Art Clokey produced this series of clay-animated shorts for NBC
in the 1950s after screening his student film Gumbasia
for 20th Century Fox
. Clokey also performed some of the character voices.
Gumby himself was portrayed as a young boy capable of changing his shape at will. He also could walk into books and participate in the stories therein. His friends included Pokey, a red horse; Prickle, a "prickly" yellow dragon... except for the episodes where he self-identified as a dinosaur
, and Goo, a blue female character who rather resembles a small sea lion with a blond wig (Word of God
said she's a "gooey blue mermaid
"). Gumby's foes, the Blockheads, never spoke.
The character debuted in 1956, as a segment of "The Howdy Doody Show". He was succesful enough to receive his own spin-off show. The original Gumby
shorts aired on NBC in 1957. After the series' network run ended, Clokey bought back the rights to his characters and produced new Gumby
episodes for syndication
in the 1960s
and the 1980s
. A Gumby direct-to-video movie was released circa 1995.
Gumby's 1980s resurgence in popularity was most likely attributable to a series of sketches on Saturday Night Live
depicting Gumby (played by Eddie Murphy) and Pokey (played by Joe Piscopo) as actually being old-time Jewish vaudeville stars themselves playing parts. These sketches birthed the Catchphrase
"I'm Gumby, dammit!"
was turned into the mascot for a pizza chain
catering to college
towns. They name a fair amount of stuff after characters in the series (e.g., Pokey Sticks), and the green, stretchy one himself appears on their boxes.
This series provides examples of:
The 1995 movie provides examples of: