Gumby In and Out of Books
In many episodes, Gumby is in a toy store playing with other toys and books. Gumby, Pokey, and their fellow adventurers are able to go in and out of the books and explore different environments and times in history. We wondered if this was done to promote literacy or imagination. Art surprised us, again.
“The books were a gimmick, you might say, for getting out of the toy shop and into another world or another setting. That’s the main reason we used them, not to encourage kids to read. That’s the way they are using these parts of our stories now, which is good. But at that time, it was just a gimmick for getting us out of the toy store and back into the toy store from the book. It turned out to be a beautiful device.”
The traveling into and out of inanimate objects did not stop with books for Gumby.
“In one of the early episodes we had a musical note that was magic. We animated the note and its stem to fly through and into a 78 RPM record. It vanished into a music-land in the record the same way Gumby could vanish into a book. When the videocassette came along we had it go into videocassettes, and we’ll be going into computers in the computer age.”
Gumby Reading and Learning
Gumby loves to learn, and learning occurs all the time in Gumby’s environment. The Library of Congress thought enough of Gumby to make him their spokes-character from 1994 to 1995, because he could walk right into a book and live within the images that writers created with words on paper.
The Gumby series became famous, in part, because it addressed many classic literary works and historical events. It provided information about the world around us by using the creative approach of having Gumby and Pokey literally enter books to explore other lands and engage with historical figures and other cultures.
Anyone would want to have the experiences that Gumby has had: sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with the Native Americans; crossing the Delaware with George Washington; calling upon the Indian Rain Spirits; or going to the moon in a space ship.