The Chipmunks: Wikis

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Alvin and the Chipmunks

Background information
Origin Fresno, California, U.S.
Genres Country, Pop, Rock, Dance, Hip hop, Christmas music, children's music
Years active 1958–1972
1979–present
Labels Liberty Records
RCA Records
Sony Wonder
Quality Records
Chipmunk Records
Website chipmunks.com
Members
Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
Janice Karman
Steve Vining
Randy Miller
Ali Dee Theodore
Former members
Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (deceased)
Jai Winding
Johnny Mann
Randy Edelman
Joe Reisman

Alvin and the Chipmunks is an animated music group created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958. The group consists of three singing animated anthropomorphic chipmunks: Alvin, the mischievous troublemaker, who quickly became the star of the group; Simon, the tall, bespectacled intellectual; and Theodore, the chubby, impressionable one. The trio is managed by their human father David Seville. In reality, David Seville was Bagdasarian's stage name, and the Chipmunks themselves are named after the executives of their original record label, Liberty Records: Alvin Bennett (the president), Simon Waronker (the founder and owner), and Theodore Keep (the chief engineer).

The Chippers act began with recordings first brought to life in Bagdasarian's 1950s novelty recordings under the name David Seville and the Chipmunks. For stage purposes, such as during an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Bagdasarian lip-synched the words of "David Seville" in front of a small puppet theater, with puppets of the three Chipmunks also lip-synching. The puppets looked similar to the Chipmunk illustrations on the covers of some of the group's 45 RPM records. The characters were an unprecedented success, and the singing Chipmunks and their manager were given life in several animated cartoon productions, using redrawn, anthropomorphic chipmunks, and eventually films.

The voices of the group were all performed by Bagdasarian, who sped up the playback to create higher pitched voices. This oft-used process was also not entirely new to Bagdasarian, who had also used it for two previous novelty song projects, including "The Witch Doctor", but it was so unusual and well executed it earned the trio two Grammy Awards for engineering. Although the characters were fictional, they did release a long line of actual albums and singles, with "The Chipmunk Song" becoming a number-one hit single in the United States. After Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.'s death in 1972, their voices were performed by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman in the subsequent incarnations of the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 2007 CGI/live-action movie adaptation and its 2009 sequel, they were voiced in dialogue by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney, respectively. Bagdasarian, Jr. and Karman continue to perform the singing voices for Alvin, Theodore and the Chipettes, but Steve Vining now does Simon's singing voice. They are one of the successful music groups of all time, earning five Grammy awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award, a Kids' Choice Award, and have been nominated for three Emmy awards. Along with their female counterparts, The Chipettes, winning a Grammy as well.

Contents

History

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The Witch Doctor

In early 1958, Bagdasarian released a novelty song (as David Seville) about being unsuccessful at love until he found a witch doctor who told him "What To Do" to woo his woman. The song was done by Bagdasarian in his normal voice, except for the "magic" eyes, done first in Bagdasarian's pitched-up, pre-Chipmunk voice, then in a duet between his pitched-up voice and his normal voice. The words are nonsense: "Oo-ee, oo-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla-walla, bing-bang". The "Walla Walla" part of the song was just thrown in as a reference to Bagdasarian's uncle who lived in Walla Walla, Washington.

The song was a major hit, holding Number 1 for three weeks in the Billboard Top 100, a predecessor to the Billboard Hot 100 chart which would be introduced that August, and the Witch Doctor's "magic words" were sung by kids in many countries.[1] Nothing makes any reference to chipmunks, but the song is sometimes included on Chipmunk compilations, as if the Chipmunks had provided the voice of the Witch Doctor. Bagdasarian did record a "Chipmunks" version of "Witch Doctor", which appeared on the second Chipmunks album, Sing Again with The Chipmunks, in 1960.

The song gained new attention when it was sung by Homer Simpson in an episode of The Simpsons in 2006.

