Top 10 things about the godfather of Art Clokey animation

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To mark the 90th birthday of film-maker Arthur ‘Art’ Clokey, Google have paid homage to the pioneer of clay animation with a special Google Doodle dedicated to his most famous character, Gumby.

Here’s 10 things you should know about Art Clokey…

Art Clokey

1. Clokey was born Arthur Charles Farrington on October 12, 1921 in Detroit, Michigan.

2. Arthur was abandoned by his mother, aged nine years old, when his parents divorced. He lived with his father Charles until his death, a year later, in a car accident.

3. Clokey went to live with his mother, but was sent to an orphanage after his step-father refused to bring up another man’s son.

4. When he was 12 years old, Art was adopted by classical composer and organist Joseph W Clokey, who taught him how to paint and draw as well as schooling him in film-making.

5. Art studied geology at Pomona College, in California, after becoming interested in fossils during his time at Webb School in Claremont. He graduated from Miami University in 1948 after serving in World War II for five years.

6. Clokey’s most famous clay character, Gumby, was created in 1955 as part of an experimental student film Gumbasia. The short animation, which showed coloured clay shapes moving and changing shape to jazz music, was in homage to Walt Disney’s Fantasia.

7. Gumby’s name is derived from the clay and mud mixture ‘gumbo’, which Clokey used to play with as a child during visits to his grandfather’s farm, and on trips to Canada and Mexico.

8. The Gumby Show first hit screens in 1957 after Samuel G Engel, the then president of the Motion Pictures Producers Association, was intrigued by Gumbasia and financed the pilot. The series ran for over 35 years, with spins offs including The Adventures of Gumby, and Gumby: The Movie.

9. Art and his first wife Ruth also created the famous Davey and Goliath series, which was continued by their son Joe Clokey in 2004.

10. Art Clokey died in his sleep on January 8 2010, at his home in Los Osos, California. The 88-year-old had been suffering from a recurring bladder infection.

 

 

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