In 1958 the late cartoonist Pierre Culliford, known by his pen name “Peyo” introduced a group of little blue creatures in the comic strip Johan and Pirlouit. Now with worldwide fame and adoring fans, they are celebrating their fiftieth birthday.
In Spanish they are Pitufo, in German they’re Schlumpf, in Japanese they are Sumafa, in Hebrew they’re Dardassim, and in English they are the Smurfs. The forest dwelling characters were so popular as supporting characters that they were given their own strip in 1960. After their television debut in 1981 they quickly escalated to global stardom. Commenting on the immense popularity, Culliford’s son said, “I think that if he (Culliford) could see all that has been done with his characters since his death and the success and interest that the Smurfs still attract, he would be very, very, very, very happy and very proud.”
The Smurf’s 50th birthday is being celebrated all over the world. A European birthday tour is being kicked off in Brussels by Culliford’s widow and two children. The tour will then head to Paris and Berlin. The Smurfs are also being celebrated through a 3-D animation feature film, new comic book collections, and the release of the remastered 1980s TV series.