A followup song was recorded by Bagdasarian titled "The Bird on My Head" with Bagdasarian (again as Seville) singing a duet with his own sped-up voice as the bird. It also reached the Top 40, peaking at #34.[2]

The Chipmunk Song

The Chipmunks first officially appeared on the scene in a novelty record released in late fall 1958 by Bagdasarian. The song, originally listed on the record label (Liberty F-55168) as "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", featured the singing skills of the chipmunk trio. One phrase in the chorus has Alvin wishing for a hula hoop, which was that year's hot new toy. The novelty record was highly successful, selling more than 4 million copies in seven weeks, and it launched the careers of its chipmunk stars. It spent four weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from December 22, 1958 to January 12, 1959. It also earned three Grammy Awards and a nomination for Record of the Year. At the height of its popularity, Bagdasarian and 3 chipmunk hand-puppets appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, lip-synching the song. "The Chipmunk Song" appeared on the Chipmunks' debut album, Let's All Sing with the Chipmunks, in 1959, and was repeated on Christmas with the Chipmunks, released in 1962. The song also has been included on several compilation albums.

The Alvin Show (1961–1962)

The first television series to feature the characters was The Alvin Show. The cartoon gave more distinctive looks and personalities to the three chipmunks than just their voices, and an animated portrayal of Seville was a reasonable caricature of Bagdasarian himself. The series ran from 1961 to 1962, and was one of a small number of animated series to be shown in prime time on CBS. Unfortunately, it was never an immediate success in prime time and was canceled after one season, only to find new life in syndication.

In addition to Alvin cartoons, the series also featured the scientist Clyde Crashcup and his assistant Leonardo. Those characters did not feature prominently on any of the later series. Crashcup made a single cameo appearance in A Chipmunk Christmas, and in an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks. The television series was produced by Format Films for Bagdasarian Film Corporation. Although the series was broadcast in black and white, it was produced and later re-run in color. 26 episodes each were produced for the Alvin and the Chipmunks and Clyde Crashcup segments, along with 52 musical segments.

A Chipmunk Christmas (1981)

The final Chipmunks album in their original incarnation, The Chipmunks Go to the Movies, was released in 1969. After the death of Ross Bagdasarian in 1972 from a heart attack, the Chipmunks' careers stalled until NBC showed interest in the original show (the network carried Saturday morning reruns of The Alvin Show as a midseason replacement in 1979) and the following year, Excelsior Records released a new album of contemporary songs performed by the Chipmunks. The new album — Chipmunk Punk — featured Bagdasarian's son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., doing the voices of the characters. That album and the continued reruns of the series proved to be popular enough to warrant further new records as well as a new television production, and in 1981, the Chipmunks and Seville returned to television in the Christmas special A Chipmunk Christmas, produced by Chuck Jones, which was first broadcast on NBC on December 14 of that year.

Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983–1990)

The group's name changed from "The Chipmunks" to "Alvin & The Chipmunks" just like "Diana Ross & The Supremes". Alvin, just like Diana Ross, was the lead singer. The Chipmunks' name change sparked rumors of a possible solo career for Alvin, but in 1983, the second animated television series for the group, produced by Ruby-Spears Productions, was released. Titled simply Alvin and the Chipmunks, the outline of the show closely paralleled the original Alvin Show. A more sustained success than the original, the series lasted eight production seasons, until 1990. In the first season, the show introduced the Chipettes, three female versions of the Chipmunks — Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor, who each paralleled the original Chipmunks in personality (except Brittany was vainer than Alvin, Jeanette was smart like Simon, and Eleanor was fond of food like Theodore), with their own human guardian, the myopic Miss Beatrice Miller (who arrived for the 1986 season).

The Chipmunks even sang a variation of NBC's Let's All Be There campaign for its Saturday-morning lineup in 1984 (shows included The Smurfs, Snorks, Going Bananas, Pink Panther and Sons, Kidd Video, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Mister T, etc.). After 1988, the show was renamed just The Chipmunks to indicate that there were now two groups of them. Also introduced was the boys' "Uncle" Harry, who may or may not have actually been a relative. The show reflected current trends and historical events in pop culture; the Chipmunks sang recent hits, and wore contemporary clothing. One "documentary" episode spoofed John Lennon's 1966 infamous comment that The Beatles had become "more popular than Jesus", by recalling how the Chipmunks had fallen in popularity after Alvin boasted they were "bigger than Mickey Mouse!". In 1985, the Chipmunks, along with the Chipettes, were featured in the live stage show, Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Amazing Computer. In 1987, during the fifth season of the show on television, the Chipmunks had their first animated feature film, The Chipmunk Adventure, directed by Janice Karman and Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., and released to theaters by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. The film featured the Chipmunks and the Chipettes in a contest traveling around the world.

