Gumby's principal sidekick is Pokey, a talking pony voiced by Art Clokey and Dallas McKennon at different times, and his nemeses are the Blockheads, a pair of humanoid, red-colored figures with block-shaped heads, who wreak mischief and havoc at all times. The Blockheads were inspired by the Katzenjammer Kids, who were always getting into scrapes and causing discomfort to others. Other characters are Gumby's dog Nopey (who responds to everything with a gloomy "nope"); and Prickle, a yellow creature often mistaken for a dinosaur but who was proved to actually be a dragon in the installment titled "The Big City" where he breathed fire at the vicious dog of a man trying to mug Gumby for a recently purchased guitar. Prickle often declares himself as a detective, sporting a pipe and a hat in the likeness of Sherlock Holmes. Also featured are Goo, a flying blue mermaid who spits blue goo-balls and can change her physical shape at will; Gumby's mother Gumba; Gumby's father Gumbo; his sister Minga; Denali (a mastodon); Tilly (a hen); King Ott; and Professor Kapp.
Gumby was created by Art Clokey while a student of Slavko Vorkapich at the University of Southern California. Clokey and his wife, Ruth (née Ruth Parkander), invented Gumby in the early 1950s at their Covina home shortly after Art finished film school at USC. Clokey's first animated film was a 1953 three-minute short called Gumbasia, a surreal montage of moving and expanding lumps of clay set to music in a parody of Disney's Fantasia. Gumbasia was created in a style Vorkapich taught called Kinesthetic Film Principles. Described as "massaging of the eye cells", this technique of camera movements and editing was responsible for much of the Gumby look and feel. In 1955 Clokey showed Gumbasia to movie producer Sam Engel, who encouraged him to develop his technique by adding figures. Of the three pilot episodes of Gumby, the first was done by Clokey on his own, and the next two were done for NBC and shown on The Howdy Doody Show to test audience reaction. The second 15-minute pilot, "Gumby Goes to the Moon", was initially rejected by NBC executive Thomas Warren Sarnoff. The third Gumby episode, "Robot Rumpus", made a successful debut on the Howdy Doody Show in August 1956. Gumby was an NBC series starting in 1957. 
Gumby was inspired by a suggestion from Clokey's wife Ruth that he base his character on the Gingerbread man. Gumby was green simply because that was Clokey's favorite color. Gumby's legs and feet were made wide for pragmatic reasons: they ensured the clay character would stand up during stop-motion filming. The famous slanted shape of Gumby's head was based on the hair style of Clokey's father Charles Farrington in an old photograph.
Female performers (among them Ginny Tyler and Nancy Wible) supplied Gumby's voice during the initial episodes. New episodes were added from 1961 to 1963, at which time Dallas McKennon became the voice of Gumby. Production continued through 1966-1968, by which time Norma MacMillan voiced Gumby.
By the 1980s, the original Gumby shorts had enjoyed a revival, both on television and home video. This led to a new incarnation of the series for television syndication by Lorimar-Telepictures in 1988 that included new characters such as Gumby's sister Minga, Tilly the chicken, and Denali the mastodon. Dallas McKennon returned as the voice of Gumby in new adventures that would take Gumby and his pals beyond their toyland-type setting and establish themselves as a rock band.
In addition to the new episodes, the classic 1955-59 and 1961-68 shorts were re-run as part of the series, but with newly recorded soundtracks, including new voices and synthesized musical scores (Clokey's rights to use the original Capitol Records production tracks could not be renewed at the time, due to legal issues.)
Art Clokey reportedly gave many movie industry talents their first break in the business. A number of the clay animators who worked on the new series went on to work for Pixar, Disney and other studios.
In 1987, the character appeared in The Puppetoon Movie. In 1995, Clokey's production company produced an independently released theatrical film, Gumby I (aka Gumby: The Movie), marking the clay character's first feature-length adventure. In it, the villainous Blockheads replace Gumby and his band with robots and kidnap their dog, Lowbelly. The movie featured in-joke homages to such sci-fi classics as Star Wars, The Terminator, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Starting in 1992, Cartoon Network aired re-runs of Gumby episodes.
The Library of Congress had Gumby as a spokescharacter from 1994 to 1995, due to a common sequence in his shows where Gumby walks into a book, and then experiences the world inside the book as a tangible place. By the end of the decade, Gumby and Pokey had appeared in commercials for Cheerios cereal, most notably Frosted Cheerios.
Although no new animated Gumby material is planned for the foreseeable future, most of the episodes (with a few exceptions) of the two series are available on home video and DVD.
In August 2005, the first video game featuring Gumby, Gumby vs. the Astrobots, was released by Namco for the Game Boy Advance. In it, Gumby must rescue Pokey, Prickle and Goo after they are captured by the Blockheads and their cohorts, the Astrobots. Also in the summer of 2005, an event produced by TheDeepArchives/TDA Animation was held in New York. The exhibit featured props, storyboards and script pages from various Gumby shorts over the past 50 years, as well as toys and other memorabilia that had appeared during Gumby's "career," including a reproduction of Eddie Murphy's Saturday Night Live Gumby costume. The centerpiece of the show was an actual complete set used in the production of a TV commercial for Gumby vs. the Astrobots.
