Joe Clokey, Gumby Creator's Son: Robbery Out Of Character (VIDEO)
Millions of people have been following the story about the guy in San Diego who allegedly attempted to rob a convenience store dressed in a Gumby costume, but no one was more shocked than the man in charge of Gumby's legacy, Joe Clokey.
"The Gumby costume has been around for about a year, and sold well last year, but I remember thinking, 'I hope nothing happens with this costume,'" Clokey told HuffPost Weird News exclusively.
Clokey's dad, pioneering animator Art Clokey, created the clay character in 1955 and died in 2010 at the age 89. However, Joe Clokey says his father always intended for the character to "express a pure love of kids and imagination."
Still, it's hard for him -- or anyone -- to imagine why someone might attempt to rob a 7-11 dressed in the outfit.
"I actually think that's why the story is striking a chord," Clokey surmised. "You never think Gumby would rob a 7-11. Thank God the incident was non-violent."
When Clokey first heard about the robbery, he admits having two reactions: shock and, later, amusement.
"You have to understand where I'm coming from," Clokey explained. "Back in the 1980s, when Eddie Murphy was doing Gumby on 'SNL,' smoking a Cuban cigar and saying, 'I'm Gumby, dammit!' my dad thought that was great. He actually taped all the skits. Meanwhile, I was the kid who said, 'How can you let them say that?' I wanted to protect the purity of the character."
Clokey soon learned to love the Murphy bits as much as his dad -- especially after they led to 100 new "Gumby" cartoons being produced for TV.
"My dad thought Eddie Murphy was a genius and he figured it was ok since it was at 11 p.m. when kids were in bed," Clokey explained.
As the man in charge with keeping Gumby alive for the next generation, Clokey admits the last thing he wants is for Gumby to be implicated in a failed convenience store robbery, but he still can't help being amused.
"Gumby would never rob anybody," he said. "And the fact that the clerk didn't take the guy seriously sort of proves that."
WATCH: GUMBY GETS ABDUCTED BY ALIENS (Story continues below)
The alleged thief, Jacob Kiss, has since turned himself -- and the costume -- in to San Diego Police, who took down his statement as well as that of his accomplice, Jason Giramma, and released them without charging them with a crime, according to 10news.com.
Diramma told a local morning radio show that he and his friend didn't intend to rob the store.
"We simply just wanted some cigarettes," Giramma said. "Jacob likes to put on the Gumby costume to make everyone happy [and] cheer people up and everything. He just had it on and I guess people took it the wrong way."
Giramma claims he has no idea why the clerk thought he was being robbed, especially since his friend was chatting in a British accent.
"If we were really trying to rob the place, wouldn't you think that I would wear a mask too?" Giramma asked.
In an interesting quirk of synchronicity, the Gumby robbery has lifted the little green slab of clay's profile at a time when Clokey is getting ready to reintroduce the character once again.
"We're remastering the old library and we'd like to do new Gumbys," Clokey said. "It was always my dad's intention to reintroduce the character to each new generation."
Although Clokey and his dad were working on various Gumby projects during the first 10 years of the new century, many of those were put to the side during the last 5 years of Clokey's life after he had a stroke.
"However, October 12 will be the 90th anniversary of his birth and I can't reveal any details, but Gumby will be all over the world that day," Clokey promised.
The character could also make another huge splash in February if Eddie Murphy decides to revive his interpretation when he hosts the Academy Awards.
"I don't want to tell Eddie Murphy what to do, but nothing would make me happier," he said. "My dad used to love when he said, 'I'm Gumby, dammit!' because he felt it was this character saying, 'Hey! Pay attention to me!' My dad used to say that was proof that we're all Gumby."
WATCH: EDDIE MURPHY DOES GUMBY ON 'SNL'