Dec 4. – Gumby and Pokey in “Scrooge Loose”

Original Air Date: The 1960s

Dressed as detectives, Gumby and Pokey, almost prevent Ebenzer Scrooge from ruining Christmas


After graduating from college, Art Clokey almost immediately began producing stop motion animated commercials for products like Coke and Budweiser. In 1953, Clokey made a claymation short film called Gumbasia, which parodied Fantasia. Although this is widely regarded as the pilot for his famous character, Gumby does not actually appear in it

Now starring kid-friendly slapstick characters, Clokey’s second pilot caught the interest of NBC, and the very first Gumby short appeared during The Howdy Doodey Show in 1956. One year later, Gumby landed his own spin-off series for one season. After that, new episodes were produced as sliced-and-diced versions of the original Gumby episodes ran in various places syndication. As such, air dates are difficult to track – Gumby’s “seasons” last of years, even decades.

Known to skate on one foot rater than walking

Throughout the 70’s, Clokey and his studio would largely focus on Davey and Goliath, but thanks to reruns and a  a Saturday Night Live sketch starring Eddie Murphy as the foul-mouthed clay piece, a bit of a revival took place. New episodes of Gumby began airing alongside the old in the late 80s, and the show eventually moved on to successful stays at Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network in the late 90s.


Should’ve just went ahead and titled this article “The Xmas Special Post You’ll Never Read.” I too was incredibly reluctant to dive into Art Clokey’s stop motion relic, but I thought there was a small glimmer of potential. Maybe I’d come away pleasantly surprised with something I couldn’t wait to sing the praises off. Something akin to the joy I found last year when rewatching Garfield and A Chipmunk Christmas.

“Adventure” should imply that something happens

Honestly, I don’t know why I was surprised. I can clearly that Gumby was one of the first cartoons still airing on TV in the 80s that got my blissfully unaware kid brain to stand up and say “Hey, wait a minute… THIS SUCKS

Cover art by Your Grandmother

Oh, there’s visual appeal to the show. It’s plenty colorful, plus the characters’ ability to slip to any book they wanted, thus bringing the setting to life, certainly created more than enough situations that should’ve been interesting. But it’s crudely paced, insipidly voiced, logistically stupid, and perhaps worst of all FUCKING BORING!

I see something beautiful… a channel not showing Gumby

I’m not sure whether the creators were too committed to the overall physical production of the show, which definitely has moments of technical brilliance, but Gumby stands out to me as one of those cynical programs that think kids are stupid and will watch anything.

That hat tells you a better story was probably in the works

The episode begins with Gumby and Pokey dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Watson. You’d assume they’d be playing a promising game of detective, but there they are staring into a goddamned telescope. Because, you know, Holmes never could’ve solved all those cases without the help of the constellations.

Woken from his literary slumber

And what do the boys find using a telescope which is clearly point up at the sky? Ebenezer Scrooge, crawling out of a book A-lessly titled “Dicken’s Christmas Carol” with fancy craft store puff paint somewhere on the floor.

“The Ghost of Xmas Future never mentioned internal combustion!”

Gumby explains to Pokey that Scrooge is one of the meanest, baddest people there ever was, and all he ever wants to do “ruin Christmas.” Okay… either that Scrooge just emerged from the first couple pages, or Gumby has done the remarkable and gone his whole life without ever learning how A Christmas Carol ends.

Couldn’t be more useless

Whatever, using all his Xmas-hating Victorian era accounting skills, Gumby’s pajama-clad Scrooge immediately jumps into a bulldozer and starts wrecking shit.

Plastic crap with wheels are show no mercy

Gumby and Pokey stand by and get senselessly murdered long enough to allow Scrooge to sneak off into a book called “Stories of Santa Claus.” I wish I could provide you with an Amazon link, but I’m afraid one doesn’t exist.

A shitty plan for a shitty cartoon

The globular morons follow Scrooge into the nonexistent book to find him stealing Santa’s toy sacks so he can replace the world’s children’s Christmas gifts with nearby rock. Get ready because this is about all the action your going to see in this short.

Sherlock Gumby brings ’em in alive!

BOOM! Gumby’s got him. And on their very first encounter no less. Gumby decides it’s time to see Santa, tell him what’s up, ya know?

This creep is not the guy I leave cookies for

Sad thing is, they duck into his workshop just before Santa’s about to take off. Santa spots the misplaced sack, and proceedes to load Scrooge into his sleigh. Oh boy, things are about to get interesting…

Scrooge and Santa, out for the night…

Nope! Gumby and Pokey shurg a flipant “Whoopsey Daisy” in their dull, excruciating voices and the cartoon just ends… with Santa’s arch nemesis trapped alone with Santa at several thousand feet…

Durr-Herp (Much like the people behind this special, I don’t feel like writing any more)

Seriously?! Fuck you, Gumby.

Just so you’ll always know who’s responsible

None. But I advise you to beg any God you choose for not having to ever unwillingly watch a Gumby short.

He’s here. Absentmindedly, but he’s here. A little creepy, though. Skinny, too… OMG, IS SANTA SICK?!

Overall, this episode has very little to do with Christmas and essentially wastes two mega icons of the season just so Pokey can rattle off a few throwaway jokes containing references so old not even your grandparents would get them. I used to think Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons have lasted so long simply by being well curated, but Gumby’s boring proof that some shorts are not only better than others, but better left in the past.


Yesterday’s Christmas Special


2010’s Dec. 4 Christmas Special


2009’s Dec 4. Christmas Special

3 thoughts on “Dec 4. – Gumby and Pokey in “Scrooge Loose”

  1. Huh, my Pops loves Gumby, but I’ve never seen a single episode… And now I have no interest. I always thought Gumby did a lot of shape changing, like Jake in Adventure Time. And Jake is better the more weird stretching shit he does.

  2. I have always loathed Gumby. I had also mostly filed him under the ‘hated, but forgotten the specifics’ section of my deep trivial memory. Thanks for bringing it back 😛

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