Gumby and Pokey

I’m too young to recall their 1956 debut on the “The Howdy Doody Show,” but I have fond memories of Gumby and Pokey, Art Clokey’s loveable claymation figures.

A 50th-anniversary tribute to these icons of my childhood captured my imagination. Here, the author draws distinctions between Gumby’s personality and Pokey’s:

Gumby, though sometimes haplessly impulsive, is too good a person (or whatever he is) to ever need much correction, and Pokey is by nature cautious and conservative, although he did eat the super-powered chicken food after Gumby told him not to and grew twice as tall as a house.

“I wouldn’t if I were you,” is a typical Pokeyism. Or, “I’m not scared — I just don’t like it.” Or, “I’m all for adventure, but this is suicide.”

Pokey has horse sense, but no practical knowledge. Gumby knows a thing or two about this and that — that “morph” is a Greek word meaning “change,” that a raindrop starts as a speck of dust — and he can hatch a plot to save a princess or to get his money back from the Blockheads. But he runs on guileless enthusiasm, lacks foresight, and is easy to trick.

I go back and forth about which character’s personality best matches my own. I’ve definitely got some Pokey attributes, especially when it comes to making high-stakes decisions. But an informal poll of friends and family lands me squarely in Gumby territory. I’d have to agree with those who know me best: I’m adventurous, intrepid, and optimistic. To quote Eddie Murphy in that SNL parody, “I’m Gumby, dammit!”

What about you: Are you Pokey or Gumby?


  1. I love them both, Mel. (I know. What a cop-out.) But I was totally addicted to GUMBY AND POKEY when I was a kid. Loved the episode when they went through the baking oven with all the other desserts.

    I was also a huge DAVEY AND GOLIATH fan.

    Looks like I was an early advocate of clay animation.

    Any wonder I am obsessed with -Clay- Aiken now? {}

      • I don’t like. I love Clay. Love. Yes. I. Do.
        And stick with me, kid. You let me talk and I’ll yak on and on and teach you all about the wonders of the two musical personalities I adore. What do they have in common: the sweetest souls this side of heaven and both of them make me melt like buttah when they sing.


      • I wish we =all= could be California Girls.

        Do you have to know how to surf and roller skate to make it there? How about sushi? Do you have to like sushi? ;}

        Stuck in a rut in my little NY hut,
        PBR ;}

        • Ooooh, wouldn’t that be fun!

          I don’t surf (afraid of the water), haven’t skated since oh, 6th grade, and my stomach churns whenever I even think about eating sushi. Except California rolls, of course. Those, I like.

          NY is a great place to live. Very different, but so much to offer, all the same. For one thing, think about the close proximity to NJ and, ergo, BRUCE! 🙂

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