Though most people tend to think of the 1980s Saturday morning cartoon series or the later live action films when they hear "The Smurfs," those little blue characters were first introduced in 1958, in a Belgian comic book series created by the famed artist known as Peyo. Here are some facts about how The Smurfs came to be.
1. The Smurfs were the result of a silly dinner conversation.
Pierre Culliford, a.k.a. Peyo, was dining with a friend when he had one of those momentary lapses of vocabulary we all experience from time to time. Peyo couldn't remember the word for salt, so asked his friend to pass the schtroumpf. Mocking him, his friend responded with, "Here's the schtroumpf. When you are done schtroumpfing, schtroumpf it back." This sparked an idea, and "les Schtroumpfs" were born in comic strip form shortly thereafter. This, of course, was translated to "The Smurfs" when they hit the American market.
2. The cartoon series was created when an NBC executive spied his daughter playing with a plush Smurf doll.
After observing how much she loved the doll, he decided that the Schtroumpfs might be a good fit for his Saturday morning cartoon-fest. It was; it aired for nine seasons.
3. The Smurfs are specifically "three apples" tall.
4. The white hat the Smurfs all wear has been around for ages and are called Phrygian caps.
They're often considered symbols of liberty and were once found on the tops of Liberty Poles. You can see one on the seal of the United States Senate as well.
5. Because the Smurfs shared all of their possessions, some people thought this was a barely veiled attempt to brainwash children into Communist ways.
Of course, some people also thought the Phrygian hats meant that the Smurfs were a sect of the Ku Klux Klan, and others claimed the Smurfs were neo-Nazis promoting an Aryan race because of the lone, blonde female in the group. In fact, none of those things were true. Peyo's son has stated that the Smurfs had no political undertones at all, and the only messages his father wished to impart were those of friendship and love.
6. Karenna Gore's Secret Service code name was Smurfette, which she has apparently regretted ever since.
In 1997, she said, "Ever since I was put on the spot and told 'two syllables' and 'It has to start with an S,' I have been cringing in the back seat when identified as 'Smurfette'."
7. The answer to the age-old question "What color does a Smurf turn when it's choking?" is purple.
At least we can assume it's purple, based on the episode where a Smurf decides to hold his breath.
8. The Smurfs showed up at a bunch of Kings Entertainment amusement parks in the mid '80s.
King's Island near Cincinnati had a boat ride that took people through the Smurf village, King's Dominion had Smurf Mountain, Great America had a little roller coaster called The Blue Streak, and Carowinds had a children's play area called Smurf Island. Since then, they have all been replaced with different rides.
9. There are some Smurfs from the original comics that never made it to the cartoon.
These include Alchemist Smurf, Timid Smurf, Enamored Smurf, Finance Smurf (whoo-hoo! How fun for kids!), Mango Smurf, Lumberjack Smurf, Pastrycook Smurf, Submariner Smurf
10. The World Record for People Dressed as Smurfs was set just this year in 2009 in Swansea, Wales.
More than 2,500 people crammed into a nightclub dressed in blue and white and weren't allowed to have any natural skin showing in order to count toward the record. The previous record had been set just a year earlier, with 1,253 Smurfs gathered in Castleblayney, Ireland.
Oh, and I've had this stuck in my head ever since I got the idea for this post, so in hopes that passing it along will get it out of my brain, here you go: