Not all little green men come from Mars.
Each of the letters in the company's name has been replaced by a colorful blob of clay. Click on a blob and an animated clay critter from the Gumby TV show pops up -- to wave hello, gesture at its friends, or cavort whimsically across the screen. Pokey's hiding in the orange blob at the end, for example.
Oct. 12 would have marked the 90th birthday of Clokey, who passed away in 2010 at his California home at the age of 88.
“The Google Doodle is the perfect tribute to my father's work,” Joe Clokey, Art Clokey’s son and creator said on the official GumbyWorld website -- a newly launched portal into the colorful world of Gumby. “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.”
Wondering how the little green guy got his name? Farmers in Michigan used to call the roads "gumbo" during the rainy season before they were paved, according to the GumbyWorld site. At that time all the roads were dirt, and there was a lot of clay in it, which turned into slippery mud when wet.
Art’s father used to call the mud “gumbo,” the site explains, as in, “Well, I went out for a drive to the store and got stuck in the gumbo.” The world clearly stuck.
The doodle team has created over 300 doodles for Google.com in the United States, and over 700 have been designed internationally, Google claims -- the first back in 1998 to celebrate the Burning Man festival.
A stick figure drawing was placed behind the 2nd "o" in the company name, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were “out of office.”
Since then, the doodles have become far more popular, some taking the Internet by storm: A Les Paul doodle in early June allowed surfers to play a stylized, interactive guitar -- and even record the songs created. A Pac-Man doodle from May was so popular it reportedly cost companies $120 million in wasted downtime.
The old doodles are all archived at Google.com, meaning you can still play the Pac-Man doodle online -- just don't let your boss catch you.