In the 1988–89 season, the show switched production companies to DIC Entertainment, by which time the Chipmunks had truly become anthropomorphized. In 1990, the show switched titles again to The Chipmunks Go to the Movies. Each episode in this season was a spoof of a Hollywood film, such as Back to the Future, King Kong, and others. In addition, several television specials featuring the characters were also released. At the conclusion of the eighth season, the show was canceled again. In 1990, a documentary was produced about the show entitled Alvin and the Chipmunks/Five Decades with the Chipmunks. In that year, the Chipmunks also teamed up for the only time with other famous cartoon stars (such as Bugs Bunny, Garfield, etc.) for the drug abuse-prevention special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.

Direct-to-video Chipmunks movies from Universal

In 1996, the rights to the characters were purchased by Universal Studios. This resulted in The Chipmunks' 1999 reappearance in the form of the direct-to-video movie Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein. The movie was successful enough to spark interest in a sequel, and in 2000, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman appeared. Both movies featured the original cast of the second series reprising their roles and the tone of the movies are very similar to the series. These film titles reflect earlier horror spoofs by Abbott and Costello.

Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks

A live-action movie called Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks[3] was released on April 27, 2004 (April 24, 2005 according IMDb[4]). It features puppetry used for the Chipmunks and Chipettes. In this movie, when Dave (Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.) goes out of town, he leaves the young Chipmunks and the Chipettes in the care of Lalu (Janice Karman), a friend who is happy to have six pre-schoolers stay with her. Lalu lives in a magic cottage with Gilda (a talking cockatoo), and PC (a talking frog who believes he is one kiss away from being Prince charming).

There are also Sam and Lou, two gophers who report to the viewers about the feelings the characters are experiencing. While at Lalu's, the kids learn and sing about separation, jealousy, telling the truth, sharing, and other life lessons. Theodore learns about telling the truth, and not to put things into the toilet; Alvin learns about helping Eleanor (the infant); and Jeanette learns that she cannot "borrow" Brittany's lipstick. The direct to video feature was directed and co-written by Jerry Rees, who also animated all the CGI effects and voiced two characters. The budget for the project was unusually low, at $600,000. It was also the only live-action appearances of Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman, respectively.

The Chipmunks' future

Alvin, seen here as a balloon in the 2007 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In 2000, Bagdasarian Productions sued Universal Studios for breach of contract after their direct-to-video film contract went sour, in order to recoup monetary damages and to regain control of the Alvin and the Chipmunks characters. Bagdasarian won the lawsuit in 2002. In 2004, 20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises and Bagdasarian Productions announced a CGI/live action film adaptation of the popular musical group and animated series. The new film Alvin and the Chipmunks, directed by Tim Hill and starring Jason Lee as Dave Seville, was released on December 14, 2007. With Justin Long as Alvin, Matthew Gray Gubler as Simon, and Jesse McCartney as Theodore, it marks the first motion picture in which nobody related to Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. has performed as David or the Chipmunks. Though the critics gave it harsh reviews, audiences consisting of children and their baby boomer parents flocked to the theaters. In its first weekend, it grossed $44,307,417, second behind I Am Legend. The film closed on June 5, 2008, grossing $217,326,974 in North America alone and $144,004,149 overseas for a total of $361,331,123 worldwide.

The Chipmunks, as seen in the live-action/CGI films.

In 2006, Bagdasarian Productions sued Thomas Lee, the creator of Chipmunkz Gangsta Rap, a parody created by Bentframe and featured on Atom Films. The lawsuit is still in process. Also, The Chipmunk Adventure was released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment, then later Trick or Treason, A Chipmunk Christmas: 25th Anniversary and A Chipmunk Valentine. The Chipmunks Go To The Movies was released on May 22, 2007. The Chipmunks' newest album, Undeniable, was released in November 2008.[5].

A sequel to the first film, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, was released on December 23, 2009. Justin Long (Alvin), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon), and Jesse McCartney (Theodore) reprise their roles respectively. In the film, The Chipettes are featured, with Christina Applegate as Brittany, Anna Farris as Jeanette, and Amy Poehler as Eleanor. It marks as the first picture in which Janice Karman does not voice The Chipettes. Though critically panned like its predecessor, the squeakquel opened to $48,875,415 in its first weekend and $75,589,048 in its first five days, third at the North American box office behind Avatar and Sherlock Holmes. As of March 16, 2010, it has garnered $218,122,139 in North America and $221,300,000 overseas for a total of $439,422,139 worldwide.

