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Clockwork smurf title
The Clockwork Smurf (episode)
Date of First Airing11/28/1981
Directed byRay Patterson (supervising director)
George Gordon
Bob Hathcock
Carl Urbano
Rudy Zamora
Story byLen Janson (story editor)
Chuck Menville (story editor)
Gallery
Title Translation of
The Clockwork Smurf
FrenchLa Schtroumpf Mecanique
SpanishEl pituforobotín
GermanDer Aufziehschlumpf
ItalianIl puffo meccanico
DutchDe Robotsmurf
PolishMechaniczny Smerf

"The Clockwork Smurf" is a Season 1 episode from the Smurfs cartoon show.

Summary

As the Smurfs are busy doing their daily work, one Smurf in particular, Farmer, is having difficulty doing his work -- mowing down tall blades of weeds. Every time he thought he mowed down some, they just kept popping back up. Handy sees Farmer's frustration building up from this fruitless activity, but unfortunately he can't get Farmer away from his job to play a game of smurfball. Neither can he get Jokey away from cutting wood just for a swim, or Greedy from his cooking. Handy just wishes at this point that there was some faster way for Smurfs to get their work done, when inspiration hits him to build that "faster way".

Sometime later, every Smurf is gathered around outside Handy's house when he shows up with his latest invention -- the Clockwork Smurf -- a mechanical Smurf that can take "the work out of work". Handy sets Clockwork into motion, and soon they see him speed through mowing down Farmer's weeds and chopping up wood. His fellow Smurfs are so impressed, they all ask Handy if they could have him to do their own various tasks first. Handy quiets the others by telling them he wants Papa Smurf to have the honors of using Clockwork first, which he appreciates, saying he's got a kink in his back and wondering if this mechanical Smurf could give him a gentle massage. Clockwork obliges, and soon Papa Smurf has gotten the best message therapy that any Smurf could give him, feeling like a totally new Smurf.

Soon Clockwork is at work in various places in the village: doing Greedy's baking in the kitchen, doing Smurfette's watering of her garden, doing Grouchy's painting of his house. Brainy, who is curious about how Clockwork Smurf works, decides to take a peek at his internal workings when he suddenly causes him to break down, leaving him with gears in his hands. Hearing Handy calling for Clockwork, Brainy shoves the gears back inside Clockwork, then pretends that he hasn't done anything wrong when Handy shows up. Suddenly Clockwork starts to go crazy -- painting stripes of paint everywhere, rapidly hurling Greedy's baked goodies everywhere, giving Papa Smurf an impromptu painful back massage, and just crashing through Smurf houses. Soon the village is a wreck, and Handy must stop Clockwork before he does anymore damage.

As Clockwork makes coleslaw out of Farmer's cabbages and his scarecrow, several Smurfs lie in wait in the forest for the mechanical Smurf to come hopping their way. Soon he does, and they pounce on him, pig-piling on him long enough for Handy to permanently deactivate him. Handy wonders where he went wrong, and all Papa Smurf could say was that he did his best.

That night, Clockwork is lying in a box outside Handy's house, seemingly abandoned and lifeless. Then he mysteriously comes back to life once again, looking around the village at first and then, feeling lonely and unwanted, starts wandering away into the forest. Soon he is caught in a rainstorm that he must escape from. As he does, he sees horses entering somebody's kingdom through a drawbridge. He manages to sneak inside before the drawbridge closes, and then he wanders through its halls until he overhears people talking, forcing him to duck for cover inside a pot of gruel.

Two women walk nearby, an elderly maidservant named Mrs. Sourberry and a younger woman of royal standing named Imperia. They talk about the twelfth birthday of Prince Gerard, when he will be coronated as king, one which Imperia says she hopes he will attend since he has been sick for so long. As she takes the prepared meal from Mrs. Sourberry's hands, saying she will make sure that Gerard eats every drop of it, and then waits for the elder servant to depart, Imperia then says that everything's going according to plan, and that by this time tomorrow, she will be coronated as queen. Imperia then summons her male servant Thorick, who emerges with his dog that Imperia feeds Gerard's prepared meal to, and has him deliver the pot of gruel to the prince as usual. At midnight, Imperia orders for Gerard to be taken to the secret dungeon under the moat, and then tomorrow she will announce that his three years of illness have come to a final, tragic end, and by decree of the law, she will become queen.

Thorick enters the dungeon that the Prince Gerard has been stuck in -- who is far from being ill, as his evil aunt claims -- and tells him that at midnight he will be moved to place "without drafty windows", or even any windows. Gerard makes a vow that he shall have his day, but Thorick says he will have many days, all spent in the dungeon, before he callously hands him his "coronation feast". After Thorick leaves, Gerard finds something moving in his pot of gruel -- a mechanical doll, which is Clockwork Smurf, who was accidentally carried in inside the pot. Gerard tells the doll that he's now stuck with him inside the dungeon, but Clockwork shows him otherwise by pushing up the dungeon door with great strength, just high enough for Gerard to slip out.

