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‘Davey and Goliath’ creator Art Clokey dies
Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
January 12, 2010

‘Davey and Goliath’ creator Art Clokey dies

‘Davey and Goliath’ creator Art Clokey dies
Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
January 12, 2010

Art Clokey, the creator of the animated icon Gumby and his clay

Christian counterparts “Davey and Goliath,” died Jan. 8 at his home in

California. He was 88.

His son, Joe Clokey, told The New York Times that his father

died in his sleep.

Art Clokey was famous for characters like Davey and Goliath, above.

Though Art Clokey was best known for “Gumby,” his work on

the television program “Davey and Goliath” showed “the spiritual side of my dad,”

Joe Clokey told the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s news service.

A forerunner of the ELCA, the United Lutheran Church in

America, approached Clokey and his wife, Ruth, in 1959 to create a Gumby-like show

for the church, Joe Clokey told the ELCA.

“The Lutherans contacted them, and

asked them to create a show with the theme of ‘God loves everyone,’” he said.

“They put all of their hearts into it,” Joe Clokey said.

The “Davey and Goliath” episodes, which developed a loyal

following from 1960-1975, were 15 minutes long — about the length of some

sermons — and known for imparting simple moral lessons.

Often Davey invited trouble

by ignoring the advice of Goliath, his conscience-ridden talking dog, before

repenting and returning to Christian values.

According to a 2006 documentary called “Gumby Dharma,”

Clokey was a spiritual seeker who attended seminary intending to become an

Episcopal priest before working in television; later he became interested in Eastern

religions during the countercultural wave of the 1960s.

He believed his luck

turned around after an Indian guru blessed Gumby, according to the film.

The ELCA continues to own the rights to “Davey and Goliath,”

and resurrected the duo for a 2004 Christmas special that featured new characters

like Sam, who was Jewish, and Yasmeen, a Muslim.

James Martin, a Jesuit priest and associate editor of America

magazine, said the “gentle morality” of the “Davey and Goliath” shows “made an

impression.”

“Of course I learned the same things at home … but these Protestant

lessons had, somehow, a different flavor to them,” Martin wrote on America’s

blog. “It reminded me of what the minister used to give Davey: simple,

sensible, no-nonsense morality.”