first_imgThe Google Doodle that has gone live today is an animated celebration of Art Clokey, the man who pioneered stop motion clay animation. He died last year on January 8th, but would have been 90 years old today.Clokey is best known for the music video Gumbasia and the character Gumby, both of which used clay animation. In fact, the production of Gumbasia allowed Clokey to finance The Gumby Show pilot as it gained the attention and funding of Samuel G Engel, president of the Motion Pictures Producers Association. Engel wanted to see a show of some quality aimed at children and decided Clokey could deliver such a series after watching the music video.From that pilot an icon was born in the form of Gumby who remained popular for decades to come. Episodes were produced in the 50’s, 60’s, and the 80’s, with 229 episodes making it on to television screens. Clokey’s Gumby finale was Gumby: The Movie created in 1991, which sold 900,000 copies by the end of 1997. Nickelodeon also did re-runs of all the episodes in the 90’s and they topped the ratings charts, clearly demonstrating how enduring both the character and the animation are.Art Clokey isn’t actually his original name, but after being sent to an orphanage by his mother following the death of his father in a car accident, he was adopted by the music composer Joseph Clokey, hence the name change. While it must have surely been a tumultuous childhood, his adoption led to a schooling that encompassed art and film, which led on to his most famous and enduring creations.Below are a couple of videos showing the Gumbasia music video and a montage of clips from the Gumby shows. Historical information via Wikipedia and Gumby Worldlast_img

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