Alvin and the Chipmunks
(Read all about The Chipmunks after the video)
Groundhog Day Special
(Get Down With 'The Chipmunks' & Turn Up The Volume!)
('The Chipmunks' with 'The Chippettes'
Will Have You Up & Dancing)
Alvin and the Chipmunks, originally David Seville and the Chipmunks or simply The Chipmunks, is an American animated music group created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., for a novelty record 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 adoptive father, David (Dave) Seville. In reality, "David Seville" was Bagdasarian's stage name, and the Chipmunks themselves are named after the executives of their original record label. The characters became a 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 high-pitched voices. This oft-used process was not entirely new to Bagdasarian, who had also used it for two previous novelty songs, including "Witch Doctor", but it was so unusual and well-executed it earned the record two Grammy Awards for engineering. Bagdasarian, performing as the Chipmunks, released a long line of albums and singles, with "The Chipmunk Song" becoming a number-one single in the United States. After the death of Bagdasarian in 1972, the characters' voices were performed by his son Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and the latter's wife Janice Karman in the subsequent incarnations of the 1980s and 1990s.
In the 2007 CGI/live-action film adaptation and its 2009 sequel, they were voiced in dialogue by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney. Bagdasarian, Jr. and Karman continue to perform the singing voices for Alvin, Theodore and the Chipettes, but Steve Vining does Simon's singing voice. The project has earned five Grammy awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Reel Award, and three Kids' Choice Awards, and has been nominated for three Emmy awards.
A third film installment, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, was released in theaters on December 16, 2011. Fox 2000 Pictures and Regency Enterprises announced a fourth installment, titled Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, released on December 18, 2015.
A CGI-animated TV series revival, titled ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks, premiered on Nickelodeon on August 3, 2015.
Main article: Witch Doctor (song)
In 1958, Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. released a novelty song (as David Seville) about being unsuccessful at love until he found a witch doctor who told him how to woo his woman. The song was done by Bagdasarian in his normal voice, except for the "magic" words, 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 themselves are nonsense: "Oo-ee, oo-ah-ah, ting-tang, walla-walla, bing-bang".
The song was a hit, holding number one for three weeks in the Billboard Top 100 chart. 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. Bagdasarian performed the song "live" (with a pre-recorded track of the pitched-up voice) on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Bagdasarian (again as Seville) recorded a follow-up song, "The Bird on My Head", singing a duet with his own sped-up voice as the bird. It also reached the Top 40, peaking at No. 34.
The technique was imitated by Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater" and The Big Bopper's "The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor."
The Chipmunk Song
Main article: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)
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 three 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.
Bob Rivers did a parody of this song for his 2000 Christmas album Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire which was titled "The Twisted Chipmunk Song". In the song, the Chipmunks are referred to as Thagadore (Theodore), Squeaky (Simon), and Melvin (Alvin).
The Three Chipmunks (1959)
The Chipmunks first appeared in comic book form on Dell's Four Color Comics series, issue #1042 (cover-dated Dec. 1959). Alvin, Theodore and Simon were depicted as somewhat realistic, nearly identical anthropomorphic rodents with almond-shaped eyes. When Herb Klynn's Format Films made a deal to develop the Three Chipmunks for animation, the old designs were rejected and new versions of the characters were created. Liberty Records eventually re-issued the early albums with the "new" Chipmunks and it was this new version of the Chipmunks that was used when Alvin's own title was released by Dell in 1962.
The Alvin Show (1961–62)
Main article: The Alvin Show
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.
New albums and A Chipmunk Christmas (1969–82)
The final Chipmunks album in the project's 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. That 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. Next year, two more albums were released (Chipmunk Rock and The Chipmunks Go Hollywood).
Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983–90)
Main article: Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983 TV series)
The group's name changed from the "Chipmunks" to "Alvin and the Chipmunks". In 1983, a 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. 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 for Brittany being vainer than Alvin, with Jeanette smart like Simon, and Eleanor fond of food like Theodore, with their own human guardian, the myopic Miss Beatrice Miller (who arrived for the 1986 season). The success of the show led to the release of a soundtrack album in 1984, Songs from Our TV Shows.
The Chipmunks even walked 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 contemporaneous trends popular 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 films from Universal
The origin of the Chipmunks was totally rebooted in 2007 feature movie. They are living in a tree, fending for themselves as their parents had taken off to join a hippie commune, and having problems gathering nuts for the winter. Their tree is cut down and carted off to grace the entrance lobby of a major city office building, with them in it. They then hitch a ride in Dave's luggage and wind up in his home, where they wreak havoc & uproar in his kitchen and getting thrown out. Despite repeatedly testing Dave's putting up with them, they finally win his heart.
Alvin is the lead vocalist and the oldest brother of Alvin and the Chipmunks. He wears a red baseball cap and a sweater sporting a yellow "A". His eyes are blue (amber in the live action/animated films) and his build thin. In personality, Alvin is enthusiastic, humorous, wacky, slightly hot-tempered, and proud. The term look before you leap does not usually apply to Alvin, as he is impulsive, but charming and musically talented. He often make up harebrained schemes to achieve his goals, whether it be trying to help his brothers, keeping Dave from figuring something out, or getting out of a sticky situation. Alvin seems to refer to his often illogical or crazy plans as "challenging the ordinary". He is proud of his fame and can be self-centered, but Alvin does have a kind heart and cares for his brothers, often proving that his heart is stronger than his voice, and he's not ashamed to admit when he's wrong.
He is mostly shown to be infatuated with Brittany, although they often quarrel with each other, but they look out for each other when things look bad. He sometimes struggles with her to prove who is the better, such as when he and Brittany each ran for class president at their school in the animated series, but he is kind to her and is implied to have a crush on her.
Like his brothers, he was originally voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. In the animated series and film, he was voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. Justin Long voiced Alvin in the live-action/animated film series. On July 30, 2002, Alvin was No. 44 on TV Guide's list of "Top 50 Best Cartoon Characters of All Time".
In addition to having an IQ just north of Einstein, Simon possesses a dry sense of humor as well as keen wit. He often takes charge when Alvin goes too far with his harebrained schemes. Simon loves his brother Alvin despite his sometimes-irritable personality, although he secretly worries that they share the same gene pool (possibly because he fears that he shares Alvin's mischievous streak). He wears glasses and blue attire, and has blue eyes. Simon plays the bass, bass clarinet, saxophone, bagpipes, tuba, and drums, among others. In vocal harmonies, he consistently sings the lower parts due to having a deeper voice than his brothers. He is shown playing the keyboard in the original open for the 1980s series. He was also shown playing guitar in a 1980s Hardee's commercial.
Simon is often implied to have a crush on Jeanette, as she is like him in many details; wearing glasses and blue attire and having a high IQ, possibly rivalling his own. However, he seems braver in standing up to siblings than her because Jeanette doesn't often stand up for herself when Brittany pushes her around, but like Simon to Alvin, Jeanette shares a sisterly bond with Brittany.
Like his brothers, he was originally voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. In the animated series and film, he was voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. Matthew Gray Gubler voiced Simon in the live-action/animated film series.
Theodore is the child of innocence and the youngest of the Chipmunks. He is shy, loving, sensitive, chubby, gullible, trusting, and naïve. In short, he is an easy target for Alvin's manipulations. He wears green attire and has green eyes (brown in the CGI animated series). 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 has a big appetite, constantly craving snacks and in one episode, Theodore tried to eat Alvin's hand because of his hunger.
He plays the drums, the guitar, and other instruments. In vocal harmonies, his voice is typically the highest. He is fragile yet unpredictable and not very brave, but he will put on a brave face when his brothers are in trouble. At times, he is childish and Alvin's follower, but he is also the glue that binds his brothers despite Alvin and Simon's differences and regular disagreements.
