Smurf History

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1st Super SmurfsThe first Smurf figures appeared in 1965. There were three produced in the first year, the Normal Smurf, the Gold Smurf and the Convict Smurf. However, the Smurfs began life seven years earlier when Peyo drew the first Smurf.

Peyo (real name Pierre Culliford, a Belgium from Brussels), was drawing a series ‘Johan and Pirlouit’ in which the Smurfs made appearance. The little blue creatures were so popular that they were given their own series. The first book to be created was ‘The Flute and the Six Smurfs’ which was later made into a film. More books were written, the Smurfs popularity grew and in 1965 the first figures appeared.
The Smurfs went to Los Angeles in 1982 where Hanna-Barbera Studios together with Peyo produced over 150 episodes of Smurf cartoons.

Returning to 1966, three more Smurf figures were made. The Spy Smurf, Angry Smurf and Drummer Smurf joined the Smurf World. The figures were quite successful but no more were made until 1969 when five more Smurfs were produced. One of the most famous Smurfs the Moon Smurf with his transparent helmet, appeared this year in relation to the first Moon landing. It is possible that this will be one of the more collectable figures. Other Smurfs for that year were Winter Smurf, Brainy Smurf, Guitar Smurf and everybodys favourite Papa Smurf.

Smurfs have been produced every year since then except for 1988 and 1991. The first female Smurf appeared in 1971, commonly known as Smurfette. However, they did not appear in the UK until 1978 when National used them to promote service stations. National also provided the main outlet for selling the Smurfs. They arrived in the US a year later. From 1978 the range of Smurfs increased markedly with Smurfs being produced.

This included seven Super Smurfs. Super Smurfs come in boxes and are more elaborate than the normal range. The first Super Smurfs included a Chimney Sweep, a Sledger, a Skier, a Smurf on a Tricycle, a Gardener, and always ready to jump on the bandwagon a Skateboarder. They also included Gargamel, the Smurfs arch enemy in the books.

Character SmurfsIt is quite interesting to see the sort of Smurfs produced in various years. In the UK the Smurfs were at their peak about 1980 and in that year a Rugby and a Cricket Smurf were made. The year after and the growth of the American market saw an American Football Smurf, a Baseball player and a Cheerleader.

Later Schleich produced ranges for Easter, Christmas and some excellent character Smurfs, such as this range of American Smurfs (Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, George Washington, Paul Revere and Christopher Columbus). From about 1987 onwards Smurfs were created in lesser numbers and sadly in 1992, Peyo passed away. However, his son Thierry Culliford is continuing to sculpt Smurfs. In the last few
years there have been about five or six new Smurfs each year, including six new ones this year.

This last couple of years have seen the Smurfs emerging again with added interest from old and new enthusiasts. They were re-introduced in the UK and the US. The Smurfs also brought out an album which did remarkably well. Clubs have been established in the US, the UK and in Europe, and the future is certainly looking blue.

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