We all know The Adventures of Gumby as a classic kids TV show, a novel alternative to cartoons that featured the titular character of Gumby, a green figure with a pointed head, and his more level-headed sidekick, a red horse named Pokey. The one-off pilot debuted in 1955, and a second episode, “Gumby on the Moon” later premiered on Howdy Doody. An entire series was ordered for 1956 after the short episodes proved to be wildly popular with children.

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The creator of Gumby (so-named for the red “gumbo” clay near his grandparent’s home), was Art Clokey, who also voiced Pokey. The intensely green character was modeled as a sort of modern version of the gingerbread man, hence his shape. Clokey first created his claymation concept in a short film he made as a student at the University of Southern California. He titled his film, Gumbasia, a nod to the Disney masterpiece, Fantasia. In this short mid-century film, a series of abstract shapes dance and morph to a lively jazz composition by Mel Powell in a dazzling display of movement.

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The shapes, colors, and moving patterns evoke the design of the era so well, as only a true artist can do. See Clokey’s first claymation short, the film that gave rise to Gumby, in the video below.

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