Western Animation / Davey and Goliath


Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby, produced this syndicated Religious Edutainment series in the early 1960s for one of the predecessors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It centered on a young boy named Davey Hansen and his talking dog, Goliath. When Goliath speaks, only Davey can hear him. More information: http://www.daveyandgoliath.org/

The Simpsons episodes "Bart the Lover", "Simpsons Bible Stories", "HOMR" and "Ned 'n' Edna's Blend" all include mocking references to Davey and Goliath. [adult swim]'s Moral Orel started as a direct parody (at least, that's what popular belief will tell you)note .

This series provides examples of:

  • Animated Series: Animated in a similar style to Gumby.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Being a Christian show, of course this trope appears in a few episodes, most notably "The Doghouse Dreamhouse" where Davey puts a Bible verse above the entrance of Goliath's Doghouse, and "To The Rescue" where they read Bible verses about teamwork, the episode's Aesop, during Chapel at Church Camp.
  • Blind Black Guy: An episode involving Jonathan's cousin, who was temporarily blind after an operation.
  • The Bully: The title character in "Bully Up a Tree" harasses Davey until he winds up, well, caught in a tree. He is disarmed and learns his lesson when Davey shows kindness and rescues him.
  • Catch-Phrase: Goliath often worriedly remarks, "I don't know, Davey..."
  • Character Celebrity Endorsement: Davey and Goliath appeared in a Mountain Dew ad in the early 2000s. The ELCA used the profits from the ad to make Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas.
  • Claymation: Ala Gumby which is fitting considering they share a producer.
  • Fantastic Racism: In one episode, Goliath dislikes another neighborhood dog because the other dog has spots. Eventually he learns the Aesop that color doesn't matter and what counts is the heart on the inside. (This parallels a storyline in which Davey confronts racial prejudice with his friend Scottie.)
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Featured on the human characters due to the Claymation.
  • Jesus Taboo: Although the series was produced by the Lutheran Church, the characters rarely mentioned specific religious terms, to ensure the show had a broad appeal.note 
  • Karmic Twist Ending: In one episode, Jimmy rushes past an injured girl in order to collect a "Good Neighbor" balloon at a festival. Davey stops to help the girl and as a result doesn't receive his balloon. The episode concludes with Jimmy boasting that he's a good neighbor since he has the balloon to prove it— and to his dismay the balloon pops right in his face.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", a hymn written by Martin Luther in the 16th century.
  • Talking Animal: Goliath though he is only heard by Davey.
  • Token Minority: Jonathan Reed is black and one of the earliest examples of this trope on TV.
  • Totally Radical: Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas, a special produced by the ELCA in 2004.
  • Wham Episode: The Easter special episode, where Davey's grandmother dies.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In a later episode, Goliath pulls a child out of the way of an oncoming ambulance and, when the child points at his ear in explanation, Davey angrily retorts, "You bet you oughta shoot yourself, for being so dumb!" Once Davey learns that the boy is in fact deaf, he feels appropriately remorseful for his words. But still, geez, Davey.