Not necessarily everything to come out of Belgium is as wonderful as their beer. Witness The Smurfs, which were created by Belgian artist Peyo in 1958. Yup, you read that right. The Smurfs are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. They made our way to America in 1981, when NBC debuted that annoying Hanna-Barbera animated series.
But I may have to rethink my dislike of the Smurfs based upon this collectible figure that was made in 1974, well before the U.S. TV series. According to the Mushroom Village, a website about collecting Smurf stuff, the Smurf holding a mug of beer is designated “20078 Beer” and the “mold was introduced in 1974.” They describe it as follows. “Big smile with hands out, frothy beer mug in his right hand.” It’s considered only slightly uncommon, garnering a 2 (out of 5) rarity rating. It was available only in Hong Kong and West Germany, as far as I can tell, though I found one on eBay from Canada. (Yes, despite my hatred of the little blue people, I ordered myself one just because he’s holding a beer mug.)
It was just too completely weird not to, especially with that shit-eating wide grin. I can only assume that this particular one was never sold in the United States. Can you just imagine the hue and cry from certain parents upon finding this one in the toy bin? That fact alone makes me want one. According to Wikipedia:
From 1959 on until the end of the 1960s, Dupuis produced Smurf figurines. But the best known and most widely available Smurf figurines are those made by Schleich, a German toy company. Most of the Smurf figurines given away as promotional material (e.g. by British Petroleum in the 1970s and McDonald’s in the 1990s) are made by Schleich as well. New Smurf figures continue to appear: in fact, only in two years since 1969 (1991 and 1998) have no new smurfs entered the market. Schleich currently produces 8 new figurines a year. Over 300 million of them have been sold so far.