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Art Clokey
Arthur Charles Farrington

(1921-10-12)12 October 1921
Died 8 January 2010(2010-01-08) (aged 88)
Occupation Animator
Years active 1955–2010
Known for Creator of Gumby
Spouse(s) Ruth Clokey (1948–1966, divorced) 2 children
Gloria Clokey (23 October 1976 – 19 August 1998, her death)

Arthur "Art" Clokey (October 12, 1921 – January 8, 2010) was an American animator. He was one of the first people to make stop motion clay animation popular. His work began in 1955 with a short movie called Gumbasia. Clokey's work was influenced by his professor at the University of Southern California, Slavko Vorkapich. He and his wife Ruth later created the clay character Gumby. Gumby and his horse Pokey became popular characters on television. They first appeared in the Howdy Doody Show, and later got their own series The Adventures of Gumby.

Early life

Clokey was born Arthur Charles Farrington in Detroit, Michigan. When he was nine years old, his parents divorced. He stayed with his father, Charles Farrington. After his father died in a car accident, he went to live with his mother in California. However, his stepfather refused to raise another man's son, and so Arthur was sent to an orphanage. When he was 11 or 12, he was adopted by Joseph W. Clokey. Clokey was a classical music composer and organist who taught music in Claremont, California. He taught Arthur painting, drawing, and filmmaking.

The name of Gumby comes from Arthur's childhood, when he would play with a clay and mud mixture called "gumbo".

Clay animation

Before he made Gumby, Clokey did a few experiments with clay animation. Most of these were short movies for adults, including his first movie Gumbasia. Clokey made this in 1953, and released it in 1955. It consisting of animated clay shapes dancing to jazz music. The title Gumbasia was named after Walt Disney's Fantasia. In 1963, he made The Clay Peacock. This was a reinvention of the animated NBC logo of the time. Clokey's third short movie was Mandala (6 minutes, 30 seconds). He made it from 1974-1977, and it was released on August 31, 1977. He described it as a metaphor for the evolving human consciousness. All three of these animations were later released to the public on several collections of Gumby television shorts.

Gumbasia caught the attention of Samuel G. Engel, president of the Motion Pictures Producers Association. He paid Clokey to make a short pilot for what became The Gumby Show (1957). In 1995, Clokey worked with Dallas McKennon to make Gumby: The Movie, a full-length movie. It was not very successful. In the mid-1990s, Nickelodeon signed a contract with Art Clokey to show every episode of Gumby. It was on top of their ratings for over three years.

Clokey's second most-famous work was the Davey and Goliath cartoon.


Clokey died on January 8, 2010, at his home in Los Osos, California. He was 88 years old. He had been suffering from a infection of the bladder.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Art Clokey para niños

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