Imitations

While the series was being prepared for broadcast, an imitation, The Nutty Squirrels, beat them to the market, appearing on television screens in September 1960, but were less successful than the Chipmunks. Also, many think that Chip and Dale are an imitation of the Chipmunks, but this is incorrect— Chip and Dale first appeared in the Disney cartoon Private Pluto in 1943, more than a decade before the creation of the Chipmunks. The cartoon series Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, the first appearance of them with distinct personalities and clothing, was created in 1989, well after the debut of Alvin and the Chipmunks in the fifties.

In the 1980s there was a "group" called The Happy Hamsters[6], which was an obvious attempt to cash in on the Chipmunks' popularity; it has since lapsed into obscurity. In 1959, Russ Regan produced "The Happy Reindeer" by Dancer, Prancer and Nervous for Capitol Records.[7] In 1963, Canadian record label Arc Records released "Christmas With The Chippers", which contained chipmunk voices singing popular holiday standards arranged in the same style as the Chipmunks but mostly without their trademark style of humor.[8]

Characters

Alvin Seville

Alvin is a roller coaster and the main protagonist of Alvin and the Chipmunks. His enthusiasm is boundless and his despair bottomless. The term look before you leap definitely doesn't apply to Alvin, who is impulsive, charming, musical and full of animal magnetism. The character, who is heavily based on former member James Sawyer always seems to make up hare-brained schemes to get what his goal at the time is, whether it be trying to help his brothers, getting a date with Brittany, keeping Dave from figuring something out, or getting out of a sticky situation. However, Alvin seems to refer to his often illogical or crazy plans as "challenging the ordinary". Alvin's signature color is red, and he has blue eyes (although in the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks, he has amber eyes). In the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks and the 2009 sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, he is voiced by Justin Long. On July 30, 2002, Alvin was #44 on TV Guide's list of top 50 best cartoon characters of all time.[9]

Simon Seville

In addition to having an IQ just north of Einstein, Simon possesses a very dry sense of humor as well as a keen wit. Alvin exploits Simon for his crazy schemes because he is smart enough to carry them out. In the end, Simon loves Alvin, although he secretly worries that they share the same gene pool. His signature color is blue (originally yellow in Let's All Sing with The Chipmunks, than red in Sing Again with The Chipmunks and then orange in Around the World with The Chipmunks), and he has blue eyes and black glasses; his glasses had blue frames after the 1983 television series' second season up until the show's final season, and in The Chipmunk Adventure. He also has brown fur in the film. He plays the bass, bass clarinet, saxophone, bagpipes, tuba, and drums, among others. He is shown playing the keyboard in the original open for the 1980s series.[citation needed]. He was also shown playing guitar in a 1980s Hardee's commercial. In the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks and the 2009 sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, he is voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler.

Theodore Seville

Theodore is the chipmunk of innocence. He is shy, loving, sensitive, chubby, gullible, trusting, naive, irresistible, snack-munching, adorable and cute. In short, he is an easy target for Alvin's manipulations. In fact, Theodore often holds the swing vote between his two brothers' choices of action. Simon appeals to Theodore's better nature while Alvin goes straight to bribery. He is constantly craving snacks and in one episode, tried to eat Alvin's hand because of his hunger. Theodore's signature color is green (originally blue in Let's All Sing with The Chipmunks), and also has green eyes. He also has blond/tan fur in the film. He plays the drums, the guitar, and others. He is the baby of the group. He is fragile yet unpredictable. At times, childish and he is the follower of Alvin. The one who is caught between his brother's fights. In the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks and the 2009 sequel, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, he is voiced by Jesse McCartney.

David "Dave" Seville

David Seville, or "Dave" to his friends and the boys, has his patience tested on a daily basis. Not only does he juggle his professional life as the quick-tempered songwriter for the musical trio, but he's also the Chipmunks' adoptive father and confidant. While Dave struggles to remain calm and objective, Alvin often irritates him, resulting in Dave's famous yell, "AALLLVVVIIINN!!!!!!" to which Alvin often replies with a loud "OKAY!!" Dave plays piano and the guitar. He has black hair and brown eyes. In the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks, he is played by Jason Lee, the star of My Name is Earl. In the film, he first discovers the boys eating food in his cabinets and he panics and throws them out. He later changes his mind and welcomes them into his home, and eventually he starts to love them like his own children. However, in the 2009 sequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Dave plays a minor role in the film, mainly due to him being in the hospital in Paris. This happened due to Alvin causing a billboard to crash into him and he is sent flying across the room. His cousin Toby acts as both the main character (as far as the live-action characters) and the Chipmunks' temporary guardian.

