9 Truly Bizarre Things You Should Know About 'The Smurfs'

Smurfs: The Lost Village opens today and while it's the third Smurfs film from Sony Pictures, it's essentially a reboot completely unrelated to their previous films. Unlike other franchises Sony has decided to reboot before their time, it actually makes sense for this series, as the Smurfs have been around forever and have done pretty much everything.

The brainchild of acclaimed Belgian artist Peyo, The Smurfs launched as a comic book way back in 1958 before expanding into nearly every form of media, including TV series, toys, and food. With that many years of Smurfs, there were plenty of opportunities for some really strange things to happen, and they didn't Smurfing disappoint. Here are some of the strangest moments from their history.

Purple Smurfs


Believe it or not, there's an episode of the Smurfs that's essentially one of the first onscreen zombie tales. The Purple Smurfs shows Lazy Smurf living up to his name and trying to slowly chop down some trees in the forest. He finds himself attacked by a purple fly that he tries to chase away with an axe and only gets bitten by for his troubles. He immediately turns an alarming shade of purple and begins to shout out "GNAP! GNAP!" (presumably smurf for "Brains!") through gritted teeth. Lazy then begins hopping away like a jiangshi and starts biting his fellow smurfs, turning them purple as well. Papa Smurf and the survivors are forced to seek shelter in a house as they desperately try to find a cure. They decide to capture one of the purple Smurfs and do some testing on him for a cure (their very own Bub!) but he gets free and starts biting everyone, and the epidemic gets even worse.

It all ends with a blazing inferno in Papa Smurfs' home that cooks the ineffective cure and finally saves the village. As insane as this sounds for a kid's property, it could have been much worse. In the original comic it's based on, they are zombified Black Smurfs. Thankfully someone at Hanna-Barbera clearly saw the issue with a tv show depicing the Smurfs turning into mindless, dark-skinned monsters. "Gnap," indeed.

Wartime Smurfs

Despite what you might believe, this is a 100% real UNICEF ad that aired on Belgian TV. It was created via a collaboration with the family of Peyo, who gave the project their full approval.

The opening of the commercial should be familiar, as it's how every single Smurfs episode starts... but then the bombs start falling. With no warning, the Smurfs village is reduced to blazing rubble, the only apparent survivor a crying baby in the middle of this hell.

It's certainly striking, to say the least. It was crafted as part of UNICEF Belgium's campaign to raise about $150,000 for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi. The cartoon was shown on national television, but was obviously not intended for children, so it only aired for adult audiences later at night. "The cartoon is in no way intended to be a teaching tool for children." they suggested but it likely stuck with any who saw it.

Smurf Gas

Smurfin’ Dots

An urban legend that Smurf figurines used lead paint circulated in Britain in the 1970s, and it might have had some basis in reality.

It all started because of a campaign by gasoline company National Benzole to give away free Smurfs figurines with purchases. While the toys were first produced in Europe, demand for the figurines quickly overwhelmed their factories, leading them to outsource production to Hong Kong. The U.K. Department of Health stated that they had conducted tests on the paint that showed there was no risk, but this scare still led to colored dots being added under the feet of each figurine for future production runs. This enables anyone to quickly figure out which country's factories produced them and, presumably, stay clear of any suspect toys – red dots were from Sri Lanka, Yellow are from Portugal, and so on..

Collectors of course ran with this and the dots are used to determine rarity of these figures.

Smurf The Other Cheek


As someone who has sat through dozens of children's cartoons in the interests of being a loving, supporting father, it's easy to spot the shows that only exist to tell a morality tale. The best cartoons feature clever metaphors for real-world issues and deal with them in ways that the kids watching them don't pick up on, while the adults can all nod sagely. And then there are episodes such as this one, Smurf the Other Cheek, that exist to warn kids about the dangers of dirty, dirty women.

It starts as all of the Smurfs are listening to a decree from Papa Smurf, who states that under no means shall any Smurf kick another Smurf. Unfortunately, our hero Hefty Smurf is out in the woods and misses this important info, and runs across a witch in the woods with a massive red spot on her nose. She is crying and demands he kicks her in the ass so she can be freed from her terrible, unsightly blemish.

After a quick conversation with the angel and devil smurfs that appear over his shoulders ("Ah go on, she's asking for it," the devil insists) he kicks her, and the spot promptly transfers to his nose. Hefty runs back to village and asks for his friend Vanity to kick him to get rid of it, and you can imagine what happens next. Hint: it involves a lot of Smurfs presenting a lot of blue butts to each other, until Papa Smurf ends up breaking his own damn rule. He ends up going back to the witch and kissing her nose, curing them both and presumably making them live with the life-long fear of spreading it to others.

