|Animator Art Clokey, whose bendable creation Gumby
became a pop culture phenomenon through decades of toys, revivals and satires,
died Friday. He was 89. Clokey, who suffered from repeated bladder
infections, died in his sleep at his home in Los Osos on California’s Central
Coast, son Joseph told the Los Angeles Times. Gumby grew out of a student
project Clokey produced at the University of Southern California in the early
1950s called “Gumbasia.” That led to his making shorts featuring Gumby
and his horse friend Pokey for the “Howdy Doody Show” and several series through
|He said he based Gumby’s swooping head on the
cowlick hairdo of his father, who died in a car accident when Clokey was nine.
And Clokey’s wife suggested he give Gumby the body of a gingerbread man. Clokey
said that though Gumby eventually became one of the most familiar toys of all
time, he was at first resistant to roll out the bendable doll.
Eddie Murphy brought a surge in Gumby’s popularity in the 1980s with his send-up of the character on “Saturday Night Live” as a cigar-smoking show business primadonna.
Clokey said he enjoyed Murphy’s profane Gumby.