Gumby: Remembering the Adventures of Gumby (1953 – 1995 - 2012)

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New Geeze
Writer
Jul 15, 2020
57
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Now, I was just minding my own business online, then Boom! I landed on this website called Gumby World! Can you imagine a whole webpage with hundreds of photos and articles dedicated to Gumby?

Crazy right? Yes, I was a mad fan of Gumby back in the ‘90s, but I never imagined someone could go to this extent. The website that brought back all the memories of Gumby. I couldn’t resist writing about it today.

For those who watched Gumby when it was released back in 1995, you must be feeling the nostalgia already. But to those who didn’t and are wondering who the heck is Gumby, don’t worry, I will give you a brief background of Gumby the movie.

Most of you may be aware of Gumbys Pizza instead. We will, later on, talk about why using Gumby is a winning business strategy for Gumbys Pizza. Firstly, let me fill you in on who exactly Gumby is and why he was a famous character in the Mid-‘90s.

First things first…

This is how Gumby looked like 64 years ago…and Now!
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Photo Courtesy: GumbyWorld.
Compare that with how Gumby looks today. We will also look into some little known facts about Gumby that you ought to know.

You will notice that Gumby looked different in the various episodes. Art Clokey would tweak the clay puppet to fit the story in every episode. Some tweaks were so small that you wouldn’t notice. You will also see that Gumby’s colour has been changing over time.

Art had this unique approach of tweaking Gumby to distinguish every new batch of Gumby Shows from each other. In the 60s, Gumby’s head had an arch (convex curve) rather than a concave curve, as seen in the 50s. Also, notice that in the 50s, Gumby had small red eye beads, while in the 1960s and 1980s, he had flat black disks for pupils. The Gumby of the ‘80s had a more rounded bump than the pointer version of the ‘50s.

Understanding the background of Gumby
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Gumby was an American clay animation film series that featured a green clay character modelled by Art Clokey. Gumby was featured in two TV series and a full-length movie in other media. Gumby became a popular example of stop-motion clay animation and an influential cultural icon, spawning tributes, parodies, and merchandise.

The show follows the adventures of Gumby in various environments and times. In the show, Pokey is Gumby’s main sidekick, a red pony that talks. The G and J Blockheads are his enemies. The blockheads are two antagonistic red humanoid figures with cube-like heads; one has the letter G on the block, while the other has the letter J. Katzenjammer Kids inspired the Blockhead characters.

Other characters in the show include Prickle, a yellow dinosaur that could breathe fire. He would sometimes act as a detective. There is also Goo, who was a flying blue mermaid that spits blue goo balls and can change shape into any object. He could even transform into a machine. Then there is Gumbo and Gumba, Gumby’s parents. Nopey was Gumby’s dog that could only say Nope. Now that part I found funny. These are some of the subtle fun parts of the show that are just memorable.

To add to the new episodes, the series featured shorts of the 50s and 60s that were made using original audios. Jerry Gerber’s music was used in the series.

Around 1992, Gumby episodes were aired on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. In 1995, Art Clokey produced an independent theatre film called Gumby: The Movie. This was the first feature-length movie. It featured John R. Dilworth, who also went on to create Courage the Cowardly Dog; he was the film animation consultant in Gumby: The Movie.
In the movie, the Blockheads villains Kidnap Gumby’s dog and replace them with robots. The, later on, kidnap Gumby and his friends. The film was a tribute to science fiction films like Star-wars, The Terminator, and A Space Odyssey. Later on in 1998, Robot Rumpus, a Gumby episode, was featured in the Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Fast forward to 2007; YouTube published all the full-length episodes of Gumby. Gumby became so popular that KQED-TV broadcasted an hour-long documentary called Gumby Dharma as a segment of its Truly CA series. This also included a thorough overview of Art Clokey’s life and works. It was also the launching pad for the new animation Gumby and Pokey.



Here are some nine facts about Gumby that you should know
Kids, as well as adults, have been watching Gumby and his adventures with Pookey, Prickle, Boo, and Blockheads for many years now. The clay characters exceeded expectations of viewers as they were one of the greatest successes in the programming of children shows back in the 50s. The success was replicated in the ‘90s with the release of the Gumby 1: The movie. This made Gumby become an icon, a cultural symbol for many decades to follow.

Recently, Gumby has not been at the forefront of the cartoon industry like the Muppets and the likes. But he has been used in many promotions like the Gumby Pizza promotion.

