The names "Gummi Bear" and "Gumby" do sound similar, but the origins
of the names are quite different.
When it was first introduced, in the early 1920s, the little jelly
bear was called Tanzbär ("Dancing Bear"). In the 1950s, the name
"Gummibär" ("Rubber Bear") was created. The current version of the
original product is known as Goldbär ("Gold Bear").
"Hans Riegel senior was born in a village near Bonn in 1893. He became
a poorly paid worker in a candy company, Kleutgen & Meier in Bonn-Bad
Godesberg. On December 13, 1920 he decided to try his hand at starting
his own candy company. His only co-worker was his wife Gertrud. Their
start-up capital was a bag of sugar, a marble slab, an oven, a kettle
and a rolling pin. They made hard candies which Gertrud delivered to
customers in Bonn each day in the basket of her bicycle. The name
given the new company was Haribo, an acronym for HAns RIegel of BOnn.
The Riegels noticed the popularity of a gelatin fruit candy
competitors were selling and thought that line might be worth a try,
but realized the need for some sort of a competitive edge to enter the
market. What might children like? One afternoon in 1922 the idea came
to them. They could mold the fruit flavored gelatin into the form of a
dancing bear (Tanzbär). With that simple little idea a product was
launched which would eventually become a worldwide favorite and build
a family fortune. The original dancing bear was taller and thinner
than the chubby little bear of today, but became immediately popular
among the children of Bonn. The conversion to the current shape of the
Gummibär was made in the 50s."
Pages of Professor Paul A. Schons: The Millionaire and his Candy
"Gummy bears (also gummi bears) are a gum-like confectionery that are
shaped in the form of little teddy bears. Depending on the production
methods, they can be similar to the UK jelly babies. It can be assumed
that the gummy bear originates from Germany where it is hugely popular
under the name Gummibär (rubber bear). The German company Haribo first
produced bear-shaped sweets in 1922 and introduced its Gold-Bear
product in the 1960s. The success of gummy bears has spawned many
gummy animals and objects: worms, frogs, hamburgers, etc. The
traditional gummy bear is made from natural ingredients: sugar,
glucose syrup, starch, flavours, colors, citric acid and gelatin.
There are also some types of gummi bears made with pectin instead of
gelatin, making them suitable for vegetarians. In the 1980s Disney
produced a cartoon series called Adventures of the Gummi Bears."
4Reference: Gummy bear
Here you'll find the history of gummi confections:
Candy USA: The History of Gummi Candies
Phoenix New Times: A brief history of gummis
While Gummi candies have their origins in Germany, Gumby is a native
of the USA. The beloved animated clay character was created by Art
Clokey in the 1950s. The name "Gumby" has its origins in Michigan
"Gumby's name comes from what farmers in Michigan used to call the
roads during the rainy season before they were paved. At that time all
the roads were dirt, and there was a lot of clay in it, and the rains
turned the dirt into slippery, muddy clay. Art's father used to call
the mud 'gumbo,' as in, 'Well, I went out for a drive to the store and
got stuck in the gumbo.'
Art's first film, Gumbasia, got its name when Art combined 'gumbo'
with 'fantasia.'...He took the word 'gumbo' and worked it through all
of its forms in Latin as a noun, including the male, female, and
diminutive for a child. In Latin, male forms end in 'o,' female forms
end in 'a,' and diminutives end in 'ino.' That gives us 'Gumbo,'
'Gumba,' and 'Gumbino.' 'Gumby' is the shortened form of 'Gumbino.'
'Gumbo' became the name for Gumby's father. 'Gumba' became the name
for Gumby's mother."
GumbyWorld: Gumby's Name and Personality
"Clokey decided to make a short film in 1953 starring clay balls, clay
cones and other geometric clay shapes that seemed to dance, grow,
divide and dart around... Clokey added music and called the film
Gumbasia -- a reference to Disney's Fantasia and to the clay soil in
Michigan that Clokey's father called 'gumbo' whenever it rained.
The dancing clay shapes became the clay boy Gumby once Clokey showed
his film to Sam Engel, whose son Clokey was tutoring. Engel was a
Hollywood producer and thought Clokey's clay figures would look great
on television... Gumby soon began to take shape: Clokey's wife
suggested the gingerbread man as inspiration; Clokey's favorite color
was green, so Gumby was too; the bell-bottom-shaped legs allowed the
character to stay upright; and a lump on one side of Gumby's head was
styled like the hairdo of Clokey's dad in an old photo."
National Public Radio: Gumby
"Gumby was the creation of Art Clokey, a former Episcopal seminar
student who joined the film program at the University of Southern
California for a few years before dropping out when given the
opportunity to animate vegetables for soup commercials...
Clokey made his clay character with a protrusion on one side of his
head, modeled after a photo he had of his father as a teenager with a
huge cowlick hair lump. His friend, American Zen philosopher Alan
Watt, suggested that it was the 'bump of wisdom that the Buddhists
have.' In that spirit, Clokey made the new character green with a
touch of blue to suggest a field of grass under a blue sky. To provide
yin for his character's yang, he created a down-to-earth horse
sidekick, colored an earthy orange-brown.
Clokey remembered that his father used to call the sticky, muddy clay
around their farm in Michigan 'gumbo.' Latin teacher Clokey knew that
the diminutive of 'gumbo' would be 'gumby,' so that's the name he gave
his new blue character. ('That was the first and last significant use
I made of my seven years of Latin in school,' he observed later.)
Based on Watt's observation that there are two kinds of people in the
world, the prickly and the gooey, Clokey created two more characters,
a dinosaur named Prickle and a teardrop-shaped 'what's-it' named Goo.
Finally, for Gumby and sidekick Pokey, Clokey created a miniature
hang-out called the Zen Cafe."
Absolute Gumby: About Gumby
Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "gummi" + "bear"
Google Web Search: "gumby" + "art clokey"
Thanks for a fun question! If anything is unclear, or if a link
doesn't work for you, please request clarification; I'll gladly offer
further assistance before you rate my answer.