In honor of April Fools Day and National Humor Month, here’s a look series that I originally ran in 2014 on the “props” of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The Gumby, the not-too-bright, but exceedingly loud Python recurring character, who utters choppy and sometimes monosyllabic phrases, is one of the best-known Python characters. The name Gumby comes from their footwear, Wellingtons, or “gumboots.”
One of their signature sketches, “Gumby Brain Specialist,” inspired the catch phrase..”MY. BRAIN. HURTS!”
The very first Gumby to appear on screen was played by the late Graham Chapman, although the most frequent Gumby portrayor was Michael Palin. Every Python has played a Gumby at least once, and when the Pythons reunited in 2014, veteran comic actor Eddie Izzard stood in for Chapman to don the white hanky hat.
It seems there was a Gumby in almost every Python episode. They helped bridge the segments together, were often part of the Man on the Street segments, and Palin’s Gumby was the voice that announced the show title in Series 3. There were even animated Gumbys…courtesy of Terry Gilliam.
These characters all pretty much referred to each other as Mr. Gumby, but there were instances when their name was listed in subtitles…often with the title “Prof.” before it. Of course!
These lovable morons have a favorite place in fans’ hearts, and Python audience members were often not shy of dressing full Gumby to attend their live shows, including their recent reunion show in 2014.
If there’s one thing about thing about The Gumby, he is easy to find clothes for. Any or all of these items can be found in a second-hand store, discount retail store or even in an old attic box.
The key isn’t what to get…it’s how to wear it. Pretty much everything in Mr. Gumby’s world looks like he’s ready to wade into the steam and hunt for tadpoles..or lost change.
Here are The Gumby basics:
• White long-sleeved button down shirt, sleeves rolled up haphazardly.
• Sweater Vest: tucked into pants.
• One pair or suspenders, any color
• One pair of polyester slacks or khakis, rolled up above the knee
• One white hanky, tied at all four corners and worn on the head
• One set of round wire glasses
• One Charlie Chaplin or “Hitler” mustache (the official term is “toothbrush” mustache, but nobody knows that. Well, now they do). This can be painted on, if you can’t find one.
• One pair of Wellingtons (rubber rain gumboots, preferably black)
Most importantly. The stance. Stoop your shoulders. Bend your knees. Toes out, heels together. Clench your fists like and angry gorilla in front of you. Congrats! You’re a Gumby!
For a little extra prop…carry two foam bricks around to bash together.
For all those fashionistas, we’ve even put together some modified Gumby Couture for men and women, using popular fashion-builder sites like Polyvore:
For those who want to show their Python pride, but don’t want to go all out, “My Brian Hurts” t-shirts can be found on several sites like Cafe Press and TV Store Online, although Zazzle has a design in Latin that’s the perfect inside joke. Planet Minecraft even has a Gumby-inspired skin design for digital cosplay.
There was once an officially-licensed plush version available, but that is long out of production. Keep an eye out on eBay or collectible shops for this rare find.So, Gumby-up! It’s so easy to do…it will make your brain hurt!