This July, Boomerang will whet fan appetites for all things “smurfy” as the all-classics cartoon network heralds the worldwide premiere of the new 3D live-action/animated film, The Smurfs, opening Friday, July 29. The commercial-free network will clear its regular schedule across the month to devote morning, afternoon and evening air time each day–Monday-Friday 9-10 a.m., 3-4 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. (ET); Saturday-Sunday 9-10 a.m., 2-4 p.m., 8-9 p.m.–to present all-time favorite episodes of the Emmy Award-winning (Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Series) classic animated series, The Smurfs.
“Children who grew up watching The Smurfs in the ‘80s are now having children of their own,” said Stacy Isenhower, senior vice president of programming and scheduling for Boomerang and Cartoon Network. “And with the major motion picture coming out at the end of the month, we decided Boomerang’s July schedule would offer a great opportunity for the whole family to meet the characters and get to know the many special meanings of the word ‘smurfy’.”
In fall 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. 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 (1981-1990), the series chronicled various adventures in Smurf Village, including Gargamel’s multiple failed attempts to rid the world of the Smurfs altogether.
Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation will release The Smurfs in 3D worldwide on Friday, July 29. The live-action and animation feature film is directed by Raja Gosnell and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara and Hank Azaria as Gargamel.
Highlights of the month-long tribute include the following favorite episodes:
Â· “Sir Hefty” — Tuesday, July 19, 9 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.
Â· “Three Smurfketeers” —Thursday, July 21, 9 a.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.
Â· “The Haunted Castle” — Friday, July 22, 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.
Â· “The Littlest Giant” — Sunday, July 24, 9:30 a.m. (ET)— Papa Smurf helps a young runaway giant reunite with his own family.