Toby Seville

Dave's immature younger cousin appeared in the 2009 film Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. He is the human main protagonist. Toby is a slacker who loves to play video games and eat tacos. Toby is a good guy but his immaturity keeps him from acting like an adult. Although he appears to be cool now, he was humiliated and bullied in high school. He was very awkward, ugly, and shy. But once he grew up, he got handsome but he remains awkward and shy. He is secretly in love with his beautiful former classmate, Julie Ortega, who is currently the Chipmunks' homeroom teacher. He assists Alvin and Simon in rescuing Theodore from being killed and eaten by an eagle. At the end of the film, he sings a song to Julie (basically telling her how he feels about her) and they start dating. He is played by Chuck star Zachary Levi.

Ian Hawke

The main antagonist of the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. He is played by comedian David Cross. He is Dave's friend turned rival, former college roommate, and the CEO of JETT Records. One day, the Chipmunks sneak off to his home to audition, whereupon he automatically signs them on to the label. He rockets them to the top of music business but secretly wants to lure them away from Dave for his own profit. His plan ultimately fails, as the Chipmunks have escaped and managed to trick him, thus leaving him broke and out of a job. He is set to repeat his role as the main antagonist in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. In Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Ian is now poor, jobless and lives in the basement of Jett Records. However, he comes upon The Chipettes, who want to be famous like the Chipmunks, and cannot wait to make them famous, so he adopts them in hopes of getting revenge on the Chipmunks. He enrolls the Chipettes into the same school as the Chipmunks, and after showing Dr. Rubin (Wendie Malick) their talent, she agrees to let them battle the boys for the chance to represent the school for the music contest.

When the girls perform, Ian records it all on his cellphone (with his phone-number included), posts it to YouTube, and soon, he is famous once again and he notices the Chipmunks are losers. The girls are hired to perform as the opening act at a Britney Spears concert at the Staples Center. However, since it's on the same night as the school concert, they decide to blow off the concert. He kidnaps them and threatens to barbecue them at a restaurant if they don't sing, but when Ian leaves to the stadium, he is stopped by Alvin, who saves the Chipettes. He fails and loses them, and after pathetically performing at the stadium and singing the bad reputation of Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), all audiences boo him and the guards get him and throw him out of the auditorium. He ends up being thrown in the dumpster by guards and sent into a garbage dump.

The Chipettes

Miss Miller

First appeared on the 1980s series. The Chipmunks' baby sitter who looks after them when Dave goes to work. She later becomes legal guardian of the Chipmunks' female counterparts, The Chipettes. She was voiced by the late Dody Goodman.

Claire Wilson

Claire is Dave's ex-girlfriend who adores the Chipmunks after she finally gets to meet them. She becomes good friends with Dave again by the end of the movie. She appears in the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. However, she doesn't appear in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. She is played by Cameron Richardson.

Other characters

Professor Clyde Crashcup

Clyde Crashcup – voiced by Shepard Menken – is a scientist in a white coat whose experiments invariably failed. His was the only voice heard in many of the episodes, because the other character in the series was his assistant Leonardo, who only whispered into Clyde's ear. In one episode, though, Clyde invented a wife, voiced by June Foray. Clyde had one of the four segments, and the Chipmunks starred in the other three (two of which were musical segments). In the episode "Crashcup Invents the Birthday Party", Foray provided the (all too audible) voice for the mother of Crashcup's inaudible assistant Leonardo.

Clyde Crashcup was primarily an inventor rather than a researcher, although he tended to "invent" things which had already been invented. However, in one episode, he built a functioning time machine. He typically would invent something by taking a pencil out of his lab coat's pocket and drawing a picture in midair of his conception: the picture would then become the actual object.

Recording technique

The Chipmunks' voices were recorded at half the normal tape speed onto audiotape by voice talent talking or singing. When the tape was played back at normal speed, they would sound a full octave higher in pitch, at normal tempo. The technique was by no means new to the Chipmunks. For example, the high and low pitched characters in The Wizard of Oz were achieved by speeding up and slowing down vocal recordings. Also, Mel Blanc's voice characterization for Daffy Duck was sped up to some extent. Now, the same effect is created digitally and in real time with a pitch shift.

