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Smurfs is a Saturday morning cartoon series, produced in the 1980s by Hanna-Barbera for NBC. It was based on a Belgian comic book that debuted in 1958. The blue-skinned characters appeared in 256 episodes, which have been broadcast in 30 countries.


In 1976, Stuart R. Ross, an American media and entertainment entrepreneur who saw the Smurfs while traveling in Belgium, entered into an agreement with Editions Dupuis and Peyo, acquiring North American and other rights to the characters, whose original name was "les Schtroumpfs". 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 president Fred Silverman's daughter, Melissa, had a Smurf doll of her own that he had bought for her at a toy shop while they were visiting Aspen, Colorado. Silverman thought that a series based on the Smurfs might make a good addition to his Saturday-morning lineup.

Run on NBC

The Smurfs secured their place in North American pop culture in 1981, when the Saturday morning cartoon The Smurfs, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions in association with SEPP International S.A., aired on NBC from 1981 to 1989. 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 1989, when, after nearly a decade of success, NBC cancelled it due to decreasing ratings.

The animated versions of Papa Smurf and Brainy Smurf were featured in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. Hefty Smurf also makes a brief cameo in the beginning of the movie with the other smurfs where his only line in the movie was (Who Smurfed the bell?). Smurfette is shown on the Poster and VHS of the movie, but was not seen in the special.


The series currently airs in reruns on Boomerang, and the NBC episodes were re-edited by Hanna-Barbera in 1987 into a half-hour syndicated version called Smurfs Adventures; 26 episodes of this series aired as part of DiC's E/I-compliant children's programming block for broadcast stations in the early 2000s. The series is still being shown regularly on many channels throughout the world. The cartoon was formerly distributed by Television Program Enterprises (later Rysher Entertainment), Tribune Entertainment (for DiC) and Worldvision Enterprises. The cartoon is now distributed direct from Warner Bros. Television Distribution; Time Warner is the current owner of all Hanna-Barbera properties (now known as Cartoon Network Studios), having inherited them in their 1996 merger with Turner Broadcasting. Some episodes are available through the online video service In2TV. Many episodes have black-outs in between scenes or jumps of soundtracks.

TV Specials

The popularity of the Smurfs was such that NBC aired several prime-time Smurfs specials over the years:

  • Here Come the Smurfs (1981) - This hourlong special aired the episodes "The Smurfette", "Supersmurf" and "The Baby Smurf" with new wraparounds featuring Papa Smurf telling the stories.
  • The Smurfs' Springtime Special (April 8, 1982) - Gargamel teams up with his godfather Lord Balthazar to capture six Smurfs for making gold by putting a spell on Mother Nature, freezing their forest. The Smurfs enlist the aid of the woodland animals to bring an end to their plans and to bring spring back into the forest.
  • The Smurfs' Christmas Special (December 12, 1982) - The Smurfs come to the rescue of two children and their grandfather when an evil mysterious stranger shows up and causes their sleigh to turn over, forcing them to seek help and inadvertently bring Gargamel in on the action.
  • My Smurfy Valentine (February 13, 1983) - Smurfette's wish for a Prince Smurfing eventually causes the two evil wizards, Gargamel and Chlorhydris, to fall madly in love with each other when Gargamel intercepts Smurfette's note to Cupid to make her wish come true.
  • The Smurfs Halloween Special (1983) - Smurfs get lost in woods on Halloween.
  • Smurfily Ever After (February 13, 1984) - Smurfette contemplates over who she would like to marry someday while the Smurfs help prepare for the wedding of Laconia and Woody, but Gargamel shows up to ruin this joyous occasion with his ghoulish calliope.
  • The Smurfic Games (May 20, 1984) - The Smurfs engage in athletic competition to settle a dispute between both ends of the village over misquoted compound words, which turns deadly when the medal Clumsy is awarded actually causes an earthquake.
  • Smurfquest (1986) - Grandpa Smurf returns to the village from a 500-year voyage around the world to restore the power of the Long Life Force Stone. Papa Smurf and a few other Smurfs help Grandpa Smurf find the purest sources of the four primal elements from around the world while the remaining Smurfs stay behind to search for the Long Life Force Stone. Smurfquest was going to get a big-screen release but ended up airing as a two-hour TV movie. It was later split into four episodes but was edited for commercials. It has never re-aired in its complete form.
  • 'Tis the Season to Be Smurfy (December 13, 1987) - Grandpa Smurf and Sassette visits a human village to witness how they celebrate the holidays, and end up helping an old couple by having their fellow Smurfs bring some Christmas cheer into the old couple's lives while tracking down a thief in the process.
  • Smurfs: Baby's First Christmas - This was an episode of the TV show, but was shown by the USA Network as a special on the USA Cartoon Express.

