Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Small, Blue, Sweet, Always Happy--The Smurfs

As I glanced across the Today in History things in my iGoogle page I came across the Smurfs! I used to LOVE the Smurfs! Towards the end of this post, you will find the history of the Smurfs--and it may surprise you that they've been around as long as they have (1958) and where they started out--it wasn't with Hanna Barberra! I don't mean I watched them as a kid, although as a kid I was an avid cartoon addict. I watched cartoons all the time as an adult--having young kids just gave me an excuse to watch them without anyone teasing me about it. For that matter, I was watching the Smurfs as I started having contractions and delivered my second child!

I have always loved the older cartoons (well older to the kids of today!). What ever happened to Johnny Quest? Are he and Hadji still on adventures with his father? Or has his father retired and Johnny has his own business making big bucks? Now there is another one to check out the real story of!! Talk about the power of parents back then! Parents seemed to have a direct link to censors back then. Wish we did now. Of course, now we just tell our kids, it's just fiction, it isn't real, it's like your video games! Now if our parents thought the way they did about Johnny Quest, what would they be saying about today's TV programming...Oh Boy, we already know the answers to that don't we!!!!????!!!! http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Johnny+Quest

Will Wile E. Coyote ever catch the Road Runner? Are the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote really friends? What about the Acme Company? Does it exist anywhere other than Toon Town in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and this cartoon? What about all the neat things that could be ordered from Acme? I swear there are really some times I'd like to order up some of those neat contraptions--of course they all are "some assembly required" which would be beyond my time constraints! LOL http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Wile+E+Coyote

Will Elmer Fudd ever get that "waskilly wabbit"? Does Elmer and Petunia ever get together to live "happily ever after"? Does Yosemite Sam ever pull one over on Bugs? Does Bugs ever turn the "correct" direction when he digs his tunnels to end up in the right place when he surfaces? Didn't you just love his "hare brained" ideas? How was he ever able to constantly out wit his opponents? http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Bugs+Bunny

Will there ever be cartoons like these again? Without the cartoon genius and animatrix (is that a word) of the likes of Tex Avery, Mel Blanc, Walt Disney, and the other cartoon geniuses of Hanna Barbera, Looney Toons, Disney, etc. where will cartoons go? Of course we know the answer to that--we've seen where cartoons and animation have taken us. Thank heavens for the likes of Dreamworks and Pixar for keeping animation (and the stories that go with it) in the world of the dreamers, ideologists, imaginateers, and the likes. We have seen some great cartoons with values and morals woven into them as in the "good ol' days" (both our parents and ours). We've also seen how some of those that seemingly have no morals or values go more towards animations that show the disrespect and no values. Of course, what we see now as funny we don't think of as appropriate for young children. Therein lies the double entendre of animation!

What is it with the new cartoons? The Simpsons teach children how to be rude and disrespectful to everyone, but especially to parents and other authority figures. Sponge Bob Square Pants and his friend, Patrick--well, let's just skip those two altogether! Has Chucky ever gotten to be as brave as Tommy and will they ever be able to get even with Angelica in The Rugrats? Yes, there are still some cute cartoons, but they don't ever seem to match up to our expectations of the cartoons we watched as kids. Of course, parents of "kids" my age always said we weren't watching "real" cartoons either--they did when they watched Mickey in Steam Boat Willie!

Just like with the animated world--what is good for the adult is not always good for the child--yet what is good for the child should be good for the adult--even if it does seem corny and unfathomable that we as parents could enjoy what our children watch. Is life any different today for our kids than it was for us as kids or for our parents as kids? We still have to worry about peer pressure. We still have to worry about the promiscuous kids. We still have to worry about STDs--except now instead of just worrying about crabs or the clap, syphilis or gonorrhea, now we have to include HIV and AIDS. We still have to worry about teen drinking and smoking. We still have to worry about "who" they hang out with. Instead of parents wondering, "Are they from the "wrong side of the track'?" "Are they the 'right race or religion'?" We now have to think about "goth" kids, those that "party hardy", "preps", "jocks", and etc. The drugs that are out there now are much worse--or so we say. Is there really a way of deciding better or worse between such things as illegal drugs? Who is to say which is better or worse between LSD or Crack, heroin or cocaine, tokin' or huffing? No matter, are the good ol' days then or now? Our parents and grandparents claim it was then, we will be claiming that this time in our lives were the good ol' days!

