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Passings : Richard Towne Sutcliffe

Co-creator of children's show

June 01, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Richard "Dick" Towne Sutcliffe, 90, one of the creators of the popular children's religious TV show "Davey and Goliath," died from complications of a stroke May 11 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Sutcliffe created "Davey and Goliath," a Christian-themed children's show about a boy (Davey Hansen) and his talking dog (Goliath) that used stop-action animation.

Along with Gumby creators Art Clokey and Ruth Clokey Goodell, Sutcliffe made 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 a 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.

The program first aired in 1960. Episodes can still be seen on some cable channels, and a Christmas special aired on the Hallmark Channel in 2004.

Sutcliffe was born in 1918 in Columbia, Pa., the son of a Lutheran minister.

He attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and Catawba College in North Carolina, and pursued a career in journalism.

After working as a reporter for the Roanoke Times in Virginia, he became an editor for the United Lutheran Church of America. He moved to Texas in 1969, working in communications for Southern Methodist University and the Dallas chamber of commerce. He retired in 1982.

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