Sunday, December 25, 2011

Toon Legends: Davey & Goliath (1960)

Following up the success of his own creation, Gumby, Art Clokey was contracted by Lutheran Television to develop a children's series for them. Davey & Goliath, launched in 1960, has been cited as being possibly an inspiration for the [adult swim] series, Morel Orel, right down to its stop-motion, claymation format, but Orel's creators say that isn't the case. Its detractors might think otherwise, but there's no denying the fact that Davey, a classic series in its own right about a boy & his dog, was one of the earliest cartoons to use moral themes, well before Bill Cosby created Fat Albert in the 70's.

Davey, however, hasn't been consistently in production through the course of its 51 years on the air. It's ceased production several times, and there hasn't been any new material since the central characters were licensed for use in a commercial for Mountain Dew a few years ago. Currently, the series airs in syndication and on Saturday afternoons on TBN.

Dick Beals (Ralph Phillips in some WB shorts and the original voice of Alka-Seltzer mascot Speedy) was Davey. Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show) was Goliath & Davey's father, and Ginny Tyler (later of Space Ghost) voiced Davey's mother & sister. Here's the open:

Later episodes depicted an older Davey developing more rebellious attitudes, but learning his lessons at the end of each story, sort of in the mold of Leave It To Beaver, with Davey as an analogue for Beaver. That creative decision might be a reason why the series is out of production. I just can't be sure of that.

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

I used to love this show.

Back then it aired on WWOR-TV (Channel 9) on Sunday mornings. It's a shame that the show is only run on a Christian cable channel instead of mainstream TV. I do think it's on DVD however.

I thought the Mountain Dew ads using them was hilarious!

Oddly enough I'd never heard nor seen the "Gumby" show until many years later, but the similarities were quite clear.

Have you ever seen this show's evil twin, "Moral Orel"? Scary stuff!

magicdog said...

I don't know how I can edit my own comments, darn it!

Sorry, what I meant to say was, "That Moral Orel was scary stuff!"

I saw one ep and was horrified. No doubt it was meant to be a spoof (or perhaps deconstruction of sorts) of D&G.

hobbyfan said...

Knowing Cartoon Network's idiots as we do, Morel Orel is a backhanded, mean-spirited parody. Not worth my time.

As I noted, Davey & Goliath is still in syndication on mainstream secular channels, but not where you or I are, sadly.

Anonymous said...

I much prefer the "Robot Chicken" parody of Davey & Goliath.

hobbyfan said...

Ya know, sooner or later I'll do Robot Chicken AND Morel Orel.