So, what is small, blue, sweet, always happy? Of course it's the Smurfs--even when Grouchy Smurf was the all time pessimist or Papa Smurf was mad at Clumsy! They portrayed life as simple yet they still all had jobs to do in their village. They had their moments of hard times (especially when Azreale would encroach upon their village) good times, adventures, misadventures, and lots of celebrations. Even though they had very human characteristics, they were definitely NOT humans; so much so that Papa Smurf even said, "Money was created by humans for the humans, and what is good for humans is not necessarily good for us smurfs!" To find out more about the individual characters within the Smurf Village, go to: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Characters+in+the+Smurfs

Now for your history lesson of the day: How much of the following did you know about the Smurfs? I'm betting most all of your knowledge is from the Hanna Barbera cartoon version; not the true history of how the Smurfs came into being. Read on and then check out "the rest of the story" by going to: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/the+Smurfs

The Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs in French) are a fictional group of small sky blue creatures who live somewhere in the forests of Europe. The Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced Smurfs to the world, but English-speakers perhaps know them best through the animated television series from Hanna-Barbera Productions, The Smurfs.
History "Johan & Pirlouit" Peyo wrote a Franco-Belgian comics serial in Le Journal de Spirou called "Johan & Pirlouit" (translated to English as Johan and Peewit). The setting lies in the Middle Ages in Europe. Johan serves as a brave young page to the king, and Peewit (pronounced Pee-Wee) functions as his faithful, if boastful and cheating, midget sidekick. On October 23, 1958, Peyo introduced a new set of characters to the "Johan & Pirlouit" story. This alone caused no great excitement, as the brave duo constantly encountered strange new people and places. This time, they had the mission of recovering a Magic Flute, which required some sorcery by the wizard Homnibus. And in this manner, they met a schtroumpf. The figures soon proved to be a huge success, and the first independent smurf stories appeared in Spirou in 1959, together with the first merchandising. With the commercial success of The Smurf empire came the merchandising empire of Smurf miniatures, models, games, and toys. Entire collecting clubs devote themselves to collecting PVC toys.
Schtroumpf/Smurf origins"Schtroumpf" is an invented word. The way of saying "Schtroumpf" in French is quite simmilar to the German word "Strumpf" which does mean "sock" in English. According to Peyo, the word came to him as he asked André Franquin for salt during lunch and, struggling to find the word that eluded him, finally managed to say "passe-moi le schtroumpf" ("pass me the smurf").[1] It would later be translated into nearly 30 languages and, in some of those languages, "schtroumpf" became "smurf" (see The Smurfs in other languages). The word "smurf" was first used in Dutch, as the comics were simultaneously published in French (in Spirou magazine) and Dutch (in Robbedoes, the Dutch translation of the magazine). In any case, the tiny blue people proved a sudden hit, commercially speaking, and quickly moved into their own comic series which became a tremendous success. In several interviews, Peyo stated that the Smurfs was his favourite series in the early sixties, but later his own preference went to his "Johan & Pirlouit" series, and he sometimes expressed exasperation with the overbearing success of the Smurfs.

Hanna-Barbera series In 1976, Stuart R. Ross, an American media and entertainment entrepreneur who saw the Smurfs while travelling in Belgium, entered into an agreement with Editions Dupuis and Peyo, acquiring North American and other rights to the characters. Subsequently, Ross launched the Smurfs in the United States in association with a California company, Wallace Berrie and Co., whose figurines, dolls and other Smurf merchandise became a hugely popular success. NBC television executive Fred Silverman's daughter had a Smurf doll of her own, and Silverman thought that a series based on the Smurfs might make a good addition to his Saturday-morning lineup. The Smurfs secured their place in North American pop culture in 1980, when the Saturday-morning cartoon, The Smurfs, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, finally debuted on NBC from 1981 to 1990. The show became a major success for NBC, spawning spin-off television specials on an almost yearly basis. The Smurfs was nominated multiple times for Daytime Emmy awards, and won Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series in 1982–1983. The Smurfs television show enjoyed continued success until 1990, when, after a decade of success, NBC cancelled it due to decreasing ratings. The series currently airs in reruns on Boomerang, and 26 selected episodes were aired in DiC Entertainment's syndicated programming blocks. The series is still being shown regularly on many channels throughout the world. The cartoon was formerly distributed by Television Program Enterprises (the later name of Rysher Entertainment) and WorldVision Enterprises, Inc. by having some episodes with those company names. The cartoon is now distributed by Warner Bros. Television. Warner Bros. has announced its tentative plans to start releasing the complete Smurfs Cartoon series on DVD in the United States in season box sets in 2007 .


Liz said...

I have appreciated all the time you have spent encouraging and helping everyone during this online course. You have a generous heart and a willingness to take the time to share. Taking the time is the key to blessing others with your gifts.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the input on my blog. Nice getting to know a little about you. I hope you and your family are doing well.

Mr. Jay said...

la, la, la, la la, la
la, la la, la, la

If you could just get the smurfing thing to smurf I might not have to tell you how smurfing smurfy I think you are.


Jewels said...

You are a wealth of knowledge and maybe if I keep reading your blogs, some of that will rub off on me!! I loved the Smurfs too and enjoyed reading all about them! I about stroked the first time we had friends over and he introduced us to the channel on TV that has nothing but all those "oldies but goodies"! My kids got to see what I watched when I was their ages...they thought that was pretty cool.
Thanks for all your support and encouragement throughout this course! I am in awe of how dedicated you have been and commented on EVERYTHING!! Truly amazing! I will continue to check out your blog for more wisdom to be imparted.