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The Smurf Searcher
, Courier Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 07, 2013 11:00 AM
Anita Stoll talks about some of her favorite pieces in her Smurf collection. Stoll has hundreds of items from toys to clothing and posters and much more. She has collected the items over the last three decades. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchieemail@example.com)
Scores of Smurf figurines fill tabletops in a bedroom in Anita Stoll’s home. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
Ask Anita Stoll what her favorite color is and she'll say pink, but a close second favorite is blue - Smurf blue.
What started out as a small collection of memorabilia back in Stoll's high school days has turned into a much larger collection over the last three decades. Hundreds and hundreds of items make up a wide variety of Smurf merchandise Stoll, 52, has gathered. Her collection currently features a variety of items, including several plush dolls, records, videos, buttons, shirts, books, jewelry, cups, keychains, stickers, comics, Christmas wrapping paper and figurines - 146 Smurf figurines to be exact.
"I don't even throw tags away," she said. "I save it all."
Stoll began accumulating a few Smurf items about the same time the television series began in the early 1980s.
"It was good, and it had a good message," she said of the cartoons. "I just think they're cute."
Soon, other people started helping her add to her Smurf collection that totals 490 items.
"Everybody does this for me," she said. "Everybody's always giving me (Smurf) things."
In college and after graduation, her friends would bring her something Smurfy they found while shopping.
"I was 23 years old when I got my calendar," Stoll said. She still has the calendar, plus a few other Smurf calendars she's found over the years.
When she began her teaching career at Milton Elementary, her Smurf collection added to the decor of her classroom.
Yet Stoll's husband hasn't been as much of a fan of the blue Smurfs over the years like his wife. She said he has purchased only one item for her Smurf collection over the years - a Smurfette doll they found while on vacation.
Others - including her children - help Stoll stay on the lookout for things to add to her collection or for items have remained elusive in the search for Smurfs.
"I couldn't find PEZ (dispensers) anywhere," she said.
During a trip to New York City, Stoll visited a PEZ store sure she would be able to find at least one Smurf PEZ dispenser. But none were there.
Eventually, a PEZ dispenser was found online and purchased for the collection.
Still, Stoll searches for a Smurf toothbrush and a Smurf backpack to add to the collection that takes up an alcove in her bedroom - a small space dedicated to her large Smurf collection.
"I look this way every morning and think of what else I need," she said.
With the release of the newest Smurfs movie, "The Smurfs 2," Stoll hopes to be able to add new pieces to her collection.
When the movie came out on July 31, Stoll and the group she was with were some of the first people in line to see the new movie.
"We were the first ones in the theater," she said.
"The Smurfs 2" lives up to its predecessors, Stoll said, even with the addition of a few new characters.
The new movie may also give Stoll the largest addition to her collection yet. She's found a 3D movie promotions board that will add to the nearly 500 pieces of Smurf items she already has.
And she's not finished growing her collection just yet.
"I'm still collecting," she said.
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