In San Francisco, California, Studio Z held "Gumby's 50th Birthday Party" with Gumby creator Art Clokey. The bands Smash Mouth and Remoter played at the party, hosted by comedian Kevin Meaney. The party/comedy tribute was written by comedy writer and stage director Martin Olson and Gumby's creative director and composer Robert F. Thompson. It was produced by Missing Link Media Ventures and Clokey Productions.
In 2006, The Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta, Georgia, hosted the most comprehensive Clokey/Gumby exhibition to date. Entitled "Gumby: Art Clokey - The First Fifty Years," the exhibition was curated by writer/animator David Scheve, and featured over one hundred puppets and many of the original sets from the 1980s television series, as well as the 1990s full length theatrical film. The exhibition ran from August 2006 until March 2007.
Bob Burden wrote the Gumby comic series with art by Rick Geary, colors by Steve Oliff and Lance Borde, edited by Mel Smith and published by Wildcard Ink. The first issue dated July 2006. It won an honor for Best Publication for a Younger Audience at the 2007 Eisner Awards.
The Gumby images and toys are registered trademarks of Prema Toy Company. Premavision owns the distribution rights to the Gumby cartoons (having been reverted from previous distributor Warner Bros. Television), and has licensed the rights to Classic Media.
On March 16, 2007, YouTube announced that all Gumby episodes would appear in their full-length form on its site, digitally remastered and with their original soundtracks. This deal also extended to other video sites, including AOL.
On January 8, 2010, creator Art Clokey died of natural causes at his home in Los Osos, CA.
Various Gumby merchandise has been produced over the years, the most prominent item being bendable figures. Several single packs and multi-figure sets by Jesco, as well as a 50th anniversary collection, have been made of the Gumby characters. Also included in the Gumby merchandise catalog are plush dolls, keychains, mugs, a 1988 Colorforms color foams set, a 1995 Trendmasters playset, and a Kubricks set by Medicom.
A tribute album, Gumby, was released in 1989 by Buena Vista records.
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Gumby is a dark green clay figure who starred in 233 episodes of an American television series called The Adventures of Gumby. The series went on for 35 years. Gumby was animated using stop motion clay animation. In the series Gumby has a sister called Minga. In the commercial, this is Frosted Cheerios in 2 episodes cameo appearance of Gumby and Pokey and Butterfinger in 26 episodes in 2009 starring Gumby, Pokey, Prickle, Goo, Minga, Nopey, Yellow Goat, Gumbo, Gumba, Blockheads, Granny, Clayboys, Denali, Chilly the Chicken, Sad Kind Ott, Baby Gumby, Ginger, Tara, Roger the Penguin, Walus and Teacher Horse. In the movie, this is "The Puppetoon Movie", "Gumby: The Movie" and "Mickey Mouse: The Movie".
Gumby was started by Art Clokey in 1953. The first 'episode' was a 3-minute short called Gumbasia. It showed moving lumps of clay set to music, and parodied Fantasia. In 1955, Art showed Gumbasia to movie producer Sam Engel, who then paid him for a 15 minute film called Gumby Goes to the Moon.
Gumby was given his own NBC series in 1957. Female actress' voiced Gumby. New episodes were added in 1962, and Dallas McKennon became the voice of Gumby.
|Episode||Date||Run time||DVD release / Notes|
|The Eggs and Trixie & Egg Trouble||Dec 28, 1957||11 min.||After finding egg, cut to "Egg Trouble" in 5 minutes.|
|Mirrorland & Lost and Found||December 29, 1956||6 min.||"Lost and Found" ending scene of the car then cut to the coin in Gumby's Fun Fling.|
|The Gumby Pilot||Nov 28, 1954||Also on the Gumby 7 DVD Set|
|The Fantastic Farmer & Gopher Trouble||Dec 29, 1956||11 min.||Both films edited back into their original format.|
|Dragon Daffy||April 8, 1967||7 min.|
|Goo for Pokey||Feb 6, 1965|
|The Missile Bird||Jan 2, 1965|
|Birthday Party in the Middle Ages||Feb 13, 1982||8 min., 3 sec.|
|Mirror-Aculous Recovery||Jan 3, 1981||6 min., 30 sec.|
|Of Clay and Critters||April 8, 1967||5 min.|
