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Gumbasia (1953) Gumbasia

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  • University of Southern California
  • Animated Characters: Clay Figures.
  • Originally Released in December of 1953 (Estimate).
  • Running Time: 3:30 minutes.
  • Color
  • U.S.A.  U.S.A.

Cartoon Production Information:

Stop-motion animation, using unfired clay in various colors. Art Clokey's first clay animation, which he termed "Claymation."

This animated motion study, accompanied by jazz music, was filmed by Clokey at the University of Southern California. It was the inspiration for the "Gumby" character and television series.

The name "Gumbasia" (and, later, Gumby) came partly from gumbo, which Clokey had learned to call the muddy dirt roads in the Michigan of his boyhood. It also was derived in part from Disney's Fantasia, which Clokey had seen.

Clokey filmed Gumbasia in his free time while producing and writing Budweiser commercials ("I was studying to be a producer and director of films with live people in them- not clay," Clokey said).

While making the 4,000-frame, dialogueless film, "suddenly I saw a kinetic force at work, what I call the Phi Phenomenon, which is an impact on the nervous system brought about by images and the way they're edited," according to Clokey.

Producer Samuel Engel invited Clokey to the 20th Century Fox studio, where he was producing a movie, and asked him to bring along "Gumbasia." After viewing it, Clokey recalls, Engel got up, paced back and forth in front of the screen, and said, "Art, that's the most exciting film I've ever seen in my life. Art, we've got to go into partnership. I want to improve the quality of television for children."

Stop-motion Animation.

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