Friday, February 28, 2014
Davy and Goliath VS. Gumby and Pokey.
Art Clokey in the 60s (October 12, 1921 – January 8, 2010)
In keeping with my tradition of using friday for light fare, mostly film review, I decided to have a battle between two children's shows that I thought were most creative. These are creative because they don't just draw the cartoons, they created miniature worlds in clay and they move them around physically. So they have little model worlds and everything in it has to be a tiny model; even facial expressions require a second doll for that expression.
One is a plodding Christian Children's cartoon,Davy and Goliath. The morality of each episode is heavy handed. It's a nostalgic childhood memory, each episode is filled with charm and skill, but the moral hangs heavy over the production, from the opening "A mighty Fortress is Our God" to the closing credits with production team of the Lutheran Church in America, it's a trip to Sunday School in moving clay. Against that image we have Gumby and Pokey which is one of the most creative cartoons ever made. Like Davy and Goliath, Gumby is done in clamation, but it's rawkus and anything can happen. It's the thoroughly creative brain child of an acid dropping hippie. While Davy and Goliath were directed by Author Clokey, Gumby and Pokey were created by Author Clokey. I saw an interview of him talking about his drug taking. It's not there now. I can't prove it because it's been taken down but I saw it.
That's right both are done by the same guy. Clokey's work on Davy and Goliath was commissioned by the Luthern Church in America and he was no alone in producing the script. His work with Gumby was a labor of love. Still both are loaded with charm and creativity. Was he an acid dropping hippie? One might think so watching Gumby and Poky. They go inside books and find whole worlds there. They are baked inside pies after being attacked by pastries. They melt down the drain while taking showers and come out poured into the kitchen sink by Gumby's parents.
Gumby has the head sloped to one side so he would not appear as a fallac symbol. The name of the company called frama visions based upon the Sanskrit word for "love." "Gumby is an act of love to children." In one episode Gumby acquires the midus touch but instead of turning things to gold he turns them into art works, they actually pop into little mini sculptures that really look like they could be real art works. In one episode when they go inside a book the world the come out in is a planet in outer space it's already inhabited by another kid who is reading the book.
Gumby and Pokey
Clokey put a lot of creativity into Davy and Goliath but it's more restrained. The little world is amazing because in miniature it looks just like a real world. Their little houses look modern 50's style houses inside. They have little door knobs, they have little tooth brushes. Davy is always getting into some kind of danger from his own stupidity. He's locked in a refrigeration freight car and carried to another tow. Goliath is stranded on the edge of a water fall and Davy has to swim out and save him. He's cornered by an escaped lion in his own backyard while sleeping in a pup tent. He's trapped in a cave and the caves looks realistic. Davy and Goliath taught a lot of lessons on accepting people of color and people who were different. Coming in the late 50's and early 60s that made this show very progressive for children's programing. It put them at odds with huge portions of the south.
Davy and Goliath
Unlike the insulting show Lassey that wants us to think a good dog can solve any problem, Goliath knows nothing, he never solves anything, he can't even run for help, all he does is speak to Davy (only Davy understands him) in a low confused sounding voice and says thing like "I love you DaaaaveeEEEEEEEE!" or "I want some some food now.Daaaaave-eEEEEEEEEEEE!"
As it says on the Gumby world website: "Gumby creator Art Clokey was a true visionary and stop motion pioneer whose explorations in film had a profound impact on filmmakers worldwide for generations. Take a spin around the all new Gumbyworld.com to discover more about Art Clokey, Gumby and friends." Clokey started Gumby in 1955. He's named after "gumbo" the word they used for a kind of clay the made at some relative's home in the country when he was a kid. Even though I can't prove it because the interview has been taken off Youtube there was one where hey himself said he had left his family in the 60s to join the counter culture. He now regrets that.
His Bio on Wiki says: " His son, Joe Clokey, continued the Davey and Goliath cartoon in 2004. In March 2007, KQED-TV broadcast an hour-long documentary Gumby Dharma as part of their Truly CA series."
official Davy and Golith Website
Gumby and Poky
In the Dough (where they are attacked by pastries)
Gumbasia (Cloaky's student film) (like Disney's Fantasia--this was mid 50s)