I refused to wear any color except the color blue until I was four, not because I hated all other colors, but because I wanted to be a Smurf! I would run around the playground wearing dark blue jeans, a light blue t-shirt, my cool blue shoes, and my favorite puffy blue jacket pretending to outwit Gargamel and his pesky cat, Azrael. I’d spend hours watching my favorite blue and white cartoon pals as they had “amazing” adventures and went about their lives (I begged my mom to record the morning cartoons so I could watch them all day long). Though I gave up my all-blue-all-the-time wardrobe after a few years, I couldn’t get enough of watching those silly Smurfs, and to this day I still have those recorded cartoons lurking in my basement calling me to watch them!
Though Smurf mania declined shortly after my wardrobe tribute, I’m proud to say that blue is back and better than ever! From new and classic Smurf figurines to DVD releases of old episodes, these classic toys are making their comeback to entertain a new generation. But for those of us who knew them “way back when,” let’s take a look at how the Smurfs came to be with some history from Wikipedia:
The Smurfs, or Les Schtroumpfs in French, began as a cartoon strip introduced by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo on October 23, 1958. The light-hearted blue “creatures” became so popular with audiences that their exploits were turned into animated films beginning in 1965 that were released in Belgium. The Smurfs hit mainstream American culture in 1981 when they were introduced as a television series that portrayed simple tales of bold adventure as part of Saturday-morning cartoons.
While most characters look alike – blue skin, white trousers, and a white Phrygian cap – and are male, some Smurfs features additional accessories that identify a personality like overalls or a pencil behind the ear. Those who know the Smurfs are familiar with their unusual way of speaking – they use the word “Smurf” to replace the nouns and verbs in everyday speech to make their conversations barely understandable with implied meanings. A great example of this style would be “I’m smurfing to the smurf!”
Smurf figurines were introduced to the public as an extension of the cartoon in 1959 until the end of 1960. The most popular Smurf figurines still produced to this day are made by a German company, Schleich Toys. Schleich currently produces eight new Smurf figurines each year, creating a vast collection that Smurf enthusiasts and children love.
Though I no longer pretend to be a Smurf, who measures just “three apples tall,” I was giddy with excitement when I first saw the Schleich Smurf figurines in person – they were just like the cartoon characters I remembered! From Papa Smurf and Smurfette to Smurf Baby with Teddy Bear and Biker Smurf, there are figures that everyone will love.
When it comes to my love of all things Smurf, not much has changed. My favorite color is still blue, I still remember the names of all of the characters, and I spend a fair amount of time on YouTube watching old episodes reminiscing. In the spirit of favorite TV shows, here is the traditional opening credit for my favorite childhood cartoon – The Smurfs:
NOTE: For all Smurf enthusiasts out there, a brand new movie is tentatively scheduled to release in the summer of 2011! Stay tuned!