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Art Clokey, RIP

LOS OSOS, Calif — Art Clokey, the creator of the classic kiddie TV character Gumby, died at his home here Friday, Jan. 8. He was 88. Gumby starred in 1956’s “Robot Rumpus,” featured in episode 912- THE SCREAMING SKULL.

Here’s the L.A. Times obituary.

22 Replies to “Art Clokey, RIP”

  1. mikek says:

    Art Clokey, a man who’s work is the only reason to ever watch the MST3K episode with The Screaming Skull.


  2. pablum says:

    Ah the Gumby short in The Screaming Skull.

    Its the closest the show got to riffing a cartoon, and it so funny I wish they had done more.


  3. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    From this photo, I think Gumby’s quite happy to have inherited his father’s internal genetalia. Ouch! Knock it off, Clokey!


  4. Gary Bowden says:

    I used to watch Gumby when I was little and even had a Gumby and Pokey toy figure.I believe it was on the Sundance Channel they had a doc on Art Clokey,which showed home movies,interviews with him and his family and Gumby himself.He’s going to be missed.


  5. samual says:

    912 – Screaming Skull is one of our family favorites.
    It is not only a fun movie with a great riff, the Gumby short is a great introduction to “clymation.”

    Sorry to see another childhood hero leave.


  6. TrumpyCanDoMagicThings says:

    I used to be in the Gumby fan club as a kid; got an autograph from Art himself in the deal, which unfortunately got lost some time ago.

    He will be missed; an iconic character, Gumby was, and I wish that we’d see more of him!


  7. The Bolem says:

    @#3: I think Gumby’s pleading with him to not make a wish.

    So he passed on a year and a day after his wife and Gumby’s co-creator? Man, now I REALLY need to find my Gumby Kubricks and have them mourn with Tom and Crow.

    Any mention of Gumby dredges up memories of that night in college when I found the perfect recipe for G-rated high-octane nightmare fuel: I’d rented The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and the first 2 eps of H.R. Puff’n’stuff, and as soon as that was done, Cartoon Network just happened to show the most horrifying collection of Gumby shorts I’ve ever seen. It included a 1 minute toon where Gumby got the top of his head sheared off, which became self-aware and violently attacked Prickle while Gumby’s lobotomized body lay there dead, with ‘X’s for eyes; then a sort of random acid-trip that led up to a time-lapse film of a spotlight melting the Gumby model until the plastic whites of its eyes were just floating in green fluid. That night I dreamed a Wooly Mammoth was sumo wrestling me in order to lay its chigger-like eggs in my feet…which sprouted green shutes that undoubtably would have matured into tiny Gumbys had I not woke up.

    And even that’s not 10% as f@*#ed up as the two Gumby Comics done by Comico in the mid ’80s (not to be confused with the more recent trilogy). In the Winter Special, Gumby and Pokey go down to Hell to rescue Santa Claus…who’s actually a longshoreman named Ray Crabbe. The front cover shows them running from Satan’s army, which includes a familiar monkey with cymbals, and the back shows a tribe of scantily clad cave-women spit-roasting Pokey. No I did not make a single word of that up. I’ll post a link to it if no one else does.

    I bought the Gumby video game for GBA to work through the trauma, but I can’t get past the stupid mine car level. It would have been much better therapy to see MST3K tackle a dozen Gumby Adventures instead of just Robot Rump.

    But seriously, I love your creation, Mr. Clokey. I hope M&TB’s unique appreciation of it didn’t cause you any grief.


  8. The Bolem says:

    Here we go. Sorry I can’t find the back cover, and for the double post. This is a legitimate comic book, NOT fan-art.

    And sorry if this was the wasn’t how you wanted them to handle your brainchild, Art.


  9. norgavue says:

    I’ve seen some crazy gumby bits in my day. This was on right about an hour after we would leave for school so on snow days we would watch gumby. The one where he goes to the moon is frightening. That short helps bridge into a bad movie and I think that kind of short was needed to counter complement the despairing film bout the skull. Sad to see him go.


