Each Care Bear comes in a different color and has a specialized insignia on its belly that represents its duty and personality. This insignia was known as their “tummy symbol.” However, the movie Care Bears: Oopsy Does It! renamed them “belly badges”. Adding to the Care Bear family are the “Care Bear Cousins”, which feature a lion, rabbit, penguin, raccoon, and other such animals created in the same style as the teddy bears.
The viewer follows the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and his three grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Important secondary characters, that often take part in the adventures, include Donald Duck, Scrooge’s pilot Launchpad McQuack and butler Duckworth, the inventor Gyro Gearloose, and the nanny Mrs. Beakley and her granddaughter Webby. The most notable antagonists in the series are the Beagle Boys, the witch Magica De Spell, and the industrialist Flintheart Glomgold. In a typical story, the villains are after McDuck’s fortune or his Number One Dime; another common theme is a race after some sort of treasure. Although some stories are original or based on Barks’ comic book series, others are pastiches on classical stories or legends, including characters based on either fictional or historical persons. The series is known for its many references to popular culture, including Shakespeare, Jack the Ripper, Greek mythology, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.
Steve, the host, presents the audience with a puzzle involving Blue, the animated dog… to help the audience unlock the puzzle, Blue leaves behind a series of clues, which are objects marked with one of her paw prints. In between the discovery of the clues, Steve plays a series of games—mini-puzzles—with the audience that are thematically related to the overall puzzle… as the show unfolds, Steve and Blue move from one animated set to another, jumping through magical doorways, leading viewers on a journey of discovery, until, at the end of the story, Steve returns to the living room. There, at the climax of the show, he sits down in a comfortable chair to think—a chair known, of course, in the literal world of Blue’s Clues, as the Thinking Chair. He puzzles over Blue’s three clues and attempts to come up with the answer.
Professor Philip Brainard, a professor at Medfield College, is developing a new energy source in an attempt to raise enough money to save the college from closure. His preoccupancy with his research distracts him from his fiancée and the president of Medfield College Doctor Sara Jean Reynolds; he has missed two weddings in the past as a result of this, much to the anger of Sara. On the day of the third attempted wedding, Philip is approached by his former partner Wilson Croft (Christopher McDonald), who has profited from ideas he has stolen from Brainard and now desires to steal Sara from Philip and make her his wife, which he declares directly to Philip. Before he can make it to the wedding, his latest experiment shows fast development, forcing him to miss another wedding. The resulting substance created from the experiment is a green slime that proves to be difficult to control and wreaks havoc on the neighborhood before Brainard finally manages to capture him. Weebo (voiced by Jodi Benson), Philip’s robot assistant, classifies the substance as “flying rubber”, leading Philip to christen him as “Flubber”.
Philip discovers that as he bounces, Flubber increases in speed rather than decreasing. After he relays this information to Weebo, she informs him that he has missed the third wedding. Philip goes to Sara’s office and attempts to explain the situation to her, but she thinks he made this up. Meanwhile, Medfield College sponsor Chester Hoenicker is unhappy that Philip flunked his son Bennett in chemistry class. That night, Chester sends his two security guards Smith and Wesson to Philip’s house in an attempt to persuade Philip into giving Bennett a better grade. However, Philip is too busy testing the Flubber to even notice them and suddenly knocks out unconscious by a Flubber-coated golf ball and bowling ball. He uses Flubber to give his car the ability of flight. During a test run, he discovers Wilson making the moves on Sara. Afterwards, Weebo attempts to confess her love of Philip, only to be shrugged off as a computer. In response, she secretly creates a holographic human version of herself in hopes of winning him over. Before Weebo can make out with Philip in this form as he sleeps, Philip awakens with another idea for Flubber. He enters an empty basketball court and tests the effects of Flubber on a basketball. Later, he gives Flubber-padded shoes to the unskilled Medfield basketball team to increase their abilities.
Back in Philip’s home, a spiteful Weebo unleashes Flubber from his case, allowing him to dance around the house and cause general mayhem. After the close but successful basketball game, Philip’s attempt to win Sara back into his favor fails. Philip dumps all of his emotional baggage onto Weebo, saying his absent-mindedness is due to his love of Sara. Weebo records Philip’s ramblings and shows the footage to Sara, who then reconciles with Philip. Philip demonstrates Flubber’s abilities to Sara and they discuss how it can be used for profit. However, Chester discovers Flubber’s existence and sends Smith and Wesson to break into Philip’s house and steal Flubber. Weebo attempts to fend off the goons, only to be struck down with a baseball bat. Philip and Sara return home and find that Flubber is gone and Weebo is destroyed. Philip discovers that Weebo created back-up data of herself onto Philip’s computer in the event of her demise.
Philip and Sara confront Chester and try to retrieve Flubber, only to find that Wilson was behind the whole scheme. After a battle, Philip and Sara defeat Wilson, Chester and his goons, get Flubber back, raise enough money to save the college and finally have a successful marriage, along with Flubber and the daughter of Weebo, called Weebette.
Gumby’s principal sidekick is Pokey, a talking red horse. His nemeses are the Blockheads, a pair of humanoid, red-colored figures with block-shaped heads, who wreak mischief and havoc. The Blockheads were inspired by the Katzenjammer Kids, who were always getting into scrapes and causing discomfort to others. Other characters are Gumby’s dog Nopey whose entire vocabulary is the word “nope”, and Prickle, a yellow dinosaur who sometimes styles himself as a detective with pipe and deerstalker hat like Sherlock Holmes. Also featured are Goo, a flying blue mermaid who spits blue goo balls and can change shape at will, and Gumby’s parents, Gumbo and Gumba. The later syndicated series in 1988 added Gumby’s sister Minga and mastodon friend Denali.
Various Gumby merchandise has been produced over the years, the most prominent item being bendable figures. Several single packs and multi-figure sets by Jesco (later Trendmasters), as well as a 50th anniversary collection, have been made of the Gumby characters. Also included in the Gumby merchandise catalog are plush dolls, keychains, mugs, a 1988 Colorforms set, a 1995 Trendmasters playset, and a Kubricks set by Medicom. A tribute album, Gumby, was released in 1989 by Buena Vista records.