More TV Memories – The Smurfs.

The Smurfs (NBC, 1981-1989)

The Smurfs are characters of Belgian origin who have appeared in various forms including comics since the late-50s. They began to become famous in this country when in the mid-70s they were turned into pop stars and had some hit singles, a little like what was done with The Wombles. But the thing I remember them for most is this long-running cartoon.

By the early-80s, it was decided to try and introduce these characters to an American audience, so this cartoon was launched, it was produced by Hanna-Barbera, and there’s no doubt that it was a success. The Smurfs were rather distinctive blue things, they were rather small and wore white hats. They all lived in a village, and they all had individual skills where they always tried to help each other. This was accompanied by lots of nice music too. vlcsnap-00350

The only one who wore a red hat was Papa Smurf, the oldest (and I would consider being over 500 years old to be rather old myself) and wisest of them all. There was also the female Smurfette who stood out by having rather long blonde hair. They liked to smurf all the day through and they had personality written all over them. Now there had to be a baddie of course, and it was Gargamel, just about the only human who regularly appeared in the show, along with his grumpy ginger cat Azreal. vlcsnap-00546

He would do anything to try and capture them, and bring an end to their happy world. I noticed that his voice sounded rather similar to another famous cartoon villain from about a decade earlier, who was Dick Dastardly from Wacky Races (that I reviewed recently), and that’s probably because he was voiced by the same actor, Paul Winchell. Still, being able to do an effective villainous-type voice came in useful it seems. vlcsnap-00547

The Smurfs did do well, there were over 250 episodes in nine series that featured over 400 different stories, and these included specials at Christmas, Easter, or just whenever they fancied them really. I can’t recall the show ever being on CITV though. I don’t know about any other ITV region, but I remember that it was shown on LWT usually on Sunday afternoons, and I did look forward to it because it was always something nice to look at during an otherwise sleepy weekend. vlcsnap-00511

There was also a regular comic strip in Lookin for a while. There were also computer games, books, toys, just about everything that you can think of. There have also been plenty of episodes released on DVD. After the cartoon ended, and about two decades on from their first wave of hits, in the mid-90s The Smurfs had some more hit singles, and in more recent years there were some films that were computer-generated, but the 80s cartoon will always be my favourite thing associated with these characters.

One thought on “More TV Memories – The Smurfs.

  1. Michael says:

    I like The Smurfs by Hanna-Barbera (which is also known as Smurfs’ Adventures in syndication).

    Also, according to Digital Destruction on the TV Tropes page: For the overseas restoration of The Smurfs (1981), made sometime during the 90s, the digital-ink episodes from seasons 6 and 7 look very sloppy, presumably having been restored from film prints (which were used for unrestored versions in certain countries, including Germany). Additionally, every episode of seasons 1-8 use the same intro and closing sequence for season 1 (with two Alternative Foreign Theme Songs) with a different opening logo, along with the episode titles and credits all re-done and modified. There are also several episodes which use the edited versions from the syndicated Smurfs Adventures show, instead of the original unedited versions. This restoration for the entire series was released to DVD in Australia and Germany and starting with the Smurfs Official YouTube release of the series, these same editions were used, except all the episodes were cropped into 16:9 widescreen. The aforementioned sequences of the opening logo, episode titles, and credits were re-modified again.

    Also, have a look at this:

    I think the 1979 Hanna-Barbera Swirling Star with the blacked-out A Taft Broadcasting Company byline and the high pitched 1968 Zooming H-B fanfare which is at the end of the Smurfs’ Adventures episode called The Adventures of Robin Smurf appears to be taken from PAL prints of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, although it also happens to other shows as well including post-1988 prints of Casper’s First Christmas (1979), Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats (1988), one unknown episode of Josie and the Pussycats and another instance on a 1986 U.S. syndicated rerun episode of The Smurfs. This variant was sort of common in the late 1980s and 1990s, but became rare when Warner Bros. updated the prints of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1997, and tacked on the 1994 Hanna-Barbera “Action All-Stars” logo.

    Also, check out the clip of the credits to Smurfs’ Adventures end credits which are from POP! 2011 reruns. Here’s the link:

    2011 reruns of Smurfs’ Adventures on POP! in the UK have the final seconds of the end credits theme over the short variant of the 1987 Turner Globe logo, while it along with the 1983 variant of the 1979 H-B Swirling Star logo with a blacked-out Taft byline and the entire end credits sequence have been digitally sped up to match the ending theme song without the sound of the logos, likely due to time-compressing.

    What are your thoughts and memories of The Smurfs by Hanna-Barbera anyway?


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