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In Pictures: From the Smurfs to SpongeBob SquarePants

With some of the popular international cartoon characters making their way to Dubai, Kipp gives a lowdown on their activities during this year's Dubai Summer Surprises

June 27, 2012 5:42 by

  • The Smurfs

    The animated blue fictional character was created on October 23, 1958 by a Belgian cartoonist and writer Peirre Culliford (Peyo,) for a Belgian comic and TV show, Johan et Pirlouit. In 1976, American entrepreneur Stuart R. Ross convinced Peyo to sell him the North American distribution rights.  English translations of the Belgian comic strips were published in the U.S. by the graphic novel publisher Papercutz as well as a mini-series published by Marvel Comics in the mid 1980's.  Later on, Ross teamed up with toymaker Wallace Berrie and Co. to distribute The Smurfs PVC figurines and other Smurfs-associated merchandise. The toys were so successful that NBC executive Fred Silverman (whose daughter collected Smurfs) decided to create a Saturday morning animated cartoon show, which was produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1981 on NBC. It became so popular that the production house decided to make television specials on a yearly basis.

    The Smurfs received multiple Emmy nominations during its 8-year run, winning the Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series award in 1983. When television ratings of the Smurfs declined in the late 1990s, the Smurfs TV series, based around the lives of Smurfs, was aired on Cartoon Network until 2003, and now broadcasted on the Boomerang channels across the world. Last year, Sony Pictures released the first film in the trilogy series of computer-generated live action Smurf movies. This American Family film grossed over $564 million thus far.

    The Smurf merchandise include Smurf miniatures (PVC figurines), toys (McDonalds’ range of Smurf toys launched in 2011,) models and games. A line of six perfumes for kids based on the Smurf characters: Papa, Smurfette, Grouchy, Gutsy, Clumsy, and Brainy six fragrances were launched by the First American Brands in 2011. Concept Brands Group, the Dubai-headquartered company, distributes the Smurf perfumes in the region. The Smurfs perfumes are available at Babyshop, Carrefour and other leading hypermarkets in the UAE.

    Don’t forget to catch “A very Smurfy Festival” show that is being organized from 14 to 24 June at Mirdif City Centre.

  • Hello Kitty

    Created in 1974 by Ikuko Shimiza, a designer at Tokyo-based company called Sanrio Company Co, Hello Kitty is a fictional character being portrayed as a female white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow, living in the suburbs outside London with her family

    Ikuko’s Hello Kitty was introduced to the world when she first appeared on a vinyl coin purse, and was brought to the United States in 1976.  Since then she become one of the prominent and recognisable Japanese characters on Earth, found on everything from handbags to bath towels.

    The Hello Kitty trademark spread globally, making Sanrio richer by over $1 billion annually in sales outside of Japan in 2003. Although, Hello kitty was originally marketed to young preteen girls, it was marketed as a retro brand to teenagers and adults. A variety of Hello Kitty products ranging from school supplies to fashion accessories and high-end consumer products, such as purses, laptops, jewelry, toasters, televisions, other home appliances, massagers, and computer equipment . These products range from mass market items to high-end consumer products and rare collectibles. Several Hello Kitty TV series, targeted towards young children, have been produced.

    Other interesting aspects of Hello Kitty branding are Hello Kitty-themed accounts, Visa/Master cards/Debit cards offered by Bank of America, Hello Kitty-themed villa, maternity, parks hospital, A330s, all in Taiwan. And, more recently, the first Hello Kitty Beauty Spa was launched in Dubai. Developed by The Sharaf Group and designed by H&H Interior Design, the spa features beauty treatments, organic makeup and a Kitty Café.

    You can join Hello Kitty and her friends for a 25-minute sing-along TV show called ‘KaraokeKitty’ at Dubai Festival city from 4 to 14 July.

  • Teletubbies

    Developed by Ragdoll Productions for BBC Television and created by award-winning children’s television producers Anne Wood (Director, Ragdoll Productions) and Andrew Davenport (also a trained speech therapist and a writer,) Teletubbies is a daily pre-school television show that features four small humanoid characters, namely Tinky Winky (purple), Dipsy (green), Laa-Laa (yellow), and Po (red), living in a Tubbytronic Superdome in Teletubbyland. The show first aired in 1997. With a total of 365 episodes in four seasons, the last episode was aired in June 2005. With a retail worth of £1 billion, Teletubbies helped BBC rake in over £100 million in sales from merchandise and licensing from 1998 to 2003. It was reported that in 1997 alone BBC worldwide made over a £5 million from sales of all Teletubby merchandise, including Teletubbies music CDS, Tubby Custards, soft toys, fabric, and books. Don’t miss the dancing and singing Teletubbies show at Modhesh World from 16 to 26 June.

  • Charie and Lola

    Lauren Child, the creator of Charlie and Lola, first got the idea for Charlie and Lola when she sat opposite a little girl on a train in Denmark.  Lauren is now one of the best-loved children’s authors. They were introduced to the world in a series of picture books, with the first “Charlie and Lola” book I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, published in 2001. Lauren Child won the prestigious Kate Greenway Medal for her picture book. The book is based on sibling love between Charlie, a patient and kind brother and his sister Lola, a bubbly and inquisitive little girl. The book was an instant hit with children and adults alike for its humorous storyline. Later on, the book-based animated TV series of Charlie and Lola was produced for children. Charlie and Lola merchandise include purses, bags, umbrellas, soft toys, games, DVDs and CDs, clothing, homeware and books. Carlie and Lola can be spotted in Mercato mall from 4 to 14 July

  • SpongeBob SquarePants

    Best known as Goofy and the guileless undersea yellow sponge cartoon star of the TV cartoon series 'SpongeBob SquarePants,' SpongeBob was designed by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg in 1986 for a show that was first aired in 1999. SpongeBob works as a fry- cook at The Krusty Krab and lives in a pineapple, in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. Patrick, the starfish; Squidward, the octopus; Mr.Krabs, the owner of Krusty Krabs and Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel are some of his friends. The original run of the series was suspended after 60 episodes in 2002, in order to create The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, which was produced by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. It was a film adaption of the SpongeBob SquarePants’ animated series released on November 19, 2004. The movie was well-received by SpongeBob’s fans with takings of $140 million worldwide.

    Many TV cartoon series-based merchandise have been produced so far, including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Go-Gurt, Kellogg's cereal, and video games to boxer shorts, flip-flops, pajamas, t-shirts, slippers, Pez dispensers, radios, a special edition Monopoly board game, SpongeBob Surfboards and electric guitars. In 2007, some new high-end SpongeBob-themed electronics have been introduced by Imation Electronics Products under the Npower brand, such as MP3 players, digital cameras, a DVD player, and a flat screen television sets. In 2002, SpongeBob SquarePants dolls sold at a rate of 75,000 per week A SpongeBob SquarePants 2009 calendar featuring the cover caption, "Celebrating his 10th Anniversary!",  was released in 2009.On March 31, 2009 three songs from the show were released as downloadable content for the music video game series Rock Band.

    You can visit SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends from 14 to 24 June at Dubai Marina Mall


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