‘Davey and Goliath’ creator Art Clokey dies
    January 12 2010 by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service

    Art Clokey, the creator of the animated icon Gumby and his clay Christian counterparts “Davey and Goliath,” died Jan. 8 at his home in California. He was 88.

    His son, Joe Clokey, told The New York Times that his father died in his sleep.

    Art Clokey was famous for characters like Davey and Goliath, above.

    Though Art Clokey was best known for “Gumby,” his work on the television program “Davey and Goliath” showed “the spiritual side of my dad,”

    Joe Clokey told the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s news service. A forerunner of the ELCA, the United Lutheran Church in America, approached Clokey and his wife, Ruth, in 1959 to create a Gumby-like show for the church, Joe Clokey told the ELCA.

    “The Lutherans contacted them, and asked them to create a show with the theme of ‘God loves everyone,’” he said.

    “They put all of their hearts into it,” Joe Clokey said.

    The “Davey and Goliath” episodes, which developed a loyal following from 1960-1975, were 15 minutes long — about the length of some sermons — and known for imparting simple moral lessons.

    Often Davey invited trouble by ignoring the advice of Goliath, his conscience-ridden talking dog, before repenting and returning to Christian values.

    According to a 2006 documentary called “Gumby Dharma,” Clokey was a spiritual seeker who attended seminary intending to become an Episcopal priest before working in television; later he became interested in Eastern religions during the countercultural wave of the 1960s.

    He believed his luck turned around after an Indian guru blessed Gumby, according to the film. The ELCA continues to own the rights to “Davey and Goliath,” and resurrected the duo for a 2004 Christmas special that featured new characters like Sam, who was Jewish, and Yasmeen, a Muslim.

    James Martin, a Jesuit priest and associate editor of America magazine, said the “gentle morality” of the “Davey and Goliath” shows “made an impression.”

    “Of course I learned the same things at home ... but these Protestant lessons had, somehow, a different flavor to them,” Martin wrote on America’s blog. “It reminded me of what the minister used to give Davey: simple, sensible, no-nonsense morality.”  
    1/12/2010 11:00:00 AM by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

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