Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Davey and Goliath

Go To

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 can be read here.

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 spoof (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 (which Art Clokey created).
  • As the Good Book Says...: Being a Christian show, naturally 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 titular 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 helps him.
  • Catchphrase: Goliath often concernedly remarks, "I don't know, Davey..."
  • Character Celebrity Endorsement: Davey and Goliath appeared in a Mountain Dew soda ad in the early 2000s. The ELCA used the profits from the ad to make Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas.
  • Claymation: Like Gumby which is fitting considering they share a creator/producer (Art Clokey).
  • Darker and Edgier: Instead of the more simple Aesops they had in the early 1960s, which consisted of sharing and forgiveness, the 1970s episodes dealt with racism, parental loss, and death. The 1970s series did often revisit the same Aesops dealt with the earlier episodes, but took them to a whole new level; for example, the Aesop of 1964's "Good Neighbor" was loving your neighbor as yourself, and it followed a simple storyline of Davey sacrificing the chance of getting a free good neighbor balloon to help a lost little girl find her way home. But its 1970s counterpart, "Who's George", has a man in Jonathan Reed's apartment building get severely ill, but everyone thinks he is just being lazy until Davey and Johnathan climb the fire escape and see that hes on the verge of death, and get him medical help in the nick of time.
  • 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.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Sally plays with dolls, wears frilly dresses, and is interested in cooking and sewing, but she also will occasionally play baseball with Davey, go rock hunting (complete with a boy scout uniform), and enjoys camping and hiking. She also rescues Davey on a few occasions.
  • Green Aesop: Multiple episodes had one, most notably "The Caretakers", where Davey learns to respect God's creation after pouring paint down a well and littering, "Ready Or Not", where Davey and Johnathan Reed clean up a city park, and "To The Rescue", where Davey and friends plant new trees after a forest fire burned the old ones.
  • Jesus Taboo: Although the series was produced by the Lutheran Church, the characters rarely mentioned specific religious grounds, 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.
  • Literary Allusion Title: David and Goliath, you say?
  • Nuclear Family:
    • Davey's family is a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, and a dog all together in a house in the suburbs.
    • Averted in the episode "The Greatest," when New Transfer Student Nicky spends a lot of time boasting about how great his dad is, only for it to turn out he's overcompensating for not having a father. The gang reassures him that families come in many forms and there's no reason for him to feel left out.
  • Product Placement: David and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas has Goliath sport an ELCA logo dog tag. This tags also appears on newly-commissioned promos for the show's website attached to TBN broadcasts.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: "The Caretakers" features a scene with Davey and Goliath hiking on train tracks. But then Davey decides to pretend he's Chained to a Railway and starts making "clackety-clack" train noises, and thus cannot hear an actual freight train speeding towards him. Luckily Goliath pulls Davey off the tracks just in time.
  • Rearrange the Song: The 1970s episodes featured a version of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" with an updated, slightly more contemporary sound.
  • 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 television.
  • Totally Radical: Davey and Goliath's Snowboard Christmas, a special produced by the ELCA in 2004.
  • Vague Age: Davey, or any of the other characters, never have their ages mentioned. In the early 1960s episodes, Davey looked to be about 9-12 years old, but in the 1970s series, he appeared to be around 12-14. We know he is younger than high school age, thanks to the episodes "The Stopped Clock", where Davey is a waterboy for the local high school's baseball team, and "Rickety-Rackety", where a boy failed French (the fact that they study French indicates that they are in middle school) says "Anyhow, my dad said he didn't have to take French until high school!" However, in "School, Who Needs It!" Davey and friends only have one teacher, suggesting they are in elementary school, but it is very possible they go to a K-8 school where each grade only has one teacher, judging by the fact their school is simply called Palmview School, not Palmview Elementary School nor Palmview Middle/Junior High School. In the 1972 Davey and Goliath educational film "The Family of God", Davey takes his first communion, and the average age for Lutherans to start communing is fifth grade. However, it seems like a no-brainer for the Lutheran church to use popular children's characters that they owned in their first communion film, and the show was already running for 11 years when the episode was made, so this doesn't necessarily indicate the age of the characters. Furthermore, in the 1960s episode "Happy Landing", Davey's neighbor brings him to his job as a air traffic controller at a commercial airport. When the neighbor gets jokingly asked if Davey is a new pilot, he replies "Give Davey 12 more years and he will be up there flying in that plane." We don't know how old you needed to be to fly a commercial plane in the 1960s, but if it was still 18 like it is now, that would put Davey's age at 6 in that series. However, if you need an Airline Transport Pilot license, you have to be 23, suggesting the more likely possibility that Davey was 11 in the 1960s series.
  • 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.
    • In later releases including online, it seems this part has been bowdlerized, as there's a quick cut from Davey asking what's wrong and the boy walks off as if he didn't even notice Davey or the dog that just pulled him away.