Art Clokey's hand made GUMBY
1987 Reference Model sculpted for his animators
The famous stop-motion animated character Gumby debuted in 1953 in Mr. Clokey's very first short
film "Gumbasia", a surreal parody of Walt Disney's "Fantasia". The courageous humanoid first
appeared on the Howdy Doody show before airing on its own in 1957. Production occurred
during a 35 year period in over 200 episodes culminating in a 1980s-1990s Nickelodeon
series and a 1995 feature film release. Independently written and guided by the humor
and wisdom of its creator Art Clokey, Gumby, a renowned part of the lexicon
of American Culture, is a hero to children all over the world.
When I worked at BGP, KQAK, KFOG, PBS, & the Sunday Worldbeat nights at The Kennel Club in San Francisco, circa 1983-1994, Jeff Roth,
schoolmate from the 70's Filmmaking Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, let me use his Focused Audio Studio on Natoma Street
in SF for dubbing 3/4" world music videos in prep for all my shows. Often I would do transfers around Jeff's intense efforts to re-do and
create soundtracks for all the original and new Gumby episodes that you can read much more about in the link in Jeff's email below.
One day Art Clokey, Gumby's creator back in the 1950s, gave Jeff his hand-made Reference Model for the new animators.
Jeff passed it on to me, perhaps because he knew I would take good care of it. Now over twenty years later this exquisite
hand-sculpted Gumby makes its first public appearance. If only the mass manufactured Gumbys had half the charm of
this 6 1/4 inch, one-of-a-kind icon. You can see Art's thumbprints on it. Arthur died in 2010. Gumby lives on forever.
It is still basically in the same shape as the day Jeff gave it to me. Since the eyes & mouth moved when animated Art just
left the nose on his Reference Model, though indentations appear where the rest should go. His fingerprints are on
several pressure points. This is the only known version of Gumby sculpted beautifully by his creator in existence.
Now is the right time for this wonderful object to find another loving home to be properly preserved for posterity.
-Doug Wendt, 2011
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2011 17:04:31 -0800
I think it's great that you have kept the GUMBY clay figure that Art Clokey made as a Reference Model for his new animators in 1987 in such pristine shape.
Working with Art and Gloria during '87 and '88 was a great time for all of us that had that opportunity. In the documentary about Art, "Gumby Dharma",
he says that that was his most creative and happiest time. I also treasured working with him on "Gumby the Movie" in 1991.
Many people do not realize that Art was the voice of Gumby's dad Gumbo, as well as Prickle and Pokey. They were all parts of him, and I have to
laugh every-time I see an episode where Prickle and Pokey are talking back and forth and I think of Art in the studio doing both the voices.
I hope the little green boy goes to someone who will cherish the spirit that Art put into him.
Here is a link to an article on our GUMBY audio work.
Personally hand-sculpted by Art Clokey in 1987:
GUMBY right side view
GUMBY back view
GUMBY left side view
GUMBY front left view
GUMBY front view
Art Clokey and Jeff Roth soundly at work on GUMBY