Art Clokey, stop-action animation pioneer and creator of Gumby, Pokey, Davey and Goliath, passed away at the age of 88.
A native of Detroit, Clokey attended film school at the University of Southern California and, soon after graduating, created the universally-beloved green dude with his wife Ruth. Gumby's adventures, which first aired on the Howdy Doody show, have delighted and/or creeped out children since.
Clokey's life was not without controversy. In the 1960s, he divorced Ruth, a staid churchwoman, and lived something of a playboy lifestyle, experimenting with consciousness-altering and hanging out with the likes of Alan Watts and Frank Zappa. A showdown with the Lutheran Church, which claimed ownership of his "Davey and Goliath" characters, weakened his ties to the church.
Clokey found his spiritual path through the teachings of Swami Satya Sai Baba, an Indian teacher he had learned of from a documentary. He credited Sai Baba's blessing with the resurgence of Gumby's popularity in the 1970s.
More details on Clokey's life and work can be found at the LA Times. For those who wish to really get to know this complex genius, the award-winning 2008 documentary Gumby Dharma is essential viewing.
Goodbye, Art, and thank you for all the joy and wonder.