beamjockey (beamjockey) wrote,
beamjockey
beamjockey

"You're Not a Puppet with Strings Tied to You!"

So I noticed that the twenty-first century Davey and Goliath Christmas special, Davey and Goliath’'s Snowboard Christmas, will air this weekend in my area. Out of curiosity, I asked Mister Tivo to record it for me.

D&G are a property of the Lutherans, a sect more likely to fantasize about snowboarding with a talking dog than about, say, machine-gunning Catholics in the streets after the Rapture. Good for them. Besides, I love animation, and I love puppets, and so I have always had a soft spot for Davey & Goliath.

D&C were created by Art Clokey, who also was the father of The Gumby Show, a fact which will surprise no one who has seen both series.

I was pleased a couple of years ago to see Davey and Goliath still showing on one of the Christian channels on my dial. I'm not a big fan, and I don't feel a need to see every episode, but there's a dollhouse charm in the characters, their clothing, and their props. And in the earnest way the stories contrive to teach Christian lessons.

The first time I tuned in, I was a bit startled to see a bumper after the story that showed Davey sitting under a tree with his laptop, surfing to his denomination's Web site, while his dog looked on. 1962 Goliath didn't wear a collar, but 2004 Goliath was wearing a medallion shaped just like the logo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I didn't think of these guys as Web-era characters... but then maybe they could say the same about me, since I was about Davey's age when we first encountered one another.

In one episode I saw, "The Silver Mine," Davey ignores warnings and explores an abandoned mine. Of course he becomes trapped and injured, sister Sally sends Goliath to get help, and Dad rescues Davey. There ensues the following dialogue:

Davey: Dad, why did God let this happen to me?
Dad: Don't blame God, Davey. It wasn't His fault.
Davey: God let me do it!
Dad: What God lets you do is decide for yourself what you will do. You're not a puppet with strings tied to you!
Davey: No.
Dad: So God doesn't make you do anything. He lets you decide for yourself.
Davey: So you mean I decided by myself to come into the mine.
Dad: Didn't you?
Sally: He sure did!
Davey: God let me decide to come into the silver mine. It's my fault I got smashed!
Dad: Right.

Are the writers having fun with us? On the one hand, Dad is teaching Davey about free will. On the other hand, Davey really is a puppet. Okay, not, strictly speaking, a puppet with strings tied to him. But an unseen hand causes Davey to move in the interstices between moments of time. This is no better than having strings. He only appears, once the film is developed, to have free will.

At no time do the characters break the Fourth Wall. It just seems weird to have one puppet telling another puppet that he's not a puppet.

In 2002 D&G appeared in a commercial for Mountain Dew animated by Wreckless Abandon Studios.
Sermon on the Mountain Dew
Proceeds from this helped finance the 2004 revival Christmas film. There once was an amusing on-set interview where D&G talked about working together again after all these years, but it seems no longer to be available.

So I'm a little bit curious to see what the latter-day modern version of Davey & Goliath is like. I probably won't watch the program all the way through. But I'd like to sample just a little of it, for old times' sake. We were kids together.
Tags: animation, christmas, clokey, davey, davey and goliath, goliath, gumby, lutheran, mountain dew, snowboard
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