DVD Releases

Warner Bros. started releasing the Smurfs cartoon series on DVD in the United States in season box sets in 2008.

In Australia, volumes 1-9 are available of The Smurfs. The nine discs contain 52 episodes from The Smurfs. Since these two releases, Warner Bros. has released 3 single disc sets containing only a handful of episodes.


Use of Classical Music

The Smurfs was noted for its frequent use of European classical music as background music or themes for particular events. Notable works found in the Smurfs include:[1]

  • Johann Sebastian Bach, Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo No. 5, BWV 1056 Arioso. Largo
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 8 ("Pathétique"), first movement
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 14 ("Moonlight"), third movement. The above two tunes are frequently used in scenes where the Smurfs are in danger, or which otherwise have a great deal of dramatic tension.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral"), first and fourth movements
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 9 ("Choral"), second movement
  • Hector Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique, second movement
  • Léon Boëllmann, Suite Gothique: Toccata
  • Claude Debussy, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
  • Paul Dukas, The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • Edward Elgar, Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory)
  • César Franck, Symphony in D minor, first and second movements
  • Edvard Grieg, Peer Gynt: Morning Mood, In the Hall of the Mountain King
  • Edvard Grieg, Lyric Suite: March of the Dwarfs
  • Albert W. Ketelbey, In a Persian Market
  • Lev Knipper, Cavalry of the Steppes
  • Franz Liszt, Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Franz Liszt, Totentanz
  • Felix Mendelssohn, Spring Song
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Magic Flute
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, German Dance, K. 605, No. 3
  • Modest Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition: Gnomus, Tuileries, Gargamel's theme variation about 1.5 minutes in, and a scene segue part about 10 minutes in, are used in the cartoon[2].
  • Modest Mussorgsky, Night on the Bare Mountain
  • Sergey Prokofiev, Symphony No. 1 ("Classical"): Gavotta
  • Sergey Prokofiev, Peter and the Wolf
  • Sergey Prokofiev, Lieutenant Kijé
  • Sergei Rachmaninov, Prelude in G minor
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, The Snow Maiden: Dance of the Tumblers
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, The Golden Cockerel
  • Gioachino Rossini, William Tell Overture
  • Franz Schubert, Symphony No. 8 ("Unfinished"), first movement. Used as theme music for Gargamel.
  • Jean Sibelius, Finlandia
  • Richard Strauss, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
  • Igor Stravinsky, The Firebird
  • Igor Stravinsky, Petrushka: Russian Dance
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4: Finale (Allegro con fuoco)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 ("Pathétique"), second theme from first movement.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture
  • Richard Wagner, The Ring: Ride of the Valkyries

Production Credits

Season 1 (1981-1982)

