TV Animation pioneer Art Clokey is dead at 89. A claymation filmmaker, he was best known for creating "Gumby" and "Davey & Goliath."
He was going to be a priest, but fell in love instead. He and his wife developed a passion for filmmaking, and he earned attention for an abstract claymation short called "Gumbasia."
"Gumbasia" led to a contract to do "Gumby" on TV, first in shorts for "Howdy Doody" and then as it's own series (two of them, in fact) that were staples of kids TV for decades. In between them, he did "Davey & Goliath" under contract to the Lutheran Church of America.
He re-emerged in the 1990s to independently-produce "Gumby: The Movie," which is a very special kind of amazing if you can find it these days.
For a fellow with seemingly few "official" credits to his name, his impact on culture was massive: Everyone knows Gumby, or at least nearly everyone. "Mystery Science Theater 3000" even riffed on a Gumby short once - a kind of pop-culture double-team - and "Davey" of course inspired "Moral Orel," which started out shaky but came to a close as one of the most psychologically-searing animated shows ever to run in the U.S. (If there's a darker turn for a "comedy" show than "Nature," I've never seen it.)