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Art Clokey, 88, the animator whose bendable creation Gumby became a pop culture phenomenon through decades of toys, revivals and satires, died Friday in Los Osos, Calif.

Gumby grew out of a student project Clokey produced at the University of Southern California in the early 1950s called "Gumbasia." That led to his making shorts featuring Gumby and his horse friend Pokey for the "Howdy Doody Show" and several series through the years.

He said he based Gumby's swooping head on the cowlick hairdo of his father, who died when Clokey was nine.

Clokey said that though Gumby eventually became one of the most familiar toys of all time, he was at first resistant to roll out the bendable doll. "I was very idealistic, and I didn't want parents to think we were trying to exploit their children," he said in 2002.

He also created the claymation duo "Davey and Goliath."