I was saddened to read of the passing of Art Clokey in this morning's paper. Clokey is the genius who created the first claymation star, Gumby, in a long running series of shorts in the 60's. Clokey's success with Gumby led to the Lutheran Church commissioning Clokey to create Davey & Goliath, which also achieved iconic status thanks to the characters appearing in a commercial for Mountain Dew a few years back. Davey & Goliath's shorts continue to appear presently on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after being a Sunday morning staple in syndication for several years.
Gumby, meanwhile, enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the 80's, thanks to Eddie Murphy's vulgar characterization of the icon in a series of sketches on Saturday Night Live. Clokey actually enjoyed these skits, and it ultimately led him to create a new set of Gumby episodes later in the decade for syndication. Unfortunately, Gumby isn't presently airing, and that's a shame.
Rest in peace, Art. You will be missed.