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.
Greg Barbera says
Well that explains it, the Smurfs were from Belgium.
One question though: why do shit-eaters grin?
Matthew Neely says
Loved this article – I only have one smurf figure and it is indeed the one holding a beer mug. it sits on our kitchen window greeting drinkers as they open a cold one.
Can’t help you on if it was sold in the states, but I can’t figure where else I would have gotten it – I remember having it since I was a kid.
Keep up the good work.
Wow, I have one I bought on eBay a few years ago that is a key ring. And, it sits on the kitchen window sill just like Matthew’s. Embossed on the sole of the right foot is W.Berrie Co. SCHLEICH copyright 1975 PEYO. Thanks for all the other information about it. I’d never thought to research anything about it, just thought it was a worthy beer collectible.
These were available, or at least one was, in New Mexico!
I had one, it was my favorite Smurf that I owned (probably explains a lot). I had a TON of Smurfs (probably also explains a lot).
I had forgotten all about this little guy. I named mine “Whiskey”. I was 5 or 6 years old, what did I know? I liked him because nobody else seemed to have one like it. He sat on a shelf in my old room up until I moved away for college.
I’m going to my hometown for Christmas this year, I”m going to go through the boxes of my old things up in my Dad’s attic and see if I can find him.
I have one that I picked up when I was stationed in Germany back in the 70s. Too bad it’s merely “slightly” uncommon.
I have shown it to a number of people that didn’t believe that I had a smurf drinking beer.