The word “Schtroumpf” (Smurf) is the Flemish equivalent of the English language colloquial “Whatchamacallit”. They are all-blue characters that have been around since 1958, along with Tintin and Lucky Luke and was created by Pierre Culliford in Belgium. As many other cartoon characters Smurfs too were born on comic strips. The readers instantly fell in love with these mischievous and charming beings who love having fun, live in mushroom-shaped houses and speak a weird and wonderful language.The readers wanted to see them again in the following episodes. Payo, creator of the Smurfs –Who was the man who dropped out of art school almost as soon as he entered, and whose teacher told him he had no future in cartooning? The year is 1928 … In New York the first ‘talking’ film is being projected and Walt Disney is drawing his first sketches of Mickey Mouse. On June 25th of the same year a baby boy called Pierre Culliford was born in the outskirts of Brussels. (nobody knows if his first words were ‘Schtroumpf’ !) Due to his father’s premature death, Peyo had to start earning a living at a young age. His first job was as a movie projectionist in the small ‘Le Mirano’ cinema. The medieval and science-fiction movies had a profound effect on him and inspired him throughout his career as an artist.
Smurfs are born on Comic Strips For his next job he almost became a dentist’s assistant (thank goodness he didn’t). Luckily, he was hired by a cartoon studio instead where he met and worked with some of Europe’s most influential comic book artists, such as Franquin (Marsupilami) and Morris (Lucky Luke). It was during a cartoon called ‘Le cadeau à la fée’ (The gift to the Fairy) that little blue imps with flowers as hats made an appearance as they put together a large cake in a very ‘smurfy’ way! Unfortunately the studio closes down and Pierre Culliford decided to move into comics.
The Smurfs were first seen on Belgian television in a series of short semi-animated films and couple of years later, in 1975, the Belgian Belvision studio produced a full-length feature based on ‘The Magic Flute‘ which really triggered the Smurfs success. The movie was released in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. They Smurfs are described as tiny, blue creatures who live in mushroom houses in a village hidden in the forest. Smurfs are blue, three-apples tall, and speak a dialect which makes heavy use of the word “smurf”. The root word “smurf” is used extensively as a noun, verb, and everything in-between.
The Smurfs had their Big-Time-Success in 1981, when they debuted on the American NBC TV Channel, thanks to the famous cartoons produced by the Hanna-Barbera Studios (who also made ‘Tom & Jerry’ and ‘The Flintstones’). And the success didn’t stop there – the Smurfs were quickly aired around the world, even in countries that didn’t even know the Smurfs comics!
The Smurfs in 3D In August 2011, The Smurfs make their first 3D trip to the big screen Columbia Picture’s/Sony Picture’s hybrid live-animation family comedy. When the evil wizard Gargamel (every story needs a villain) chases them out of their village they are forced through a portal into our world. Landing in the middle of New York’s Central Park they take refuge in Patrick and Grace Winslow’s home till they are able to find their way back before Gargamel does.Go to www.smurfhappens.com and click on the image to take a virtual tour of the cast and crew behind this production. This event will introduce the beloved blue characters to a whole new generation of kids. See the trailer on the YouTube watched by over 8 million viewers! The list of smurf characters include (though not all of them are featured in the new film) Lazy, Handy , Brainy, Clumsy, Reporter, Tailor, Farmer, Dreamy, Harmony, Painter, Hefty, Vanity, Jokey, Poet Smurffete (one lady) , Grouchy, Baker, Greedy, and Papa (often thought to portrait Payo himself) The list is followed by the little ones and Grand Papa and Gand Ma. The creator, Payo had a character to potray every posiible village member and check out the Bluebuddies website for the full list to see who you relate to the most. They are no longer limited to the page and the screen. The merchandising business really explodes. The Smurfs have become techno-music stars, as well as inspiring a steadily increasing collection of popular figurines, video games, toys…and many other derived products. Checking the exciting Smurfian things you could be doing at The Smurf’sOfficial website.I think this movie has taken comic artist Payo’s 1950 2D creation and completely changed the way we will look at the much loved (and at times rather annoying) Blue-Buddies by truely portraiying in the world of 3D. Always getting into trouble but also having fun getting out of it – their spirit remains the same…. Enchanting kids and adults alike Schtroumpf!