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Gumby himself was portrayed as a young boy capable of changing his shape at will. He also could walk into books and participate in the stories therein. His friends included Pokey, a red horse; Prickle, a "prickly" yellow dragon... except for the episodes where he self-identified as a dinosaur, and Goo, a blue female character who rather resembles a small sea lion with a blond wig (Word of God said she's a "gooey blue mermaid"). Gumby's foes, the Blockheads, never spoke.
The original Gumby shorts aired on NBC in 1957. After the series' network run ended, Clokey bought back the rights to his characters and produced new Gumby episodes for Syndication in the 1960s and the 1980s. A Gumby direct-to-video movie was released circa 1995.
Gumby's 1980s resurgence in popularity was most likely attributable to a series of sketches on Saturday Night Live depicting Gumby (played by Eddie Murphy) and Pokey (played by Joe Piscopo) as actually being old-time Jewish vaudeville stars themselves playing parts. These sketches birthed the Catch Phrase "I'm Gumby, dammit!"
Bizarrely, Gumby was turned into the mascot for a pizza chain catering to college towns. They name a fair amount of stuff after characters in the series (e.g., Pokey Sticks), and the green, stretchy one himself appears on their boxes.
- The Ace: Gumby, naturally.
- Acid Reflux Nightmare: One cartoon has Father Time accidentally causing various time-related problems for the world because he ate too many sweets before bed.
- Amazing Technicolor Population
- Animated Series
- Art Evolution
- Big Eater: Pokey.
- Bullying a Dragon: Literally occurs in "The Elephant and the Dragon". Both creatures work for a storybook king (the Elephant as manual labor, the Dragon as a castle guard), but the Elephant keeps picking arguments with the Dragon. This pisses off the Dragon, who torches people's houses with his his breath. To stop their arguing, Gumby uses a back-hoe to do the Elephant's job just as efficiently and without arguing with the Dragon (and without torched houses). The Elephant takes the hint and apologizes for causing so much trouble.
- As for what they were fighting about, the Elephant keeps asserting that dragons are mythological, and therefore shouldn't exist. The Dragon torches houses to prove that he's real.
- Another instance is in "Prickle's Baby Brudder", where Prickle's little brother (who is a giant dragon from the book 'Saint George') comes to hide from the angry villiagers, who accuse him of burning down the villiage. They soon realize it's actually lightning doing the scorching, and set up a lightning rod to fix the problem.
- Catch Phrase: Pokey's "Holy Toledo!" and Prickle's "Oh, dinosaur chips!"
- Cute Monster Girl: Gumby has roughly the same slab-shaped body as his father, but his mother has a round head with blonde hair on a body that has breasts. And she wears clothes. She's not cute by the standards of most entries on this page, but she's far more human-shaped than the rest of her family.
- This is actually entirely justified. Gumba has a human mother, which explains why she's human-shaped, but she married an entirely clay man, so producing basically entirely clay offspring really isn't unusual. (This gets even freakier when Gumbetta, Gumby's aunt, arrives with her human husband and their very creepy mostly-human children.)
- Deranged Animation: Art Clokey briefly experimented with LSD in the 1960s.
- After he made the classic Gumby shorts and had sworn off drugs by the time he returned to film-making. The claymation was still weird though.
- Descended Creator: Art Clokey himself voices Pokey and Prickle, as well as Gumby's father Gumbo.
- Drunk on Milk: Gumby ends up stunned and stiff as a board if he drinks too many... milkshakes, since his clay body can't handle the cold.
- The Eeyore: Pokey, but it depends on the episode.
- Era Specific Personality
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: "A Dolly For Minga", "The Best on the Block", "Mirror-aculous Reocovery" and many more.
- Takes a turn for the disturbing in "All Broken Up" ... The Blockheads develop a method for shattering Goo to pieces. Gumby manages to get her back together and shatters the Blockheads in retaliation, only to find out he re-shattered Goo into a pile of clay pieces. Cue Pokey Gumby and Prickle laughing over the shattered remains of their friend.
Gumby Oh, no! This is a day when everything's gong wrong!"
- Eye Pop: Pokey, whenever he's surprised or gets scared.
- Five-Man Band
- Foil: The cynical, cowardly, content-at-home Pokey is a foil to Gumby, the plucky, optimistic, Determinator and vice-versa.
- Force Feeding: One episode had Gumby constantly mooching snacks from his friends, then he has a nightmare about being force-fed ice-cream, soda, and hamburgers by a humanoid Pokey.
- Four-Fingered Hands: On the human characters and some clay characters.
- Four Philosophy Ensemble:
- The Optimist: Gumby.
- The Cynic: Pokey.
- The Realist: Prickle.
- The Apathetic: Goo.
- Flynning: Any time Gumby picks up a sword, which seems to be a lot.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Prickle often said, "Oh, dinosaur chips," whenever he was frustrated or annoyed. Other interjections commonly heard: "Gee," "Oh my!" and "Golly!"
- Happily Married: Gumby's parents.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Gumby and Pokey.
