Saturday, January 9, 2010

Art Clokey RIP

October 12, 1921 - January 8, 2010

I just learned that the "Claymation" pioneer and the creative force behind Gumby and Davey & Goliath passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Countless childhood hours were spent watching his creations. My favorites were Gumby and his pal Pokey. I had the rubber bendable toys (and even some of the costumes) and little Michael played with them endlessly. Endlessly that is, until the wire inside broke rendering them unbendable, at which point they were relegated to bottom of my toy closet (until Mom or Dad bought a replacement).

I also have a fondness for Davey and Goliath, the 15 minute-long Lutheran Church-sponsored morality plays about a boy and his talking dog (only Davey could hear Goliath talk and it was never made clear whether or not this was a religious-fervour induced psychosis or the dog only chose to speak to Davey (like a canine Mr. Ed). Honestly, my young self didn't really care, I just liked watching the shows. Since they were syndicated, and I lived in a major market area, they were broadcast on several local stations (sometimes at the same time). Since each channel showed different shows, I remember switching back and forth from one channel to the other. This was in the dark ages before TV remotes so it required me to actually get up and rotate the dial (yes a dial). This wasn't too much of a problem since I was usually sitting on the floor about 2 feet away from the TV. In addition to the 15 minute regular episodes, several times a year there would be a special half hour holiday episode (New Years, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas are the ones I can recall).

I found out recently that there are some things best left to the realm of memory; a couple of months ago I watched the Halloween episode. While it had a certain nostalgic appeal, it wasn't as much fun as I remembered. Still, thank you Mr. Clokey for all of the hours of enjoyment you provided my younger, less jaded self.