However, the extensive use of this technique with the Chipmunks, coupled with their popularity, linked this technique to them. The term "chipmunk-voiced" has entered the American vernacular to describe any artificially high-pitched voice. A similar effect could be obtained in playback by merely taking an LP recorded at 33 1/3 RPM and playing it back at 45 or 78 RPM, a trick sometimes tried out by ordinary record listeners. The instrumental portions of the song are sped up as well, however, making it obvious that the music is being played at the wrong speed (Bagdasarian recorded vocals and music at different speeds to combine properly on his recording). Also, doing so might damage the record being played.[citation needed]

The technique was frequently imitated in comedy records, notably "The Ying Tong Song" by The Goons, "Transistor Radio" by Benny Hill, "Bridget the Midget" by Ray Stevens, "The Laughing Gnome" by David Bowie, and on several tracks on Joe Meek and the Blue Men's album I Hear a New World. The technique also appears in the instrumental break in Bobby Lewis' 1961 US #1 hit "Tossin' and Turnin'". It was used extensively in the British puppet show Pinky and Perky. Prince has used the technique on several of his songs, as well as Frank Zappa on We're Only In It For The Money and on the instrumental album Hot Rats, among others. In the early 90's rave scene, many breakbeat hardcore productions would utilize the same studio tricks, often taking a cappellas from old soul and house records and speeding them up to fit the faster tempo. Vocals in songs that used this method would typically be referred to as "chipmunk vocals".

Chipmunk Records

In 1991, Bagdasarian Productions acquired the production company offices and holdings from Arden, and reopened the record label Jet Records under the new name Chipmunk Records. There is a reference to the company in the 2007 film Alvin and the Chipmunks, in which the Chipmunk's record label is "Jett Records" (with two T's).

Guest appearance

The Chipmunks make a guest appearance on the Canned Heat song "The Chipmunk Song" (which is not the same song as the 1958 hit) that appeared on their Christmas single.[10]

The Chipmunks also made an appearance in the spoof film Disaster Movie. They sing a Christmas song, then "Devoured by Vermin", a song by the death metal band Cannibal Corpse. During "Devoured by Vermin", instead of their trademark sped-up high pitched voices, they used deeper voices more akin to death metal vocalists.

Their third cameo appearance was on the FOX NFL Sunday Intro Opening (which premiered on December 20,2009) with the cameo character, Digger (the mascot for NASCAR on Fox).

Discography

Concert tours

Awards and nominations

  • 1959, won three Grammy Awards for Best Recording for Children, Best Comedy Performance, and Best Engineered Record – Non-Classical for the song "The Chipmunk Song." (Was also nominated for Record of the Year, but did not win.)
  • 1960, won a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical, for the song "Alvin's Harmonica."
  • 1961, won a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children for the album Let's All Sing with The Chipmunks. (It was also nominated for Best Engineered Record, Non-Classical.) The song "Alvin for President" was also nominated for both Best Comedy Performance – Musical and Best Engineered Record – Novelty, making two nominations in the latter category.
  • 1962, was nominated again for a Grammy Award for Best Engineered Record – Novelty for the television tie-in album The Alvin Show.
  • 1963, was nominated again for Grammy Awards for both Best Album for Children and Best Engineered Record – Novelty for the album The Chipmunk Songbook.
  • 1966, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children for the song "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
  • 1985, was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Animated Program (Daytime)."
  • 1987, the second television series was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the category "Exceptional Family Animation Series or Specials."
  • 1987, was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Animated Program (Daytime)."
  • 1988, was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Animated Program (Daytime)* 1988, was nominated for a Young Artist Award in the category "Best Motion Picture – Animation" for the movie The Chipmunk Adventure.
  • 2000, won the Golden Reel Award in the category "Best Sound Editing – Direct to Video – Sound Editorial" for the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein.
  • 2008, Jason Lee won The Kids' Choice Awards in the category "Favorite Movie" for the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • 2008, Alvin and the Chipmunks soundtrack won the American Music Award for "Best Movie Soundtrack"

There were five Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award, and a Kids Choice Award in total.

List of VHS releases

Following the cult success of the Lorimar Home Video release of the previously unsuccessful movie The Chipmunk Adventure on VHS, select episodes of the show from 1983–1990, as well as several specials from the 80's and 90's, were released on VHS. Initially, in 1989, they were distributed by The Chipmunk Video Library. From 1992–1996, they were distributed by Buena Vista Home Video. From 1998–2000, they were distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The VHS Chipmunk Video Library titles featured select episodes from the Ruby-Spears and Murakami-Wolf-Swenson eras, but no opening and closing credits were included (even though the opening credits were intact on "A Chipmunk Reunion").

