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?