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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gumby a Go-Go

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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