Instead, each tape opened with previews from the six primary Chipmunk Library titles, set to the 1988 version of the show's theme song titled "We're the Chipmunks". Also, a synthesized version of the 1983–1987 title card music was used on the Ruby Spears episodes. However, unlike the syndicated versions for most of these episodes that were airing at the time, these episodes were presented in their original speed, just as they were on NBC, before they were sped-up for syndication. The early-mid 90's Chipmunk VHS releases featured select episodes from the DiC era. The Universal Home Video releases consisted of the reissue of The Chipmunk Adventure, and the two direct-to-video films.

  • The Chipmunk Adventure (Released by Lorimar Home Video in 1987, by Warner Home Video in 1993, and by Universal Studios Home Entertainment in 1998)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks in Alvin and The Chipettes (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989)
    • The Greatest Showoffs on Earth
    • Sisters
    • Tell It to the Judge
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks in Chipmunk Classics (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989)
    • Snow Wrong
    • Cinderella? Cinderella!
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks in Chipmunkmania (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989)
    • Chipmunkmania
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks in The Chipmunk Family Tree (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989)
  • Around the World with Alvin and the Chipmunks (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989)
    • Maids in Japan
    • Alvie's Angels
    • The Mystery of Seville Manor
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks in Alvin's Wildest Schemes (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989)
    • Romancing Miss Stone
    • Snow Job
    • A Chip off the Old Tooth
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks in A Chipmunk Christmas (Released by The Chipmunk Video Library in 1989, and by Buena Vista Home Video in 1992)
    • A Chipmunk Christmas
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Rockin' With the Chipmunks: Featuring Michael Jackson (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1992)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: It's a Wonderful Life, Dave (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1993)
    • Dave's Wonderful Life
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin's Christmas Carroll (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1993)
    • Merry Christmas, Mr. Carroll
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Love Potion #9 (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Theodore and Juliet
    • Dr. Simon and Mr. Heartthrob
    • Dear Diary
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks SING-ALONGS: Ragtime Cowboy Joe (11 songs from The Alvin Show, released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks SING-ALONGS: Video Audio Fun-Pack Working on the Railroad (11 songs from The Alvin Show, released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: School's Out for Summer (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Alvin's Summer Job (A.K.A. Going For Broke)
    • Thinking Cap Trap
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Hair Raising Chipmunk Tales (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Babysitter Fright Night
    • Theodore's Life as a Dog
    • Unfair Science
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Nightmare on Seville Street (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Nightmare on Seville Street
    • No Chipmunk is an Island
    • Psychic Alvin
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Back to Alvin's Future (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Back to Our Future
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Kong! (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Kong!
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Batmunk (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Batmunk
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1994)
    • Funny, We Shrunk the Adults
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Easter Chipmunk (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1995)
    • The Easter Chipmunk
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Daytona Jones (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1995)
    • Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Robomunk (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1995)
    • Robomunk
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Trick or Treason (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1995)
    • Trick or Treason
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Celebration (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1995)
    • A Chipmunk Celebration
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Bigger! (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1996)
    • Bigger!
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Star Wreck: Absolutely Final Frontier (Released by Buena Vista Home Video in 1996)
    • Star Wreck: The Absolutely Final Frontier

There were also VHS releases in the UK that included episodes that have yet to be released in the U.S. on DVD, and have never been released in the U.S. on VHS. They consist of "The Phantom", "The Wall", "Queen of the High School Ballroom", "Alvin's Not So Superhero", "Home Sweet Home", "All Worked Up", and "Phantom of the Rock Opera".

There was also a VHS tape released exclusively in Germany that featured seven different segments (albeit in German). On it were "The Wall", "The Amazing Chipmunks", "Psychic Alvin", "A Special Kind of Champion", "Cookie Chomper III", "Nightmare on Seville Street", and "Thinking Cap Trap". Of the seven, "The Amazing Chipmunks", which originally aired along side "The Wall", is extremely hard to find in its original English language. [2]

List of DVDs

In 2005, Bagdasarian Productions struck a deal with Paramount Home Video to distribute their latest direct-to-video release, Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks on DVD. As a result, Paramount continues to distribute select episodes of the show from 1983–1990, as well as several specials from the 80's and 90's on DVD, except for Alvin And The Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein, Alvin And The chipmunks Meet The Wolfman (the Home Video rights to those are still owned by Universal Studios Home Entertainment), and the 2007 film (the Home Video rights to that are owned by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment). The DVD releases include episodes of the 80's Alvin and the Chipmunks animated series that were previously released on VHS, as well as episodes that have been previously unreleased on a home video format.

