Gumby, the popular green star of television and toys, was born in the 1950’s.
Gumby, the green character who had his own TV show and became an iconic toy, was created by Art Clokey, a pioneer in the field of stop motion clay animation. Clokey attended film school at the University of Southern California and in 1953 he created a three minute student film called Gumbasia, which was a parody set to the music of Disney’s Fantasia that featured moving clay figures. He showed his film to movie producer Sam Engel, who encouraged Clokey to develop the figures and create stories for children. Clokey and his wife Ruth created Gumby in 1955, inspired by the character of the Gingerbread Man. He filmed a pilot and showed it to Tom Sarnoff of NBC. Gumby initially premiered on The Howdy Doody Show to great success and Sarnoff gave Clokey the green light for his own animated series.
In 1956 The Gumby Show premiered on Saturday morning. It remained successful for many years and ran 233 episodes. Gumby and his faithful sidekick Pokey also had their own feature-length film and inspired an entire line of toys and other merchandise. Clokey’s work with Gumby and stop motion animation attracted the attention of the Lutheran Church, who approached him about creating a show for children with religious messages. Clokey went on to create Davey and Goliath, which ran through the 1960’s and 70’s.