Art Clokey, the animator who created the lovable, bendable clay creation Gumby over a half-century ago, died in his sleep Friday in Los Osos, Calif., his son told the Los Angeles Times. Clokey, who was 88, had been stricken with persistent bladder infections.

Clokey invented Gumby in the early 1950s which led to his making animated shorts featuring the figure and his horse pal Pokey for the 'Howdy Doody Show.' It was his wife Ruth's idea to give him the appearance of a gingerbread man.

Soon enough, Gumby had his own show, 'The Adventures of Gumby,' which was the first to use claymation on TV.