  • Monster Bash Fun Pack (Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein / Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet The Wolfman / Monster Mash / Archie & the Riverdale Vampires) (Released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment in 2004)
    • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein
    • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet The Wolfman
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Christmas (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2005, and again in 2008)
  • The Chipmunk Adventure (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2006, and again in 2008, 2008 reissue includes bonus CD)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Trick or Treason (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2006, and again in 2008)
    • Trick or Treason
    • Babysitter Fright Night
    • Theodore's Life as a Dog
    • Nightmare on Seville Street
    • No Chipmunk is an Island
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Christmas: 25th Anniversary Edition (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2006)
    • Same as previous release, except with a bonus CD.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Valentine (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2007, and again in 2009)
    • I Love the Chipmunks Valentine Special
    • Dr. Simon and Mr. Heart-throb
    • Dear Diary
    • Theodore and Juliet
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipmunks Go to the Movies (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2007)
    • Star Wreck: The Absolutely Final Frontier
    • Batmunk
    • Funny, We Shrunk the Adults
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007 film) (Released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2008 and Special Edition released in December 2008)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2008)
    • Funny, We Shrunk the Adults
    • Back to Our Future
    • Bigger
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2008)
    • Daytona Jones and the Pearl of Wisdom
    • Batmunk
    • Robomunk
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Alvinnn!!! Edition (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2008)
    • The Curse of the Lontiki
    • Mr. Fabulous
    • Unidentified Flying Chipmunk
    • A Horse of Course
    • New Improved Simon
    • Snow Job
    • Maids in Japan
    • Every Chipmunk Tells a Story
    • Romancing Miss Stone
    • Three Alarm Alvin
    • Alvin's Oldest Fan
    • A Chip Off the Old Tooth
    • Whatever Happened to Dave Seville?
    • Cadet's Regrets
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2008)
    • A Chipmunk Celebration
    • Food for Thought
    • Cookie Chomper III
    • Dave's Getting Married
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Classic Holiday Gift Set (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2008)
    • Includes all the episodes from the DVDs "Trick or Treason", "Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration", and "A Chipmunk Christmas"
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2009)
    • May the Best Chipmunk Win
    • Operation: Theodore
    • Sisters
    • The Greatest Show-Offs on Earth
    • My Fair Chipette
    • Tell It to the Judge
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Mystery of the Easter Chipmunk (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2009)
    • The Easter Chipmunk
    • Snow Wrong
    • Luck O' The Chipmunks
    • Special Kind of Champ
    • Thinking Cap Trap
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Star Wreck (Released by Paramount Home Video in 2009)
    • Star Wreck: The Absolutely Final Frontier
    • Elementary, My Dear Simon
    • Chip Tracy
  • Alvin And The Chipmunks: Alvin And The Chipettes In Cinderella, Cinderella (Coming from Paramount Home Video on March 30th, 2010)
    • Cinderella? Cinderella!
    • Alvie's Angels
    • The Brunch Club
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel: Blu ray and DVD combo pack, Standard DVD, Double Disc DVD, and standard Blu-Ray disc to be released on March 30th (by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment).

Imitations

A Finnish version of The Chipmunks was created by Sauvo Puhtila, a prominent Finnnish songwriter, in 1959. In Finland they were known as "Saukki ja Oravat", Saukki and the Squirrels. Chipmunks are not a part of the Finnish nature, but red squirrels are common and therefore more familiar to Finnish children. The squirrel voices were sung by Eino Virtanen and then sped up to create the sound.

Saukki ja Oravat recorded many songs between 1959 and 1978, including a version of The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) and some other well-known Christmas songs with Finnish lyrics by Saukki. Also original songs were written for them, such as "Jöröjukkarock" (Struwwelpeter rock). In more recent years, EMI records in Finland has revived the idea as Pikku Orava (little squirrel), releasing albums of pop and rock hits recorded in the chipmunk style.

References

External links


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