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Papa Smurf

The Smurfs

Many remember the Smurfs from the 1980s Emmy award-winning Saturday morning cartoon classic. The Hanna-Barbara series, including several television specials, was a popular family favorite that spanned the entire decade.

But how many people are aware of the interesting history of these little blue creatures?

It starts with the Belgian cartoonist Peyo who, on October 23rd 1958, introduced the Smurfs to the world through a Franco-Belgian comics serial in Le Journal de Spirou called "Johan & Pirlouit" (translated to English as Johan and Peewit). The heroes of this serial enlisted the help of a Schtroumpf (Smurf) and the rest is history.

Peyo continued to use the Smurfs in the storyline and, as the smurfs popularity increased, he started a studio where a number of talented comic artists started to work. Peyo himself supervised and worked primarily on Johan and Peewit, leaving the smurfs to his artists.

The word 'Smurf' was first used in Dutch, as the comics were simultaneously published in French and Dutch.

In 1959, the diminutive blue characters got their own series. Many authors of the Marcinelle school collaborated on the writing. Peyo became more of a businessman and supervisor, and was less involved in the actual creation of the comics. He let his son Thierry Culliford lead the studio, while his daughter Véronique was responsible for the merchandising.

 
   

In the late 1970s, Smurf merchandise was distributed in America by a California company called Wallace Berrie and Co.. A Smurf doll found its way into the hands of NBC Television executive Fred Silverman's daughter, and he eventually developed a series based on the Smurfs for his Saturday morning television lineup.

The PVC smurf figurines were first introduced in 1965 with over 400 different figures having been produced so far. Just about every occupation, sport, musical activity and special occassion has been made into a smurf character over the years. Along with the smurf figurines, other merchandise includes playsets and buildings, and just about anything from bed linen and curtains to lunchboxes and alarm clocks!



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