The Year the Smurfs Attacked

Categories: Spaced City
Twenty-five years ago this past January, Houston middle-school playgrounds were a-hum with fear and loathing. Rumors were crackling like wildfire about a deadly, remorseless street gang with the cuddly name of The Smurfs.

That their name was so ridiculous only enhanced their bad-assery in the minds of many kids. You just knew that any gang that would call itself the Smurfs were total psychos.

Smurfophobia reached such a fever pitch, Newsweek picked up the tale. A researcher on Snopes.com’s message boards dug up the story from that magazine’s archives:


It started out innocently enough: in January a Houston TV station reported that several juveniles believed to be called "the Smurfs" had been arrested for a series of petty crimes. Before long though, rumors were sweeping elementary and junior-high schools that a vicious gang was terrorizing youngsters and murdering principals all across the city. The marauding Smurfs were variously reported to be wearing blue body paint or black jackets, carrying knives or machine guns. Some students said kids wearing sky-blue clothes were in danger; others insisted that sky-blue clothing would ward off attack. At the Aldine school district, the Smurfs were said to be hiding out in restrooms. "Some of our sixth graders refused to go to the bathroom," said district spokesperson Judy Williams. Attendance in some schools dropped. Frantic parents deluged administrators with calls. "One of my friends was so scared she moved back to Philadelphia," reported Janie, a seventh grader at Fondren Middle School.


Recently Houston police charged about 40 youngsters and 7 adults with Smurf-related goings-on -- mostly burglary and petty theft -- but wearily insisted that the Smurf gang had never been in the Houston schools. "Kids desperately wanted to believe [that the Smurfs were there] -- they wanted some excitement," said Franklin Turner, principal at the Johnston Middle School, who, according to the rumors, had been murdered by the Smurfs. At the Welch Middle School, meanwhile, Principal Bill Morgan decided to fight fantasy with fantasy. Morgan announced over the school's public-address system that Garfield the cat and the Greatest American Hero were on their way to protect the students.

The story picked up variations and embellishments as it passed over the grapevine at debate contests, sports events and skating rinks – wherever teens and pre-teens gathered.

Press Web editor Keith Plocek, a northwest side native, was told by a summer camp counselor that the Smurfs had raped a little girl with a broomstick.

A poster from Spring Branch on the Snopes message board remembered hearing that the Smurfs were attacking kids in junior high bathrooms all over town and that Spring Branch was due an assault soon. The poster said that kids were so paranoid that they refused to go to the bathroom and the principal had to announce over the loudspeaker that the Smurfs were not poised to attack.

A year after the Smurfs Scare, I was a freshman at Strake Jesuit and was told by kids from Missouri City that despite the official debunking, everybody knew that gang leader Papa Smurf was a student at Willowridge, or at least had been until he was sent to juvenile. One kid even claimed to know him.

Does anybody else remember these cuddly and imaginary psycho-killers?

John Nova Lomax


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17 comments
Stephen the Bear
Stephen the Bear

Well after all these years the Smurf Gang was real. They did dress up like smurfs. They also had knives and terrifying the kids in schools.

Dave F
Dave F

HAHAHAHA!!!!  Smurfs????  When I was at Olle Middle School my worries were the Black Disciples, the Trench Coats, and the Latin Kings.   The Smurgs were the least of our worries.  A couple of Cat Fights, and a few rumors were minor compared to the jumps and the guns.  Now the Dead End, that was freaking scary.

Unwelcome Guest
Unwelcome Guest

I remember the scare the Smurfs put in all the kids, until we learned that Gargamel took care of them.

BigBLue
BigBLue

I was an original member of the Smurf gang. I want to dispel some unfounded rumors. We were never a threat to anyone. Yes we were located in the bathrooms of the schools but that was only to let the kids know how much school was important and that they should take their education very seriously. It was just our way of keeping them on the right track. They would come in the bathrooms and we would say "Hi, we're with the Smurf gang and we want you to know that school is cool and you should stay in it."  Another thing, those 40 youth and 7 adults arrested were NOT with the Smurf gang but were with the Snurf gang. Now those guys were bad news.

