He is one of the main characters of the Smurfs comic book series and the Smurfs cartoon show, who has appeared on the show throughout its entire run. His first appearance as a character in any visual media is in the original comic book story of "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute". His role is that of the practical village leader and the father figure of 100 or so young Smurfs, using his wisdom and his knowledge of magic and science to protect them from various forms of dangers that exist in the Smurf forest. He is identified by his red Smurf hat and pants and by a shortly-trimmed white beard and moustache. Papa Smurf always tries to get everyone to do the right thing. He'll even go out of his way to help Gargamel and Azrael much to the annoyance of the other Smurfs.
His character was voiced by Don Messick in the cartoon show, by Mike Reynolds in the animated version of "The Smurfs And The Magic Flute", by Jonathan Winters in The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2, and by Jack Angel in two video features, The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol and The Smurfs: The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow.
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- He is referred to as "The Great Smurf" in some non-English translations of the Smurf comic books.
- Papa Smurf's birthday in the comic books is usually indicated by the presence of chanterelles growing in the Smurf Forest.
- For as long as he could remember, Papa Smurf has admired the great wizard Merlin, as seen in "The Smurfs Of The Round Table".
- Papa Smurf, along with Brainy Smurf and Hefty Smurf, appeared in the 1990 drug prevention video,Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue.
- In the 2011 movie, Papa Smurf is admittedly a coffee drinker.
- Papa Smurf was mentioned in the 2002 live action Scooby-Doo movie by Velma. Coincidentally, Raja Gosnell directed the two Scooby-Doo films and has now directed the new Smurfs film.
- In the Duck Dodgers episode "The Green Loontern", Duck sarcastically refers to Ganthet the Green Lantern Corps Guardian as Papa Smurf when he comes to his defense as being a Green Lantern.
- Papa Smurf's visual similarity to Santa Claus has been referenced a few times: once by a human boy named William in "The Smurfs Christmas Special", once by Sassette (though purely by accident) in the cartoon special "'Tis The Season To Be Smurfy", once by Patrick Winslow in the 2011 Smurfs movie, and once by Hackus in its sequel. In the box cover design for the VHS release of "Baby's First Christmas" and for The Smurfs Holiday Celebration, Papa Smurf purposely dresses like Santa. In the game "Smurfs' Village", Papa Smurf dresses like Santa Claus and walks around the village with a bag of gifts in the winter seasons.
- In a one-page comic book gag, Papa Smurf had presumably dressed like one of the regular Smurfs while the other Smurfs dressed like Papa Smurf, which seems to suggest that in comic book and cartoon show interpretations of the character, Papa Smurf would be indistinguishable from the other Smurfs without the beard. The 2011 Smurfs movie makes Papa Smurf more visibly older by adding wrinkles to his face.
- Papa Smurf was voiced by Jonathan Winters, the voice of Grandpa Smurf in the cartoon series, in the live-action movies. The sequel was credited as his last one before his death in April 11th.