This wonderful contribution to our blog was written by Emily @ The Waiting Blog. A big thanks to Emily for believing in this blog and being more excited about it than we are! I hope you write a million more guest posts because you clearly know your kid’s shows and can do them justice with your sweet blogging skillz.
Before I had a baby earlier this year, one of the things I looked forward to most about having a child was re-experiencing all the stuff I loved as a kid. Thank God for YouTube and the bored nerds all over the country who have tirelessly uploaded countless episodes of Gumby for me to watch with Baby C at my our leisure. I was a big fan of Gumby as a kid in the ‘80s, when new episodes were made of the classic ‘60s claymation program. If you’re not familiar with the show, I am so, so sorry. But fret not! Today I have wheedled my way into guesting on Kidz Showz just so I can introduce you to my favorite clay pals.
Gumby, as far as I can tell, is a teenager because he goes to high school in some episodes. Yet he also owns and operates a farm as well as serves as frontman to his band, The Gumbys, whose music can only be described as Rush-esque in its experimentation and its un-listenability. Gumby seems to be good at pretty much everything he tries to do, and this is likely because he’s made of clay and can bounce back from any problem thrown his way. His little sister Minga is constantly getting into trouble, and for some reason everyone always calls him instead of his parents to bail her out. He only ever seems mildly irritated, so I guess that’s why he’s such a rad guy.
Pokey is Gumby’s longtime sidekick from way back. He frequently says “Holy Toledo!,” which must have been on the cutting edge of slang when the show was new in the 1950s. Pokey doesn’t seem to be as brazen as the rest of the gang because whenever they want to do something moderately risky, he bows out. For instance, in one episode where the group has to go to the city to replace Gumby’s smashed guitar, Pokey doesn’t go because he says the city is full of muggings, pollution, and loud noises. Of course, when everyone else goes, they are almost robbed in an elevator so maybe Pokey is onto something.
Prickle is a yellow dinosaur/dragon that is friends with Gumby. I only say “dinosaur SLASH dragon” because I was under the impression that he was all dinosaur until his little brother comes around one day, and he is the famous dragon that Saint George was after. Prickle has some of the most incredible lines in the entire show. Whenever he sees something hard to believe, he says, “Oh no, I must be hallucinating again!” I like to think that Prickle was part of the counterculture in the ‘60s. He also fancies himself a detective so when mysteries need to be solved, he puts on a little Sherlock Holmes hat. Everyone knows you can’t solve mysteries without a hat.
Goo is the one and only girl who runs with Gumby’s group. I guess she could have been his love interest in “Gumby: The College Years,”* but their relationship throughout the run of the show is strictly platonic. A quick Wiki search explains that Goo is a blue mermaid, but she actually just looks like a blue seal with a Gumby-ish face and a coil of yellow yarn on her head. She can inexplicably fly and shoot balls of blue goo. Yet she is never seen swimming or doing anything even remotely nautical, but she plays keyboard in The Gumbys.
*FYI, this doesn’t exist. But OMG it should.
Denali is a baby mastodon that lives at Gumby’s farm and frequently answers the phone there. You will notice that in my little list of Gumby characters, I am listing him fifth. This is because although he isn’t a primary character, he is interesting enough not to bury at the end. Denali’s back story is so bizarre and disturbing that instead of describing it, I am just going to show it to you here:
The Blockheads are the main villains in the show, if you even want to call them that. They are more minor annoyances and general nuisances than anything else. I think they’re just jealous of Gumby because they have basically the same body type as him, but they have blocks for heads and can’t talk, so they just threw in the towel and decided to wreak havoc on his life.
Minga is Gumby’s little sister. Her age is a little vague. Although she looks like she is supposed to be about ten, she often has the maturity level of a five-year-old and she is as devious as a full-grown adult. However, she has really cute hair and a little red ribbon, which made her my favorite character when I was a kid. I was really deep as a child.
Do you have a favorite Gumby character? Who did I leave out? More importantly, is there anything better than claymation? I think not.
OMG!! Emily, this is too funny! You’re a serious Gumby lover, as am I. I confess that I’ve never seen the 80’s episodes. I was glued to the set in the 60’s whenever Gumby was on, though. Pokey was a good side kick but, you’re right, he could be too cautious and sometimes a stick in the mud.
I seriously think I was transfixed by the claymation. (I was a fan of “Davy and Goliath,” too.) Is it any wonder that I spent hours on end hanging out in the art room as a youth, making things from clay?
Can we talk about Gumby’s voice? What was that all about? LOL!
Gumby’s voice is waaaay too much, especially in the 60s episodes. It’s so high pitched and he seems to elongate the final syllables of statements he’s making, as in “Thanks, Moooooooom.” YouTube “Robot Rumpus”; it is highly worth a view! I’m so glad you are a fan of the Gumster just like me!
This was so funny Emily. I loved the jab at Rush. Also, I like how you compared Goo to a seal and then in the video clip she insisted on going into the Seals Galore book! I think you’re onto something.
I don’t remember half of the stuff that you wrote about but when I watched the clip it kind of came back. I must have watched this when I was a wee lass. Why the hell did Gumby work on a farm? There’s no reason he should even work. I always liked Pokey.
Also, with Prickle, maybe he’s supposed to be some kind of play on Puff the Magic Dragon with his hallucinating and stuff. Idk. I’m trying to solve the Gumby mysteries.
I didn’t remember a lot of this stuff either until I started watching all the videos on YouTube with C. She really likes them, which is good because I’m sick of watching Gangnam Style with her. She’s obsessed with that too. I haven’t found a good explanation as to why Gumby works on a farm. I’ll let you know if I am able to crack that one.
Gumby used to scare me because my mom watched it when she was little. Claymation itself frightens me. This piece actually inspired something else I want to write so kudos to that.
I remembered so little from this show, this was a whole new learning experience. I do remember the Blockheads though because I used to think they were the “Black Kids” which tells you something about my upbringing where I’d assume the bad kids were called that.
Hahaha the Blockheads are kind of throwaway characters. I think they’re just brought out every so often to remind kids that it’s not always sunny in Gumbyland or wherever the show is supposed to take place.
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Wow, I didn’t even know Gumby was an actual show! I thought it was like Hello Kitty…just merchandise. Or is Hello Kitty a show? What would Hello Kitty do? She doesn’t even have a mouth. Then again, Gumby looks to be missing lots of stuff too. But hey–I’m the one who can’t find my junk.
I think Hello Kitty is a show now, but it definitely didn’t start out that way, at least not in the US. She is a merchandising goddess though. I once saw some Hello Kitty bandaids in Korea for like $5 for 10.
Emily, I found Gumby in your room one day. (Age of about 8 or 9.) You had been on an organizing mission. He was perched on your dresser with a stray crayon tucked under his little rubbery arm. Made me smile. Gumby was (and is) a little trooper. He now sits on a shelf in the garden room. Sadly, we never heard of Pokey’s whereabouts. Guess those Blockheads got him. Mom