- Hot Mom: "Mrs. Gumby is stacked!"
- Housewife: Gumba, Gumby's mother, to the extreme.
- Interspecies Romance: Gumby's aunt Gumbetta and her (apparently) human husband. Complete with Half-Human Hybrid cousins.
- Also Goo and... whoever the episode calls to action.
- Gumby's gradmother is human, and because Gumba and her sister are both more humanoid than the other clay-people, I think it's pretty safe to assume...
- Knight in Shining Armor: Gumby.
- Living Toys
- Logical Weakness: Gumby has problems in extreme cold and heat, being clay and all. He either freezes or melts; but if he wasn't clay he wouldn't be able to shapeshift.
- Long Runner
- Magic Realism
- Medium Blending: In a few of the 1950s-1960s episodes, particularly including "Hidden Valley", some stop motion shots cut to live action shots.
- The Movie: It was ambitiously titled Gumby 1.
- Mundane Fantastic: Despite being shapeshifting clay animals and people who live in a toystore and go into books where they have fantastic adventures, Gumby and his friends are actually pretty average kids who play in a band together.
- Nice Guy: Gumby.
- No Dialogue Episode: Several shorts from the 1950s were these.
- Out-of-Character Moment: A few episodes have these. Examples include "Point of Honor", which had Gumby and Prickle as bitter rivals dueling for Goo's favor, and "Goo for Pokey" had Goo chasing Pokey everywhere.
- Portal Book: Gumby and his friends could step inside books and meet the characters.
- Power Perversion Potential: Gumby and all other clay people have unlimited shapeshifiting abilities. This sometimes applies to Pokey, Prickle and Goo as well.
- Public Domain Character: In some of the Portal Book episodes. One episode, for instance, had Gumby and his friends encountering Don Quixote.
- Revival: The 1960s and 1980s series.
- Rubber Hose Limbs
- Shout-Out: Most of the books that Gumby and the other characters go to are Real Life books. Notice the titles!
- Shrink Ray: Professor Kapp's "Shrink-A-Dink".
- Souvenir Land: Pumpkin Land.
- The Speechless: The Blockheads.
- Sphere Eyes: Pokey.
- Stalker with a Crush: Goo is this towards Pokey in the "Goo for Pokey" episode.
- Stop Motion
- Talking Animal: Pokey, Prickle, Denali the mammoth and Tillie the hen.
- Technical Pacifist: Gumby never goes looking for a fight, but when it's necessary, he can whup anyone's ass.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Goo's long hair and bow, Gumba's skirt and hairstyle, Tara and Ginger's dress-bodies, their "hair" and eyelashes. Minga's dress-body and bow. Everyone is male unless they have some kind of extra "female" characteristic.
- Totem Pole Trench: In "Wishful Thinking", Gumby and Pokey break into Prickle's house dressed as a ghost attempting to trick Prickle into telling them what he wished for on his birthday. Unfortunately, just as Prickle was about to tell them, Pokey lost his equilibrium causing Gumby to fall off his back and on top of Prickle. The fall caused Prickle to start screaming thinking the ghost had swallowed him.
- Trapped in TV Land
- Voluntary Shapeshifting
- Widget Series
The 1995 movie provides examples of:
- Anime Hair: Lucky Claybert.
- Blinding Bangs: Nobuckle.
- Body to Jewel: Lowbelly, a skateboard-riding dachshund, cries pearls whenever his master, Gumby, leaves or changes shape when he performs with his band. This fuels the Blockheads' latest get-rich-quick scheme, which for some reason involves making robot duplicates of Gumby's band.
- Development Hell: There was a sequel in the works being planned by Joe Clokey, Art Clokey's son, entitled "Gumby 2", which would likely be followed by a brand new revival of the series, but it never caught on.
- Disney Death: This happens to Goo, when she was kidnapped and frozen by the Blockheads, and later was saved by Gumby at the end.
- At the end of the lightsaber fight between Gumby and his robot clone, the latter finishes it by slicing Gumby into pieces. Upon seeing this death, the Blockheads rejoice by dancing happily, but just then, Gumby comes back to life by transforming into miniature versions of himself, much to the Blockheads' surprise.
- Down on the Farm
- Epic Fail: The robot waiter at the café always does this.
- At the end, before the music video "Take Me Away" begins, Nobuckle accidentally jumps into a wagon after waking up, and rides on it crashing into the Clayboys.
- Also, after "Take Me Away", Lowbelly rides his skateboard over to the Clayboys, but accidentally jumps in front of Gumby and pushes him on Fatbuckle's drum.
- Idiot Ball: The movie borders on Idiot Plot . The characters could practically end the plot about halfway into the movie. Goo ties them up, they shut down the Gumby robot and the fake clayboy robots. It could end there, right? But nooo, they literally leave the blockheads tied up and allow them to escape.
- The characters were tossing an Idiot Ball back and forth before that, too.
"But shouldn't we call the police?"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lucky Claybert talks like W. C. Fields.
- Shout-Out: The lightsaber fight is an obvious homage to Star Wars.