Entering into the royal kitchen, Gerard tries to convince Mrs. Sourberry that he is truly the prince, but all she sees is a young boy dressed in rags pretending to be a prince. She hands him some cookies and shoves him out the door into the night, telling him to run along home before the guards see him. Gerard wonders who can help him now, since nobody would believe that a ragamuffin like him was truly a prince. Clockwork now directs him to someplace he wants to take him.

At midnight Thorick takes some guards with him to escort Prince Gerard to his "new royal chambers" when they notice that the prince has somehow escaped. He informs Imperia, who then tells Mrs. Sourberry that the sick prince has now wandered off, and asks if she has seen him. The elderly servant says that all she saw was a poor peasant boy who claimed he was a prince, which makes Imperia realize that she has seen Gerard. Mrs. Sourberry tells Thorick that she has seen him head off into the forest with a doll. Unknown to her, Imperia plans to capture Gerard and throw him in a dungeon from which he will never escape, and then burn his toy doll in the fire.

Soon Gerard hears Thorick's dog barking and the sound of galloping horses, meaning that Imperia is now in the forest searching for them. Gerard can't outrun them, so Clockwork points him to a nearby river that he could swim across. Gerard tries to swim, but is carried downriver, away from Imperia, Thorick, and his dog who now lost the prince's scent. She says they will have to find it again, and orders her troops across the river.

Back in the Smurf Village, Handy awakens and decides that he's going to get Clockwork back on his feet again when he notices that Clockwork is gone. But soon he hears Clockwork's noises, and sees that his mechanical Smurf isn't alone. He alerts Papa Smurf to a human being in the village, who then awakens to hear Gerard plead his case for being here, that his aunt is out to take his rightful place as being king of his kingdom, and that he needs their help to stop her. The Smurfs believe him enough to want to help him, and as they help Gerard get cleaned up, fed, and properly dressed as a prince, Handy looks at Clockwork like a proud father pleased with his child. Out in the forest, Imperia has Thorick and the troops keep an eye out for the runaway prince to make sure he doesn't interrupt her coronation.

The next day, the Smurfs and Prince Gerard, now dressed as a prince, are ready to return to the castle for Gerard to retake his rightful place as king. Papa Smurf uses a glowberry formula to make both the prince and all the Smurfs invisible -- all except for Clockwork, who has been assigned to act as a decoy to lure away Imperia's troops. After Papa Smurf turns himself invisible, he has everyone start off on the journey to get Gerard safely back to his castle before the formula wears off in two hours.

Thorick, his men, and his dog are sleeping when they hear Clockwork taunting them to chase him. Awakening to his taunt, Thorick commands his men to give chase, but as they do, tiny footprints show up, distracting Thorick's dog. Soon his men see Gerard's footprints in addition to more of the same tiny footprints. Thorick now has them following the footprints. At Gerard's castle, Imperia puts on a convincing performance before the subjects to tell them that her dear nephew had passed away last night in her arms, and that his final wish was for his aunt to take the crown in his place. This makes the subjects look at each other in wonder.

The Smurfs and Gerard are still on the run from Thorick's troops when the glowberry formula wears off too soon with the prince becoming visible again. Papa Smurf told the prince that he never had to deal with figuring out the exact dosage for a human. As the sounds of their pursuers are getting closer, Hefty tells Gerard to run while all the still-invisible Smurfs stop running and create diversions to get Thorick's troops off the prince's tail.

Imperia was just about to coronate herself with the royal crown when the voice of Prince Gerard commands, "Stop!", drawing everybody's attention to him, now dressed as a prince. He reveals that he has been kept in prison by his aunt all those years to trick his people into crowning her as queen. The subjects then turn against Imperia and run her out of the kingdom, throwing vegetables at her, and soon Thorick, his men, and his dog also join the wicked aunt in fleeing the same wrath.

With the subjects now cheering as Gerard is coronated king, the grateful prince-turned-king thanks the Smurfs for helping him and awards the Smurfs with a medal for their valor and bravery, joining with Mrs. Sourberry as they crown their new friends with "Long live the Smurfs!" Papa Smurf, who accepted the medal on behalf of the Smurfs, now presents the medal to Clockwork for his big-heartedness, which the mechanical Smurf accepts.

As the Smurfs now prepare to leave, allowing King Gerard to begin his business of tending to his kingdom, they say goodbye not only to the new king, but also to Clockwork, who now remains with the king to be his companion and his trusted advisor.

Notes

  • Before the Smurfs pounced on Clockwork, his eyes were seperate from each other, but when Clockwork wakes up in the night, his retinas are joined together. When the prince pulls Clockwork out of his food, his retinas are seperate again.

Background Information

  • An origin story for Clockwork Smurf would appear in the Peyo-created comic books, though the character of Clockwork that appears there was somewhat different from that of the cartoon show version (one of the differences being that he was fully able to talk), plus he had the ability to pour liquid out from his hat, which the cartoon version of Clockwork wasn't able to do. Also, the comic book story centered around dealing with Gargamel and a fake version of Clockwork Smurf instead of Prince Gerard and his evil aunt Imperia (who were creations of Hanna-Barbera for the cartoon show). Foreign video releases of the cartoon show featuring this episode erroneously use the Studio Peyo version of Clockwork Smurf.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of King Gerard, as it also does the first appearance of Clockwork Smurf.

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