Late last Friday, Rocks Off learned that Gumby
and Davey and Goliath
creator Art Clokey had passed away in his sleep at age 88. The pioneering stop-motion animator and his clay work were fixtures in children's television from 1957 on. All of Clokey's characters were moral, fun-loving and devoid of the commercialism that we see in today's kids programming. Gumby and Pokey never tried to sell you anything, while Davey and his trusted canine Goliath just wanted you to live your life right.
Clokey's touch can be felt on modern day stop-motion works like the Wallace & Gromit
film series, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
and The Nightmare Before Christmas
, Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox
, and even nightly on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken
and the Davey
-biting Moral Orel
. Any child of the '80s can probably dig up a California Raisins doll at their parent's house given the chance.
A documentary on the life of Clokey is still making the repertory rounds. Gumby Dharma
traces Clokey's evolution from his time as a deserted child in the Depression all the way up to the present day. He was very much devoted to the simplicity and wonder of childhood, but did partake in the party scene of the '60s, as seen in this video
Davey and Goliath
was in part funded by the Lutheran Church in the early '60s, yet didn't ram any sort of religious doctrine down anyone's throats. It also depicted racial unity during the civil rights movement, a time when the country was a smoldering haystack of racial aggression. It's still an endearing show to gander at on a hung over Saturday afternoon, and you always walk away with a lesson or moral.
Rocks Off gathered some of the best stop-motion music videos made through the history of the genre to honor Clokey's groundbreaking work. Mind you most of these sequences probably took months to create, making stop-motion animation very much a devoted undertaking for the artists at hand.