Stop motion animator came up with clay figure who had a 35-year run on television
Google is celebrating the 90th birthday of the stop motion animation pioneer Arthur “Art” Clokey in its Google doodle.
Detroit-born Clokey, who died in 2010, was best known for Gumby, a clay figure and star of the Gumby Show, which ran for 35 years from November 1955. Interest in the characters was given a boost in the 1980s when Eddie Murphy parodied Gumby in a Saturday Night Live skit.
One of Clokey’s first clay animation productions was Gumbasia (1955), a short, surreal homage to Walt Disney’s Fantasia that caught the eye of Samuel G Engel, then president of the Motion Pictures Producers Association. Engel was sufficiently impressed to finance the pilot film for what became the Gumby Show.
Film appearances, comic strips, merchandise and reruns in the 1990s on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network stand as testimony to Gumby’s enduring popularity.
The doodle features some of Clokey’s characters popping out from balls of clay.