|The odds were always against him. Nobody thought a green glob of clay with a misshapen head could ever amount to anything. He liked storybooks. His best friend was an orange horse. He was an eternal optimist in an increasingly cynical world. But somehow Gumby overcame all that, becoming a TV star. Still the struggles came. Cancellation. Those dark years of obscurity. Watching his 2-D animated counterparts getting all the glory, all the good roles. But Gumby always came back, the tough times never dampening his cheery personality. And in 1995, after nearly forty years on and off television, the green guy finally got his own feature film, Gumby: The Movie.
Gumby’s movie starts like any good Gumby adventure: inside a storybook. While traveling through the pages of Down on the Farm, Gumby meets a group of hard-luck farmers in danger of foreclosure from those clay meanies, the Blockheads. Gumby and his buddies organize a benefit concert, starring Gumby’s own Clayboys. During the show, the Blockheads notice Gumby’s pet pooch, Lowbelly, crying pearl drop tears. Seeing a potential cash cow (“cash dog” just doesn’t sound right), the villains capture Lowbelly, only to discover the dog only cries at Clayboys concerts.
But the Blockheads are far too diabolical to give up that easily. In a fit of mad genius, the baddies create a set of evil clones to replace Gumby and friends. When the real Gumby catches on, he, Pokey and the rest of the gang are forced to do battle with their twinned nemeses across the pages of one storybook after another.
It was new ground for the little guy, but Gumby had his original creator, Art Clokey, in his corner as the film’s director and co-writer (with his wife, Gloria). Gumby’s leisurely pace and wide-eyed naiveté may have seemed out-of-date in the mid-1990’s, but bless his heart, that’s what always made him so endearing. Yes, the odds were still against him, but the little green guy finally got his moment in the Hollywood spotlight. And that’s something not even the Blockheads can ever take away.