puppet making?

NLM: During and out of college, I joined forces with my colleagues and fellow students to do work at a few different studios, making puppets and scenery on the east and west coasts. Some of the jobs started as volunteer projects or unpaid internships and ultimately turned into paying jobs. Puppet making led to doing stop motion animation. Many jobs are obtained by word of mouth, so it’s good to maintain a strong network of colleagues.

GC: How did you go from puppet making to stop motion animation?

NLM: Once the puppets are made, it’s only natural to take the next step into animating them. Puppetry is “bringing an inanimate object to life.” Animation is much the same thing—you bring a drawing, painting, or puppet to life, giving them breath, a personality and movement to tell a story.

I believe that it’s important to continually hone and expand my skill set. For instance, I experimented in the garage with my cousin and a friend a lot while at school to learn more about mould making and casting. We used a variety of materials to make puppets, life castings, and gigantic Halloween monster costumes.

GC: Do you have any heroes or mentors who inspired you?

NLM: Besides Arthur Clokey? Art was a man of few words, but when he spoke, we all listened and not just because he did the voice of Pokey and many of the narrator voice overs. He had a great sense of humor and loved word play. You can see this in many of the Gumby episodes. Jim Henson and Frank Oz were two more heroes of mine of course! All their characters have been part of my life since birth: Sesame Street, the Muppets, the Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock and many others. There is so much life and personality in all the characters they developed and inspired. The humor appealed to me as a child and still holds my attention as an adult. Gumby is the same, especially the 1950s and 60s episodes; I loved them as a kid and still like to watch them now. There  is magic in creating a character and stories that work on these various levels and age groups.

GC: What is the life of stop motion animator or puppet maker like?

NLM: You have to be flexible! Few studios hire for life. When one production is done, you may have to take another project in a different studio and city. Much of the work in this industry is freelance. It’s like a traveling circus. That makes it interesting—you never know what you will be doing next or where.

GC: What advice would you give to those who are interested in a career in stop motion animation or puppetry?

NLM: One thing that has helped me to gain employment is to be open-minded and continue to expand my skills. Having a broad skill set has opened many doors. An animator who can fix his/her own puppets, do lighting and paint sets is more marketable. Building a resume and portfolio are very important. You have to be willing to start at the bottom—cleaning up puppets, working as an intern for little or no pay, to get your foot in the door.

GC: Thank you again, Nicole!

You can see some of Nicole’s work and read more on her blog:  http://www.nicolelapointe-mckay.blogspot.com/

Learn more about puppet making and how Gumby is made in the first segment of this interview available on our blog.  See production photos from the Gumby Studios here.

 

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