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The Smurfs invade Lausanne

Papa Smurf isn't the only one who's getting old.

This content was published on September 12, 2008 - 17:10

The beloved cartoon characters – with their pudgy blue bodies, white pointy hats, and la-la working songs – all turn 50 years old in October, and Lausanne is helping to celebrate the milestone.

A three-day exhibition, which lasts until Sunday, will help raise money for the children's aid organisation, Unicef. It is being held as part of Lausanne's international comic-strip festival.

Before the show, organisers scattered thousands of Smurf figurines around Lausanne and invited children to find them, paint them and enter them into a contest.

Lausanne is the only city in Switzerland to host the show, which started in Angoulême, France, in January, and has now toured 14 cities in countries from Spain to Finland as part of an international comic festival.

The Smurfs first appeared in 1958 as minor characters in a Belgian comic strip created by Pierre Culliford and were called "Schtroumpfs" in the original French.

The creatures proved to be so popular – sales of Smurf-related items have now topped $5 billion worldwide (SFr5.6 billion) – that they were eventually spun off into an animated film in 1975. A television series followed in 1980 and was broadcast in more than 100 countries.

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