Gumby still resonates well with today’s kids because of its funny character and engaging storyline.

Here are some facts you know and some that you didn’t know about Gumby:

1. Gumby Most famous ability was shape-sifting

Since Gumby is made of clay, he could mold himself into anything he wished. As seen in the theme song, Gumby could easily walk through walls. He could also be cut into two pieces buy still continue walking and talking with each piece of him operating on it its own.

2. Gumby’s look Kept changing over the years.
If you had a keen eye, you will notice that Gumby’s form kept changing. I highlighted this at the beginning of the article. In the 50’s and 60’s, Gumby had not hands, his mouth had a green gap and red eye beads. He was a shade of Teal. And his lump was smaller on his back with a clearer nose and mouth, lighter eyes, a smoother boddy and bigger head.

In the late 60s, Gumby was made wider and smoother with a bigger bump on his head. It is around this time that he had eyebrows and his eyes switch from red to black. That was when he also had thumbs. In the 1980s, Gumby was sporting a lighter green colour and a sleeker face.


3. ‘Fantasia’ by Disney inspired the Gumby Show
In the 50s, Art Clokey wanted to shoot a three minute movie based on Disney’s futuristic Fantasia film called Gumbasia, Clockey designed and enlarged clay lumps to make them appear to move around. This is where he got the idea of making Gumby and other related animated figures for Kids TV.

4. Did you know Gumby was debut on ‘The Howdy Doody Show’?
The Howdy Doody Show was the pioneer for kids programming back I the 50s. Clokey took his talents and produced Gumby for the show. Gumby became so famous that TV executives eventually introduced their dedicated show for Gumby. That is how Gumby Show started back in 1957 – 1968.

5. This is why Gumby’s head is slanted
The feet of Gumby was much bigger to ensure that he can stand alone during filming. However, the slanted shape of his head was more of a sentimental value. Art Clokey based the shape on his dad’s photo. The poufy cowlick was a prominent feature that Clokey loved, and he even named it the pump of wisdom.

6. Art Clokey created Davey and Goliath

In the 60s, stop-motion Claymation was a new concept. Therefore, Clokey had monopolized the market. He is remembered as being the creator of the amazing show called Davey and Goliath that also featured clay characters in the 60s. The Lutheran Church funded this show.

7. Did you know Eddie Murphy played a role In Gumby?
Yes, in the 70s, kids' programming was mainly based on cartoons rather than Claymation. Gumby was quickly forgotten around the 80s.

However, Eddie Murphy re-enlightened Gumby. He impersonated Gumby in one of his shows, which aroused Gumby’s fans all over the world. It even led to the reboot of the show towards the end of the century.


8. You can watch this entire classic series on YouTube
Thanks to technology. The perfect repository for retro. You can now binge on Gumby’s series on YouTube. If you are like me, you loved the Gumby show of the ‘90s and the nostalgia it brings; it is now available on YouTube.

Take a look at how the 50s and 60s cartoons were made. The Kabillion Channel has these episodes. You can relive the past by catching up with your favourite comics of the ‘90s and beyond.


9. Did you know that a suggestion from Art’s wife inspired Gumby?

Gumby was inspired by Clokey’s wife's suggested that he should base the character on the Gingerbread man. Green was Clokey’s favourite colour, and it happened to be neutral, non-racist. Clokey wanted Gumby to be green so that he can appeal to all races.

10. In 1993, Gumby was named the Best cartoon series of the 50s
Yes, it was in 1993, don’t be surprised! It took that long for Gumby to be acknowledged J. The show was awarded by TV Guide when it was celebrating 40 years of television.

What are your Gumby moments? What do you remember about Gumby and his adventure? This was a good show, not my top best, but still, it is a show that needs some new content. It should be revived for the new generation.

Long live, Gumby!




 

Abizaga

Omega Geeze
Admin
Jul 13, 2019
2,726
530
OMFG I loved gumby as a kid!! I used to have little figures but they're long since lost. :'(
 

Grizzy{w}

Super Geeze
Aug 11, 2020
580
133
yep those were them! then i remember nathans had hotdog toys that reminded me of them. each one was a different hotdOg bendable character LOL...they smelled the same as the gumby toys S=
 

Abizaga

Omega Geeze
Admin
Jul 13, 2019
2,726
530
I kinda might remember the hotdogs but MY GOD seeing those oyher figures brought my back.