Google's latest doodle illustration featured a brightly colored interactive tribute to artist Arthur "Art" Clokey, who would have turned 90 on October 12. In place of the company's logo, red, yellow, blue and green balls of clay bounced around and sprang to life at the click of a mouse, in an homage to Gumby, Clokey's best known animated character.
Clokey's celebrated stop-motion clay animation has brought joy to millions since 1956, when the character Gumby first appeared on the "Howdy Doody" show, according to the New York Times obituary for Clokey, written shortly after his death on January 8, 2010.
Gumby and his sidekick Pokey the horse went on to star in three of their own TV series, which ran in the '50s, '60s and '80s, and even reached the big screen in 1995, the Times reports.
Clokey also created the claymation Christian-themed television series "Davey and Goliath" in the 1960s.
According to the Washington Post, Google's tribute to Clokey (and Gumby) coincides with the launch of the Gumby World website, where visitors can find the history of the character Gumby, in-depth biographical information about the artist, fan clubs, games and much more.
“The Google Doodle is the perfect tribute to my fathers work,” Art Clokey’s son Joe Clokey said in a press release on Gumby World. “Art’s life and film career were ahead of their time. My dad would have been thrilled to be connected with Google in this way.”
According to the new site's press release, the Google doodle was created by Anthony Scott, who worked on the Gumby series and went on to direct and oversee films like "Coraline," "Corpse Bride" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas."
Several of Google's recent homepage logos have been complex, interactive works or art, too.
On September 24, Google honored Jim Henson with a muppets doodle that sprang to life when the user clicked on the various characters.
In remembrance of Freddie Mercury, flamboyant performer and lead singer of Queen, Google rolled out an epic video tribute over the course of three days, from September 4 through September 6.
Following these, Google's playfully Gumby logo doesn't disappoint. The Washington Post explains how users could transfrom the doodle when it appeared on the Google home page on October 12:
Click on each ball or block and a figure springs to life — including the galloping Pokey, Prickle the yellow dinosaur, the Blockheads and Goo, the flying blue goo-ball mermaid. Or click on Gumby himself and he bounces into a ball, a block and then a heart. Because, as the theme song says: “If you’ve got a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you.”
Take a look at the slideshow (below) to get a taste of Google's latest creation, hear from the artist himself and see more of his beloved animations. Visit Google.com on October 12 to view the Gumby-inspired doodle marking the late Art Clokey's birthday.