To my knowledge an authoritative history of the Smurfs has never been written, although I’d like to be corrected if that’s wrong. Wikipedia
What followed was a slew of printed and filmic material. According to Giannalberto Bendazzi’s Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation (page 303), the publishers of Spirou, a firm called Dupuis, had founded a television division by 1959, primarily to exploit the Schtroumpf property; this was done under the artistic direction of Eddy Ryssack, thus giving him the title of having first brought the Smurfs to the screen. This series evidently went on for years, with a compilation of episodes released as a film in 1965 and an original feature in 1976.
The Smurfs invaded America in 1981. That’s when Hanna-Barbera premiered their half-hour Saturday morning cartoon, and it’s coincidentally also right about when I started watching Saturday morning cartoons. I certainly don’t remember my first time watching—I have no recollection of a life without Smurfs—but I distinctly remember many weekend mornings spent in front of the television, my penchant for Jokey Smurf over all the others, my unfulfilled desire to dress as a Smurf for Halloween around age five or six, my reception of stuffed Papa and Jokey Smurf toys for a birthday (I realize it could have been any Smurf, but I immediately christened him Jokey), and my also largely unfulfilled desire to survive exclusively on Smurfberry Crunch cereal, thwarted by my mother. The commercials for this were actually my introduction to Tchaikovsky (high culture!).
Well, unfortunately it doesn’t appear that Post has seen fit to reissue the cereal for the anniversary, but there has been some other activity going on. On February 26 this year the first DVD
Now, there’s been buzz for years about a theatrical film. There’s been a lot of recent speculation, such as this January blog and this February news item, about a 3D CGI film, as seen above. The latest news is that Sony is going to do a live-action-CGI mix film, like we’ve seen done with Scooby-Doo and Alvin and the Chipmunks. Imdb has a 2010 release date, with Colin Brady directing and veteran animation screenwriters J. David Stern and David N. Weiss doing the screenplay. Not much else has been revealed—let alone visuals—at this point.
Here’s another article on the anniversary at ComicMix. And here’s a couple old Hanna-Barbera episodes, with lots more at YouTube.
This is “Calling Doctor Smurf”:
And this is part one of “The Smurfette,” when Gargamel creates that nefarious female Smurf that everyone’s been talking about ever since: