Gumby’s “Crazy Creatures” features the craziest clay creatures you’ve ever seen, straight or sober

By on June 20, 2018

Crazy Creatures” is the title we’ve given to a compilation of original Gumby episode excerpts featuring some of the craziest clay creatures you’ve ever seen, straight or sober, including the Glob, the Zoops, the Moon Boggles and more.

You’ll find this extremely popular episode streaming in our Gumby: Original Series section on Night Flight Plus!

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We’ve been excerpting from this episode in our “Night Flight Highlights” on the IFC channel (Ep. 3, “Movie Star President & Shock Rock“, and Ep. 5, “Avant-Garde Experimenters & the Blues“).

In “The Glob” (Episode 3, 1962), Gumby is a sculptor, and when his large glob of clay comes to life, it starts to chase Gumby and Pokey through a toy shop and into a book.

Marshall Dill Pickle winds up in a shoot-out with the ice-cream loving Glob in an Old West set straight out of TV’s “Gunsmoke.”

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In “The Zoops” (Episode 1, 1959), Gumby is selling watermelons to raise money to buy his mother a birthday present when he’s given a magic potion by a wizard.

The potion transforms watermelons into colorful creatures called “Zoops,” and Gumby, seeing the chance to make a fast buck, sells them to the zoo.

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There’s trouble, though, when a zookeeper hoses down the Zoops with a water hose, reverting them back to watermelons.

Gumby has already spent half the money celebrating, though, so he’s given a job cleaning cages to work off his debt.

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Several episodes of “Gumby” also feature the Moon Boggles, too, including “Moon Madness” (Episode 97, 1967), and “The Moon Boggles” (Episode 103, 1967), in which the Moon Boggles escape from their cage at the zoo, causing everyone to panic.

Gumby and Pokey do their best to capture them, but they end up frozen. Thankfully, they only wanted a little fresh air.

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Read more about Art Clokey and Gumby below.

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Art Clokey created Gumby in the early ’50s, after he’d already graduated from film studies at the University of Southern California.

Clokey’s first animated USC student film — created using the “kinesthetic” style taught to him by one of his film theory professors, Serbian lecturer Slavko Vorkapić — was a three-minute short called Gumbasia (1953).

The film’s surreal montage of lumps of clay moved around in a parody of Walt Disney’s Fantasia.

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The film’s title (and the character name “Gumby”) were derived from “gumbo,” which is what Clokey’s father the sticky substance found on the clay roads near his grandparent’s rural farm after a heavy rain.

Clokey kept busy after graduating from USC, working on TV commercials for Budweiser and Coca Cola.

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In 1955, Clokey showed Gumbasia to movie producer Sam Engel, who encouraged him to create children’s stories.

As we told you in our previous post,” Clokey gave Gumby the same cowlicked half-pompadour hairstyle he’d seen in a photo of his father, Charles Farrington, as a teenager.

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Art Clokey and pals, posing in front of a photo of his teenaged Gumby-headed father (photo by John Nikolai)

The “Gumby” pilot was given its first test run by being shown on the popular children’s TV show, “Howdy Doody,” and after an NBC executive saw the second episode, “Gumby on the Moon,” the “Gumby” series was picked up for series.

Twenty-two 12-minute Gumby featurettes aired on NBC from March 16, 1957, to November 16, 1957.

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In 1961, Art Clokey and his wife Ruth purchased the rights for their Gumby series, which began airing in syndication and became something of a cult classic.

They also self-financed 43 episodes for a new Gumby series, “The Adventures of Gumby,” which they produced themselves in their home studio in Glendora, California.

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Gumby’s popularity was no doubt helped along by Clokey and his second wife, Gloria Clokey, traveling around to college campuses and presenting sold-out “Gumby” shows to audiences of college students in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

They were now likely stoned out of their minds, which is why “Gumby” has ever since been considered as something great to watch while getting high.

Clokey talks about his experiences with carbogen in the award-winning documentary Gumby Dharma

Clokey himself briefly experimented with LSD in the early ’60s, taking the mind-expanding drug under supervision at a psychology clinic co-founded by LSD revolutionary Timothy Leary.

Clokey also participated in trials with carbogen, a mixture of 30% carbon dioxide and 70% oxygen gas that was called Meduna’s Mixture after its inventor, Ladislas Meduna.

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He also began hanging out with Frank Zappa and transcendental philosopher Alan Watts, “the Zen Philosopher of Sausalito.”

In The Tao of Gumby documentary, Clokey says he’d gone to a convention of psychologists, at a lecture hall in San Jose State, where he heard Watts say that there were two types of people in the world, the prickly and the gooey.

“The prickly are rigid and uptight, analytical, and critical,” says Clokey in the documentary. “The gooey are easygoing, flowing in the here and now, friendly and jolly.”

Clokey says he kept this in mind when he created a spiked little yellow dinosaur named Prickle and a little blue-sky gooey mermaid named Goo.

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In 1977, Clokey finished Mandala, a film he’d been working on for three years.

The film’s goal, he said, was to communicate “the idea of evolving our consciousness from primordial forms to human form, and then beyond the human to the spiritual and eternal. The theme was the evolution of consciousness: we begin in the mud and we just go out and up.”

In the mid-1980s, Gumby occasionally aired on “Night Flight,” and so we’ve come full-circle again by making compilations of  the original episodes available on Night Flight Plus!

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.