Smurfs Turn 50 Years Old
Those little blue guys - three apples high and living in bloated mushrooms - turn 50 this year. This may well surprise the many people who's first contact with the shirtless shrunken ones was via the 80's cartoon series.
In October of 1958, Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced Smurfs as part of a comic strip who's lead characters were regular-sized folks in the Middle Ages. Smurfs were soon spun off as their own comic strip, then began the merchandising - there was even a 1965 film!
This is how I remember encountering Smurfs years before the 80's American animated show. In the late 60's PVC Smurf figures popped up in gift shops and toy stores, and by the mid 70's they were rather popular in the US as well. The figures were in a variety of poses and occupations, in some ways predicting the "no Smurf left behind" level of employment that we saw in the cartoon later.
Given the current mode of rebooting 80's franchises, it should come as no surprise that Paramount is premiering an all CGI feature film bringing back the immensely popular characters this summer. Will smurfs follow the trend of reimagined 80's properties and come back in a "darker" vein - or perhaps just a darker blue?