|The Music Ball||Nov 1, 1980||7:12|
|Prickle Turns Artist||April 6, 1968||4:04|
|Stuck on Books||September 2, 1967||Also in Gumby's Fun Fling (VHS).|
|Gabby Anne||September 2, 1967||4 min.|
|Pokey a la Mode||December 31, 1988||1:42|
|Train Trouble||November 29, 1958||4:41||The episode of Gumby is 1958 version.|
|Gumby Business/Gumbasia: Baby Gumby/Toy Fun||February 2, 1958||7 min.||Both films edited back into their original format.|
|Lawn Party||May 2, 1964||5:43||Also in VHS Gumby's Fun Fling.|
|The Big Eye||May 2, 1964||5 min.|
|Gumbot||May 2, 1981||5 min., 51 sec.|
|How Not to Trap Lions/The Mocking Monkey/Monkey Business||February 2, 1958||Both films edited back into their format.|
|Gone Clayzy||September 3, 1988||1:43|
|The Funny Bathtub||Nov 25, 1995||4 min.||Also in Gumby DVD Set|
|Chatter Box||Nov 25, 1995||60 sec.|
|All Cooped Up||August 1, 1981|
|Band Contest||December 31, 1983||5:53|
|Clayfully Yours||December 30, 1989||3:58||Also in The Very Best New Adventures of Gumby Vol. 1.|
|Lost Treasure||April 4, 1981|
|The Gumby League||April 1, 1967||3 min.|
|A Real Seal||January 1, 1983||6 min.|
|The Beetle and the Caterpillar||April 4, 1981|
|Guitar Magic||May 2, 1981|
|Gumby's Circus||August 1, 1981||6:13|
|The Groobee||August 1, 1959||Also in Gumby Essentials Vol. 1.|
|The Witty Witch||August 1, 1959|
|Merry-Go-Pumpkin||December 3, 1983|
|Clay Play||September 3, 1988||5:05|
|A Minar Affair||August 1, 1981|
|Dolly for Minga||November 2, 1992|
|Hidden Valley||May 30, 1959||Also in Gumby Essentials Vol. 1.|
|Hot Rod Granny||August 1, 1959|
|Chicken Feed||May 30, 1959|
|Lost Arrow||November 2, 1992|
|Tricky Ball||April 8, 1967||4 min.|
|Even Stevens||Apr 4, 1959||5 min.|
|The Zoops||April 4, 1959|
|Motor Madness||January 6, 1968|
|Puppy Dog School||April 29, 1967||An episode of Gumby "Puppy Dog School" in Eastman Color in 16mm film.|
|The Search||December 31, 1983|
|The Astrobots||June 4, 1988|
|Grub Grabber Gumby||April 6, 1968||4 min.|
|Wishful Thinking||April 6, 1968|
|Geese Grief||June 11, 1988|
|Fox Hunt||June 11, 1988|
|Shrink-a-Dink||November 1, 1980|
|Hatching Out||November 1, 1980||6:10|
The Adventures of Gumby had 22 bonus episodes and 16 episodes with commentary.
|Weight and See||January 6, 1968|
|Magic Mystic||January 6, 1968|
|Ricochet Pete||December 2, 1961||Also in Gumby Essentials Vol. 1.|
|Northland Follies||December 2, 1961||Audio episode in 1995.|
|The Small Planets||December 2, 1961||Also in Gumby Essentials Vol. 1.|
|Turnip Trap||November 30, 1968|
|The Indian Challenge||November 30, 1968|
|Wild Girls||January 3, 1981|
|Gumby Baby-sits||May 6, 1967||Also in VHS Gumby's Fun Fling.|
|Dopey Nopey||April 29, 1967|
|Pilgrims on the Rock||December 4, 1964|
|The Blue Goo||February 6, 1965|
|A Hair-Raising Adventure||February 6, 1965|
|Pokey Express||June 7, 1958||11 min.||1958 episode edited back to original 11 minutes.|
|Pokey Minds the Baby||March 4, 1967|
|The Moon Boggles||March 4, 1967|
|Hot Ice||March 4, 1967|
|My-O-Maya||December 3, 1988|
|Pokey a La Mode||December 3, 1988|
|Balloonancy||April 23, 1988|
|Wild Train Ride||May 7, 1988|
|Minga Sitting||Feb 27, 1982||6 min||Also on Cartoon Network.|
|Foxy Proxy||September 2, 1967|
|The Lost Birthday Present||March 4, 1989|
|Minga's Folly||June 11, 1988|
|Little Denali Lost||September 3, 1988|
|Just Train Crazy||March 4, 1989|
|Wickiups and Bulrushes||March 4, 1989|
|Kangaroo Express||March 11, 1989|
|For the Graduate||March 11, 1989|
|Sad King Ott's Daughter||December 1, 1962|
|King for a Day||December 1, 1962|
|Rain for Roo||December 1, 1962|
|Candidate for President||February 13, 1965|
|A Groobee Fight||March 4, 1967|
|Piano Rolling Blues||March 11, 1967|
|Time Kapp-Sule||December 3, 1983|
|A Gumby Day||April 7, 1984|
|Moon Trip||December 31, 1955||18 min.||Also in Gumby Vol. 1 (VHS and DVD) and Gumby Essentials Vol. 1 (DVD).|
|Goo and the Queen||August 6, 1988||13 min.||1988 episode edited back to 1980's 13 minutes length.|
|The Forbidden Mine||January 7, 1989||13 min.||1989 episode edited back to 1980's 13 minutes length.|
|Space Oddity||January 14, 1989||13 min.||1989 episode edited back to 1980's 13 minutes length.|