Probably everyone knows who Gumby is -- if nothing else, toys of the
malleable green tyke have become a mainstay for decorating cubicles. But
I'd hazard a guess that far more people have seen Eddie Murphy's
"Saturday Night Live" sketches that play Gumby as a cantankerous Borscht
Belt-era entertainer ("I am Gumby dammit!"), than have seen any of Art
Clokey's original animated shorts that brought the clay figure to life.
The Center for Puppetry Arts will raise Gumby awareness with a new museum exhibit called "Art Clokey's Gumby: The First 50
Years," which runs Aug. 4-March 4. The exhibit opens with a screening of
rare Gumby films and a Q&A with the Clokey family at 8 p.m Aug. 4.
I must confess that I have a different association with Gumby than the
Eddie Murphy sketch. On one of its final episodes, "Mystery Science
Theatre 3000" ran a running commentary of a Gumby cartoon called "Robot
Rumpus" -- you can see the MST3K version of the short on YouTube here.
In it, Gumby activates some robots to do his chores, but they go haywire
around the house, getting Gumby into hot water with his parents. At one
point Gumby's father Gumbo tries to stop a robot, goes sailing through
the air and crash-lands a-straddle the crook of a neighbor's rooftop.
(Ouch!) One of the MST3K guys says, in imitation of Gumbo's bubbly
voice, "Thank goodness for the internal genitalia!" For better or worse,
that always comes to mind whenever Gumby's a topic of conversation.
Link to Curt's blog here.
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