In 1981, a decidedly new cartoon debuted on NBC’s Saturday morning lineup. Based on a 1957 Belgian comic strip, The Smurfs made television history following its premiere by becoming the highest-rated Saturday morning show in eight years, and the NBC’s highest-rated animated series since 1970. Nearly 30 years later, the commercial-free Boomerang Network will celebrate this ground-breaking series with a 12-hour marathon on Monday, Feb. 15, beginning at 8 a.m. (ET).
The Smurfs follows the lives of little blue people who live in mushrooms. Led by wise magician Papa Smurf, the eclectic crew includes such characters as Brainy, Vanity, Hefty, Clumsy and Smurfette (the only female Smurf), a happy bunch threatened only by the evil wizard Gargamel and his cat Azrael. For nine years on broadcast television, the series chronicled various adventures in Smurf Village, including Gargamel’s multiple failed attempts to rid the world of the Smurfs altogether.
“The children who grew up watching The Smurfs are now having children of their own,” said Stacy Isenhower, senior vice president of programming and scheduling for Boomerang and Cartoon Network. “Boomerang’s Presidents’ Day marathon is a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy this classic-both again or for the first time.”
Highlights of the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. marathon include the following episodes:
· “Sir Hefty” – 8 a.m. (ET) – A giant fire-breathing dragon roams the forest, torching the trees as it passes. Hefty must fight the fires and defend Smurf Village. He leads the dragon away and is knighted “Sir Hefty Knight of the Smurf Table” by Papa Smurf.
· “Three Smurfketeers” – 1 p.m. (ET) – The Smurfs put on a play where Hefty, Jokey, and Greedy play the three musketeers, helping Clumsy Smurfingham win Smurfette Smurfington’s hand in marriage.
· “The Haunted Castle” – 3:30 p.m. (ET) – Johan and Peewit, a young squire and his sidekick, join the Smurfs to help a ghost of a haunted castle find his rightful heir.
· “The Littlest Giant” – 6 p.m. (ET) – Papa Smurf helps a young runaway giant reunite with his own family.
Boomerang is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s (TBS, Inc.) 24-hour cable/satellite network offering the best in classic animated entertainment. In partnership with Cartoon Network, the service boasts 75 percent unduplicated programming and is available to cable/satellite operators and their customers in Spanish. Boomerang’s official Web site is located at http://Boomerang.CartoonNetwork.com.