Art Clokey

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Arthur "Art" Clokey (October 12, 1921 - January 8, 2010) was a pioneer in the popularization of stop motion clay animation, beginning in 1955 with a film experiment called Gumbasia, influenced by his professor, Slavko Vorkapich, at the University of Southern California.[citation needed]

From the Gumbasia project, Art Clokey and his wife Ruth invented Gumby. Since then Gumby and his horse Pokey have been a familiar presence on television, appearing in several series beginning with the Howdy Doody Show and later The Adventures of Gumby. The characters enjoyed a renewal of interest in the 1980s when American actor and comedian Eddie Murphy parodied Gumby in a skit on Saturday Night Live. In the 1990s Gumby: The Movie was released, sparking even more interest.

Clokey's second most famous production is the duo of Davey and Goliath, funded by the Lutheran Church in America.[1]



Born in Detroit, Michigan on October 12, 1921. His birthname was Arthur C. Farrington. When Clokey was 9 years old, his parents divorced and he stayed with his father. After his father died in a car accident, he went to live with his mother in California, but was placed in a half-way house orphanage after one year because his stepfather did not want him around. At age 12, he was adopted by Joseph W. Clokey, a classical music composer and organist who taught music at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and who encouraged young Arthur's artistic inclinations. The aesthetic environment later became the home of Clokey's most famous character, Gumby, whose name derives from his childhood experiences during summer visits to his grandfather's farm, when he enjoyed playing with the clay and mud mixture called "gumbo".[citation needed]

At Webb School in Claremont, young Clokey came under the influence of teacher Ray Alf, who took students on expeditions digging for fossils and learning about the world around them. Clokey later studied geology at Pomona College, before leaving Pomona in 1943 to enter World War II. He graduated from his adoptive father's alma mater, Miami University, in 1948.[citation needed]

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