Sunday, October 12, 2008 04:54:20 PM
Posted By Art Baxter
Art Clokey - October 12, 1921
I think that GUMBY is one of the greatest designed characters in the last fifty years. That particular shade of green not found in nature. That flat body design with flaring legs. Those mittened hands on tubular arms. That asymmetrical pointed head! Art Clokey's GUMBY first appeared in 1954 and has been in and out of the public consciousness ever since. I also think the GUMBY toy is one of the greatest toys ever made. You can have Gumby doing just about anything and he looks cool doing it. Partnered with his orange pony pal, Pokey, the pair are unbeatable. The success of Gumby is that he is truly an "every-man." The sight of Gumby also seems to add an air of psychedelia to any situation. Gumby has a calming yet energizing visage. No need to freak out, man!
The GUMBY toy first appeared in the mid 1960s and was hugely successful. Everybody had a GUMBY. Of course, the major problem with the GUMBY toy was the wires in his arms eventually broke and the rubber tended to rot. Unfortunately, my own GUMBY from this era is lost to the ages. The GUMBY toy vanished by the early 1970s. There was a resurgent interest in GUMBY in the mid 1980s due, in part, to nostalgia and new bendable GUMBY and POKEY toys started showing up. Since then, GUMBY toys have never completely left the scene. This past summer I picked up a new mini edition of bendable G & P to stand on my shelf with the rest of my collection.
The trademark bump on Gumby's head was inspired by a picture of Clokey's father, Arthur Farrington, taken when he was 18. You can see a cow-lick on one side of the head, the sight of which amazed the young Clokey. The post-buddhist Clokey has also stated that the bump represents an extra bump of wisdom. The head bump certainly ads to Gumby's uniqueness and seems to make Gumby "Gumby."