  • Executive Producers: Joseph Barbera and William Hanna
  • Producer: Gerard Baldwin
  • Story Editors: Len Janson, Chuck Menville
  • Supervising Director: Ray Patterson
  • Directors: George Gordon, Bob Hathcock, Carl Urbano, Rudy Zamora
  • Assistant Directors: Bob Goe, Terry Harrison
  • Story Supervisors: Peyo and Ivan Delporte
  • Story Direction: Ron Campbell, Chris Jenkyns, Larry Latham, George Singer
  • Recording Director: Gordon Hunt
  • Animation Casting Director: Ginny McSwain
  • Voices: Michael Bell, Lucille Bliss, Bill Callaway, Hamilton Camp, Walker Edmiston, Dick Erdman, June Foray, Danny Goldman, Paul Kirby, Ken Mars, Don Messick, Alan Oppenheimer, John Stephenson, Fred Travalena, Janet Waldo, Lennie Weinrib, Frank Welker, Paul Winchell
  • Graphics: Iraj Paran, Tom Wogatzke
  • Title Design: Bill Perez
  • Musical Director: Hoyt Curtin
  • Musical Supervisor: Paul DeKorte
  • Creative Producer: Iwao Takamoto
  • Design Supervisor: Bob Singer
  • Character Design: Davis Doi, Barbara Dourmashkin, Alice Hamm, Lew Ott
  • Layout Supervisor: Don Morgan
  • Key Layout: Terry Morgan, Floyd Norman
  • Layout: Kurt Anderson, Tom Coppola, Bob Dranko, David Dunnet, Owen Fitzgerald, Jim Franzen, Drew Gentle, Charles Grosvenor, James Hegedus, David Hilberman, Raymond Jacobs, Carol King, Ken Landau, Larry Latham, Jack Manning, Dave O'Day, Michael O'Mara, Phil Ortiz, Scott Shaw
  • Animation Supervisor: Jay Sarbry
  • Animation: Bob Hathcock, Bill Hutten, Tony Love, Ron Myrick, Jefferey Hall, James T. Walker, Bob Alvarez, Frank Andrina, Ed Barge, Tom Barnes, Bob Bemiller, Becky Bristow, Kent Butterworth, Lefty Callahan, Joan Case, Rudy Cataldi, John Conning, Jesse Cosio, Doug Crane, Zeon Davush, Ed DeMattia, Joan Drake, Gail Finkeldei, Hugh Fraser, John Freeman, Valerie Gifford, Lenny Graves, Alan Green, Terry Harrison, Fred Hellmich, Aundre Knutson, Walter Kubiak, Rick Leon, Hicks Lokey, Ernesto Lopez, Ed Love, Mircea Manta, Lori McLaughlin, Ken Muse, Costi Mustatea, Fred Myers, Bob Nesler, Margaret Nichols, Eduardo Olivares, Karen Peterson, Spencer Peel, Barney Posner, Bill Pratt, Nelson Rhodes, Joanna Romersa, Don Ruch, Michael Sanger, Lana Sauceda, George Scribner, Kunio Shimamura, Ken Southworth, Richard Trueblood, Bob Tyler, Bonita Versh, John Walker
  • Assistant Animation Supervisor: John Boersema
  • Background Supervisor: Al Gmuer
  • Background Styling: Toby
  • Backgrounds: Lorraine Andrina, Fernando Arce, Gil DiCicco, Dennis Durrell, Flamarion Ferreira, Martin Forte, Robert Gentle, Eric Heschong, James Hegedus, Jim Hickey, Paro Hozumi, Michael Humphries, Victoria Jenson, Phil Lewis, Michelle Moen, Andy Phillipson, Phil Phillipson, Jeff Richards, Jeff Riche, Ron Roesch, Bill Proctor, Dennis Venizelos
  • Checking and Scene Planning: Jackie Banks
  • Xerography: Star Wirth
  • Ink and Paint Supervisor: Alison Victory
  • Sound Direction: Dick Olson, Joe Citarella
  • Technical Supervisor: Jerry Mills
  • Camera: Roy Wade, Ray Lee, Steve Altman, Candy Edwards, Chuck Flekal, Curt Hall, Ralph Migliori, Joe Ponticelle, Cliff Shirpser, Paul Wainess, Brandy Whittington, Jerry Whittington
  • Supervising Film Editor: Larry C. Cowan
  • Dubbing Supervisor: Pat Foley
  • Music Editor: Daniels McLean
  • Effects Editors: Cecil Broughton, Joe Reitano
  • Show Editor: Gil Iverson
  • Negative Consultant: William E. DeBoer
  • Post Production Supervisor: Joed Eaton
  • Executives in Charge of Production: Margaret Loesch and Jayne Barbera


  • Although the show's title in the image shown at the top of this page uses a different font, the NBC broadcasts have the show's title displayed in Cooper Black font (minus "The"), as do the titles in each 11-minute or 22-minute segment. Cooper Black was a widely used font in the 1970s.


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