GH
GH

Brings back memories. I was in elementary school when I 1st heard these rumors. At first I was a little worried about going into the bathrooms but I remember saying to myself how is it that these guys could get into our bathrooms w/o anyone noticing. Eventually I had to go and do the business and to my dissapointment...NO SMURFS!! :(

Looney
Looney

WOW,... the Smurfs, i remember seeing the smurf gangs selling drugs in the fields in Alief.. they were supposbly Hard core killers.. that some old school stuff there.. man.. wow.

POPP
POPP

I REMEMBER THE SMURF GANG, IN HOUSTON AND IT WAS A RUMOR A COUPLE OF YEARS BACK THAT PAPA SMURF HAD DIED, DON'T REALLY KNOW IF ITS TRUE OR NOT

Matt "PappaSmurf"
Matt "PappaSmurf"

S.B.P.Smurf Berry PosseSan Bernardino PosseSan Bernardino, CA 1987-???

Not a bunch of bad guys.Just peeps who didn't let themselves get pushed around. Threw rave parties before they were called raves. Only alcohol & occasional pot, not hard drugs.Had a run in with local rolling 60's crips.Don't know how the rumors spread.Cant wait for the movie to come out at the end of the year.

"PappaSMurf"

Deedub
Deedub

Oh, goodness, I remember this! I was in 8th grade at Welch Middle School when that Smurf gang rumor went around.

What I heard was that the gang beat up the boys and raped the girls. I'll admit that I was a bit concerned, but nothing like the mass hysteria that petrified a lot of my classmates. When Mr. Morgan made the announcement about Garfield and the Greatest American Hero protecting the school, I was thinking, "How the heck are they going to protect us from all those guys, if they even show up?" The day passed without incident, of course, and at the end of the day, Mr. Morgan added at the end of the afternoon announcements that "Garfield and the Greatest American Hero say 'hello.'"

My brother claims that he saw a bunch of older kids in a van with "Smurf gang" painted on the side in letters like the old 97 Rock logo, but I couldn't buy that story. I just wonder who came up with the whole ridiculous story in the first place and why.

Troy
Troy

I was in Thompson Intermediate at the time (Pasadena ISD) and I remember this scare. I was as worried about a smurf gang attack as I was of a nuclear bomb attack (which is to say that I WAS worried- didn't take much to worry a middle school student in those days). But we went to school anyway.

Christal
Christal

Oh my, I totally remember these rumours. I was in elemetary school at the time and the "Smurfs" were suppose to come on the last day of school and beat us up. I remember thinking, but I like the smurfs, why would they want to hurt us....I actually thought THE smurfs were coming...lol.

But I'd made up in my mind, we were just gonna have to fight cause I wasn't gonna go running scared....that's really funny!!!

abrah�
abrah�

i remember the smurfs. my across the street neighbor - who was in middle school - tried to convince me that they actually dressed like the cartoon smurfs and that they climbed houses and buildings like spiderman.

i was always expecting to find them on the roof of my school.

LyricOsiris
LyricOsiris

Damn. Before we had any ideas of terrorism most kids back in the day were looking around corners and telling stories akin to the broomstick rape (with all its variations of penetration of the lil'girl, which shows how us kids at the time were demented as well).yeah, that was a screwy time in Houston urban legends which kinda got forgotten about once crack started making the streets really scary...

Bob Ruggiero
Bob Ruggiero

Wow! I hadn't even thought about the Smurfs in a long time! I remembered the murmuring about the Smurfs in Spring from some friends at Dueitt Middle School, when I was in 8th grade. Guess they never materialized...like the Killer Bee attack that was going to wipe us all out...or conversion to the metric system.

McKwaichangcane
McKwaichangcane

 Who cares how "Gansta" your middle school was you ignorant kunt the Smurfs WERE real, we wore Blue Polos and white Levi's you better not let me catch you dispesrecting the Smurfs again, YOU HEAR ME!?!?!?!

Delagarza Orion97
Delagarza Orion97

Hey i go to thompson and they say the smurfs are coming back on halloween

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