May 22, 2008
RIP, Dick Sutcliffe

Dick Sutcliffe, creator of the classic stop-motion children's show Davey and Goliath, has died at the age of 90.

Along with Gumby creators Art Clokey and Ruth Clokey Goodell, Sutcliffe created the Sunday-morning series to spread a religious message without losing younger viewers with overly complicated concepts, his daughter, J.T. Sutcliffe, told The Dallas Morning News.

Church leaders approached Sutcliffe about using television to reach young people when he was director of Lutheran radio and television ministry in New York. He chose a format that would offer sound theology while being entertaining, his daughter told the newspaper.

Confession time: I did watch "Davey and Goliath" as a kid. As that Wikipedia article notes, it was aired by three different stations in New York back then. Around the time I figured out that every episode had a religious message, I lost interest and stopped watching. Guess the formula didn't work on everyone.

Be that as it may, it was a creative and lovingly done show, with a gentle and tolerant message. You could do a lot worse to introduce a kid to Christianity. Rest in peace, Dick Sutcliffe.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 22, 2008 to TV and movies

I remember the show well. It aired in Dallas when I was a kid and was pretty much the only thing to watch on Sunday mornings for kids (damn kids these days and their cable television). It was a little preachy, but you're right, you can't really fault the lessons.

Here's a bit of trivia. Sutcliffe's daughter, J.T., taught me math in Seventh Grade at Cistercian in Irving. She was there for a couple of years in the early-mid 80s. Great math teacher. I remember talk of her dad working on Gumby. I guess was that he worked *with* the creators of Gumby and didn't realize until seeing the obit that he was responsible for Davey and Goliath.

Posted by: ttrentham on May 22, 2008 10:18 AM