  10. CMWaters says:

    Has anyone here ever dared to go and actually watch the Gumby movie that I THINK was made in 1995 IIRC?

    Weird story + Gumby fighting RoboGumby with lightsabers + LONG music number at the end = Bot Fodder, had MST ever got the chance to do this one.


  11. Gorn Captain says:

    *sigh* I have those old bendable Gumby and Pokey figures right next to my monitor. I love those guys even though the riffing they got cracks me up. I wish the Brains had gotten the really disturbing one where Gumby and Pokey get stuffed into an oven and baked into pies!

    I have that comic book, Bolem. IIRC, it was done with Clokey’s blessing. He had a very warped imagination! And if the storyline wasn’t weird enough, Santa looks like Sean Connery!

    The 90’s Gumby show mixed in vintage shorts with new ones. The originals had their soundtracks completely redone with new voices and music. It was weird to hear modern music on the old ones.


  12. TrumpyCanDoMagicThings says:

    The Gumby comic books, both the latest ones and the Summer and Winter Fun Specials, were written by Bob Burden. The man is a mad comical genius, and the creator of another wonderful comic series known as “The Flaming Carrot.” If you like weird, weird comedy, look no further than The Flaming Carrot.

    Also, I have in fact seen the 1995 Gumby movie. I was never terribly fond of it; my favorite series is actually the one made in the 1980s. It had a few memorable aspects, I guess, but I felt it veered too much from the setup of the 80s series.


  13. Brandon says:

    The Gumby Movie could have been riffed on MST3K. I always thought it sucked.

    But I always liked the Gumby cartoons, and seeing it on MST3K was so cool.

    “Mrs. Gumby is stacked.”

    RIP Art.


  14. Cubby says:

    Back when “Robot Rumpus” was announced for MST, I had the good fortune to trade emails with Mr. Clokey. He was a warm, kind man. RIP Art.

    I am a big fan of the old 50s and 60s shorts. The 90s shorts, and the redubs of the old ones, much less so. I’ll top you guys on the Gumby movie. I’ve bought it – twice (VHS, DVD). When she was young, it was one of my niece’s favorite movies. And yes, it’s totally riffable. “All About Robots” is still a frequently cited book in our household.


  15. Dennis (Mpls.) says:

    I met him when he came here for a Gumby
    marathon at the Uptown theater-him and his
    wife were wearing jean jackets with the sleeves
    cut off-some one said they showed up on-
    motor cycles-I don’t know if that was true but
    they looked like they were in a senior citizen
    bike gang-he did a Q&A after the shorts-I
    remember he cracked us up a lot.
    Does any one know how he felt about MST
    riffing on Gumby ?


  16. Clint says:

    The Gumby short was one of the best – if only because it was so much fun to look at. I loved Gumby.


  17. CMike says:

    The world has lost one of its legend. RIP.

    sam @ Father of the bride speeches


  18. Hans M. says:

    He was important for many kids in the early age and it is really sad to read this one. Hope hes happy up there.


  19. mikek says:

    I’m sorry, but I must caption that picture.

    “Hmm, I gave Gumby a nice rear end.”


  20. Frankie says:

    I used to work for Joe Clokey, Art’s son. Got to have many great conversations with Art. He did the voice for prickles the dinosaur and every time he called the office, it was prickles on the phone. A truly great man.

    Back in 2001, Joe started making Gumby spots for ABC. It was fun because I got to break Gumby and Pokey out of the clay molds, cut the wire, and place the faces.

    Unfortunately, I never got to ask him about his feelings on the MST3K episode……


  21. TJ says:

    By coincidence, I was watching the MST3K version of “Eeegah” the day after Clokey died. Lo and behold, there’s an Art Clokey riff during the opening credits. One of Eeegah’s dead ancestors is referred to as Art Clokey because he has what looks to be a Gumby figure scrawled on his mummified corpse. Creepy


  22. sauron says:

    he was a weird and creepy dude.his work mirrored him,so on that count he was successful.but gumby was well,way overrated,and not very good.


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