• MH 2020 - Sophie Keeler

#Minnesota Mondays - #GumbyAndPokey

Have you ever seen these statues of Gumby and Pokey down by Levee Park in Hastings?

Did you know that Hastings, Minnesota is the birthplace of the Gumby and Pokey figurines?

This week for our Minnesota Monday, I dove deep into the internet and the news archives of the Star Tribune to find as much information as possible about Gumby and Pokey’s relationship to Hastings.

A man named Murray Laub, of St. Paul, Minnesota once owned two businesses in Hastings; Master, Inc., and Echo Plastics Inc. The Echo Plastics Inc. plant was the birthplace and mass-producer of the Gumby and Pokey toys, located right next to Smead Manufacturing Company.

According to his family in his obituary, Murray Laub was a self-proclaimed “terrible artist.” He drew a stick figure version of his vision for the toys and handed it off to his employee, Roger Moseman, who took the sketch and turned it into the injection molds that would create millions of Gumby and Pokey toys.

As chronicled in the Star Tribune from October 24th, 1993, Art and Ruth Clokey, creators of The Gumby Show, wanted to market toys. The contract to create these toys eventually was given to Echo Plastics Inc. of Hastings in the early 1960s. They made more than 7.5 million Gumbys and nearly as many Pokeys until they discontinued production in 1971.

While other companies began producing these toys after 1971, the fact that two men working in Hastings created the original toy is a source of pride for the city. The most interesting thing I found in researching this topic was related to this pride! Lindsey Anderson of Hastings created a play called “Gumby,” based on the life of Roger Moseman himself. Black Dirt Theater of Hastings performed the play along with six other pieces about Hastings.

I had so much fun learning about the connection between Hastings and Gumby & Pokey this week! It is crazy to think about how small the world can really be.

See you in a week for our next Minnesota Monday!

Stay safe,

Miss Hastings 2020

Sophie Keeler

#MissAmericaHowTo #GumbyAndPokey #ExploreMN #HistoricHastings #MHSP

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