Tag Archives: Clokey Productions

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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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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Making Gumby, An Interview with Puppet Maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay

We caught up with Gumby puppet maker Nicole LaPointe-McKay to get the inside scoop on making puppets as a profession. Part One of our interview follows, and Part Two will appear in a future blog post, so stayed tuned; you’ll want to read the full story.

Nicole-LaPointe-McKay animating gumbyGC: Welcome Nicole. Thank you for taking time to join us at Gumby World today to tell us more about yourself and your experiences as a puppet maker. 

NLM: I’m happy to be here. I appreciate the opportunity.

GC: How did you become interested in being a puppet maker?
NLM: I’ve been interested in puppets since I was a kid. I was obsessed with the Muppet Show and stop animation programs. I watched Gumby on TV with my little brother. My mother would craft puppets for me to use in plays that I made up. I put on shows with hand puppets, my favorite monkey puppet, and a few marionettes. I always volunteered to get up in front of people to perform and lead others, such as the Girl Scouts, in plays. I was a thespian in high school, and it seemed natural that I would go on to study theater in college.

GC: How did you get involved with Gumby?
NLM: After college and having gained a few years of experience in puppet making, set design and animation, I applied to a posting on AWN.com (Animation World Network), not knowing what the studio was. I didn’t get that particular job, since it had already been filled, but I kept in touch with the studio—Clokey Productions. When studio producer Joe Clokey had an opening for a set designer, he called me. I worked on the Gumby Namco game commercial and have been with Gumby ever since. You can see some production photos here: (http://www.gumbyworld.com/gumbys-studio/)

GC: What kinds of puppets do you make?
NLM: I’m trained to work with just about any material and style of puppet. In my studies I was exposed to puppets from around the world and different time periods. Some of my favorites were the Japanese bunraku, the French Guinol and the Italian Commedia dell’Arte. Currently I fashion a lot of clay puppets for stop motion. I do have some personal projects in the works that involve hand-rod, big-mouth puppets (like the Muppets-type puppets.) I’m doing some new clay animation, too.

GC: How do you make a Gumby puppet?
NLM: Gumby is made of mostly Van Aken clay—a secret recipe! I whip up a batch following his unique recipe, mix, and boil it down in a double boiler to a unified color and the right consistency. I prep the silicone/stone mold with a floating armature. This is Gumby’s skeleton. I then pour the mixture into the mold and let it cool. Sometimes I chill it in the fridge to speed the process. Next, I pop him out of the mold and clean him up by trimming the seams and patching the bubble marks. Gumby gets an oil massage to make him smooth. I then drop a faceplate on him to mark where the features will go. Finally, I add the delicate clay features of his face.

GC: How many Gumby puppets does it take to make a Gumby TV episode?
NLM: More than you would think. The number of puppets needed really depends upon the storyline and type of morphing and movement that the puppet does. When Gumby morphs and changes shape, he needs to be replaced after every few seconds of animation, because the clay loses its shape. One minute of animation can require 20 Gumbys, sometimes more. The lights can also melt the clay, requiring a change of puppets. Because we go through so many puppets, it’s critical that they are all identical and made to the same specifications.

GC: You were involved in the Gumby Google doodle that appeared on October 12, 2011 to honor Art Clokey’s 90th birthday. Tell us about that.
NLM: It was a collaborative effort, involving a small subset of the Clokey Productions’ crew. We worked long distance—by phone, Skype and email. With the short deadline, I made puppets non-stop for a week before the animator could do his part. We used 3-6 puppets of each character for about 4-6 seconds of animation per character. The individual segments of animation were then sent to Google, where their programming team integrated them into their home page. It was exciting to see the characters come to life and move with the click of a mouse. The interaction was really fun! I think this was the first clay animation doodle that Google has used. The doodle was online around the world, so I hope that it inspired a renewed interest in clay animation. You can view it live and interact with it here: http://www.gumbygoogle.co.cc/

GC: What do you do for fun?
NLM: I’m always brainstorming and designing puppet shows and animations based on the interests of little kids that I know. I watch a lot of cartoons with my two-year-old daughter. I love to create (working in clay, painting…) and most enjoy brainstorming creative ideas with my artsy friends.

GC: What are your favorite recent animated productions?
NLM: I’m into watching Timmy Time, a stop motion animation with clay, foam, and rubber puppets done by the Aardman studio in England. I like this style of animation, because there is little speaking; it’s simple and tells the story through actions. Rather than a lot of words, they use onomatopoeia. Timmy Time is a preschool of animals, which children of all ages can enjoy watching. It’s cute, funny, has bright colors and teaches a lesson.

GC: What inspires you about the future?
NLM: Giving back is essential. I grew up in an area that did not provide many opportunities for kids to learn the arts. I still remember a week in my fifth grade class when our teacher had us make puppets and do a book report using them. That changed my life I think. You never know how you can have a positive influence on the next generation. To do my part, I teach stop motion animation classes and workshops at summer camps for kids.

Today, kids are animating with their phones and digital SLR’s. They have so many opportunities to create animations or other imaginative works. The tools are readily available. I love to help spark their imaginations.

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

Learn more about the career of puppet making in the second segment of our interview with Nicole. Look for it in a future blog post.

 

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