The morale of the story? No kicking. Uh-huh....

Smurfs Village

A Thousand Smurfaroos

The Smurfs is an incredibly profitable franchise, as video game company Capcom found out in 2010 when they released Smurf's Village. The game is one of those base-builders that is free to play, but it costs money if you want to speed things up and actually have any fun. The game proved incredibly popular with children, and unpopular with parents who found their children spending thousands of dollars of smurfberries.

While the iTunes store had already implemented some safety measures to stop this from happening, they missed one. It turns out that if you entered a password for your kid to spend a buck on some in-app content, the account remains active for 15 minutes and lets the kids continue to buy whatever they want, including $99.99 mega-packs of worthless berries.

Capcom quickly released a press release saying that parents should blame Apple, not them, but that wasn't much comfort to anyone with phone bills that were scary enough to make them smurf their pants. It's since been fixed so that a password can be required for each and every purchase, and Apple offered refunds for anyone who thought they were charged by accident.

Smurf Heaven

Smurfing Hell

Now we all know that series villain Gargamel is not a nice guy, as he's always trying to catch those Smurfs for some reason, but the way our heroes confront him in the episode Heavenly Smurfs is pretty evil. While chasing a group of smurfs one day, Gargamel slips and knocks himself out. The Smurfs decide to capitalize on this moment in a pretty elaborate plan. They don angel outfits, fill the place with smoke, and convince him that he's dead and somehow made it to heaven. He's at least overjoyed that his lifelong obsession has led him here, but they convince him that he's going back and that if he doesn't change his ways he's heading straight down.

In order to change things, they suggest Gargamel be nice to the Smurfs from now on, and they basically make a slave out of him. He tries to be nice to them and follows their every whim, building bridges and dams and doing so much work he eventually throws out his back. He continues on, in obvious pain, because of the fear of disappointing them. All the while, the Smurfs sit back, picnicking and laughing at him, making puns about hell.

Gargamel eventually figures out an important lesson – it's a terrible life.

Smurfberry Crunch

Smurfberry Crunch Poop 

Every single 1980's cartoon had to have a cereal tie-in, and The Smurfs was no exception. Smurfberry Crunch (#1 ingredient: sugar) was a cereal crammed with blue and red smurfberries, but the blue ones turned out to be the most memorable. It didn't just make the milk in your bowl blue – it also made your poop blue as well.

Fun fact! Blue food dye is generally made from coal tar, oil, or the same synthetic indigo that ends up in your blue jeans. There is no natural blue flavor anywhere in your pantry. This is why it's generally inadvisable to something that has a lot of it, but hey, when it's pumped into a sugary cereal, who can resist?

This turned into a problem when parents saw their children leaving bright blue poops in their potties. Fortunately, it didn't seem to affect anyone besides the alarming smurf color, and future cereal tie-ins didn't have the same issue.

The Europe, No One Can Hear You Smurf

In 1977 the United States was in the midst of disco fever, kicked off by the Bee Gees' best-selling soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. But Europe was going through a bit of a stranger phase, one that made a star of one Petrus Antonius Laurentius "Pierre" Kartner.

A Dutch musician with the stage name of Father Abraham, the prolific musician likely didn't expect a promo song for an animated Smurfs movie to be his biggest hit ever. The record company didn't expect it either, as they pressed a mere 1,000 copies of the single, The Smurf Song. That was quickly determined to be far too little, and further presses of the single sold 400,000 copies. A later full album (Father Abraham In Smurfland) sold a further 500,000 copies and shot to the Number One slot in 16 different countries.

As I said, a strange phase.

Smurfs: The Lost Village preview

Smurfs’ A Crowd

How many Smurfs is too much Smurfs? The folks at Jokers' Masquerade (a British costume company) found out just how many back in 2009, when their smurf to arms led a staggering 2,510 blue folks to show up at Swansea University. Guinness was there to mark the occasion and indeed, it gave them the record for Most People Dressed As Smurfs.

This record holds to this day. Remarkably, this is one of the highest "gathering of people dressed as X" records of all times. Vampires only managed to suck up 1,039 people, while Sumo wrestlers only drew a mere 293 participants, although they probably needed more room for the blown up costumes.

Skeletons has a record of 2,018 participants, and are you going to really take that lying down, Smurfs? Grab some Smurfberry Crunch and take to the streets!