Ah, to be a middle-aged Smurf.
Not bad for a race that lives in mushroom houses, stands only three apples tall, and started as a minor character in a Belgian comic.
Despite the fervor with which Americans embraced the happy-go-lucky Smurfs in the 1980s, they were popular abroad long before then. Originally called “Les Schtroumpfs” in French, the Smurfs debuted Oct. 23, 1958, in the Belgian comic Johan & Pirlouit, which was set in the Middle Ages and drawn by Pierre Culliford, better known as Peyo. Two years later the forest dwellers were popular enough to have their own series.
The museum has a handful of animation cells from the series, which lasted more than eight years and whose first season was released on DVD this year. Farago said he suspects that part of the Smurfs’ appeal for kids was the simplicity of their design, which usually involved only a blue body and white pants and hat.