IF you remember the 1980s, you may remember the classic cartoon series, The Smurfs. What you may not realise, however, that the series started as a comic series back in the late 1950s. The Belgian artist Peyo came up with the little blue creatures that lived in mushrooms and dubbed them Smurfs as a result of a dinner with fellow cartoonist Andre Fraquin, who aided in the invention of the word. All of the Smurf characters were based on adjectives that emphasized their characteristics. Brainy Smurf, for example, was smart, while Angry Smurf appeared to be mad all the time.
In 1981, Saturday morning television in North America got its first dose of The Smurfs. The show ran on NBC for ten years through 1990. The show continued to air on the USA and Cartoon networks until 2003. It was around that time that various film studios began jockeying for the rights to the franchise with the idea of doing a feature film. Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures eventually obtained the rights in 2008 and the first Smurfs feature film was released in July of 2011.
The television series was a huge hit in North America and even spawned a few spinoffs. Merchandising began with the advent of the cartoon series in the late ‘50s. Smurf figurines were made through the 1970s before the start of the television series. When the TV show became so popular, all sorts of merchandising efforts launched including figurines that accompanied kids’ meals at McDonalds. Post Cereals even made Smurf-Berry Crunch and Smurfs Magic Berries in the ‘80s, which were popular with kids.