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When Stuart R Ross was traveling in Belgium in 1976 he came across the smurfs. He entered
an agreement with Dupuis and Peyo and acquired the North American rights for the
characters. He launched them in association with Califonian company Wallace Berrie & Co,
a San Fernando Valley marketing firm. Already in 1978 W Berrie started selling
smurfs but not PVC-figurines. In 1979 the first PVC smurfs were sold in the US.
They fast became very popular and when NBC started showing them on saturday mornings
in 12 of september 1981 the demand for smurf figurines increased even more.
During 1982 W Berrie acquired the Applause Division from Knickerbocker Toys, and
gradually changed its name to Applause. During a short time both names were used
on the PVC smurfs. In 1986 the company only used the name Applause.
Between the years 1982 and 1985 the smurfs were marked W Berrie and Applause. Also
11 smurfs were made in 1990 with Applause-made in China-markings. Before 1982 the
smurfs had no W Berrie marking, most likely because the smurfs made in Hongkong then
also were used for the BP promotion in Australia and New Zealand. In 1982 when the
BP promotion stopped they added W berrie markings on the smurfs because then
basicly all smurfs made there, were shipped to W Berrie in US.
In July 1985 Applause stopped with smurfs and many collectors waited in vain for the last
smurfs meant to be sold in the Limited Collectors Series by Applause. This is the answer
collectors got from Applause in 1985/86. Applause sold 11 new smurfs after this in 1990
with the new marking Applause, made in China. And between 1986 and 1990 a few
old molds got Applause added.Among them the Smurfette with pot and cup( from
supersmurf 40245), now sold as a normal without accessories.
In 1995 this messege is sent to SCCI and because Irwin soon after this started
selling smurfs in the US, I would guess Applause lost the license in 1994.
Over 200 different normalsmurfs and over 50 different supersmurfs were sold by W Berrie during these years.
More information regarding markings used by W Berrie and Applause will be
shown in the Marking chronology-pages and also in the smurfpages with
smurfs sold in the US.