He seems to have affection for Eleanor, who shares physical traits with him, but she is smarter, braver and more athletic. They each have a passion for cooking, as Theodore is seen baking Christmas cookies in some Christmas episodes. In the live action/animated films, it is revealed that Theodore is sensitive about his weight and is often hurt when he is criticized for his chubby physique. This also applies to Eleanor, but they care more for others than themselves.
Like his brothers, he was originally voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. In the animated series and film, his voice was provided by Janice Karman, Ross Bagdasarian Jr.'s wife and the voice of all three Chipettes. Jesse McCartney voiced Theodore in the live-action/animated film series.
(Read about The Chipettes After the video)
Brittany Miller is the lead singer and leader of the The Chipettes and is the female counterpart of Alvin, She is the older sister of Jeanette and Eleanor. Brittany was the first one born of the three Chipette triplets in Australia, Brittany pushes Jeanette around a lot and takes advantage of her kindness, but deep down they love each other very much and are very loyal to each other. Eleanor always stands up to Brittany when she tries to push Jeanette around, and is generally the only person that tries to stand up to Brittany. The two of them do share a very nice sisterly relationship.
Jeanette is the middle sister and smartest of the Chipettes, as well as the tallest. Like Simon, she wears glasses. She has brown hair in a bun in the '80s show and a short ponytail in the recent films. Her eyes are green in her TV appearances and The Chipmunk Adventure but were changed to purple in the live-action/CGI films. She cares about Simon and gets along with him very well.
Eleanor is the youngest sister of the Chipettes. She has a lot in common with Theodore in terms of body shape and color of attire, but she is braver, more fit and has a better memory. She is blonde with pigtails and has brown eyes in the 80`s show, which changed to green in the more recent appearances.
Further information: David Seville
David "Dave" Seville is a quick-tempered yet kind and somewhat insecure songwriter for the musical trio and Chipmunks' adoptive father and confidant. While Dave struggles to remain calm and objective, Alvin often irritates him, causing Dave to yell "Alvin!", to which Alvin (sometimes) responds with "Okay!" Dave plays piano and the guitar. He has short black hair and brown eyes. In the original incarnations of the group (including the original recordings and The Alvin Show) he is portrayed by Alvin and the Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. In the 1983–1990 revival of the show, he is portrayed by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., the son of the original creator. For the series of films produced from 2007 to 2015, he is portrayed by Jason Lee.
In the 1983–1990 animated series, it is revealed that Dave first found the Chipmunks as infants abandoned on the doorstep of his old cottage. At first, he grows to like them but had trouble keeping them from misbehaving as he had important songs to write or else he'd lose his job. On top of that, Dave's landlord is a nasty man who even tries to kill the Chipmunks. However, Dave eventually hears their amazing singing voices and records them, making their song a hit and with the money they earn they manage to move into a large house, which Dave owns and live happily together as one big family. The mother of the Chipmunks has made a few guest appearances, to see how her children are doing, and Dave had to acquaint her with urban ways.
In the 2007 film,the visuals and history established in the animated show, are totally rebooted. Dave first discovers the boys eating food in his cabinets and he panics and throws them out. He later changes his mind and allows them into his home upon them showing their singing talent. However, the Chipmunks find an old letter and mistakenly think Dave doesn't want them anymore so they go to live with Ian Hawke, their conniving music producer; he begins to miss the boys and frees them from Ian. He welcomes the Chipmunks 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 his being in the hospital in Paris. This happened due to Alvin accidentally causing a billboard to crash into him and he is sent flying across the room and is severely injured, so he is placed in intensive care. He is rarely seen in the film. His cousin Toby acts as both a main character and the Chipmunks' temporary guardian. Dave appears at the end of the film watching his boys and the Chipettes perform together who Dave allows to live with him and the Chipmunks.
Dave appears for a third time in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, where he, the Chipmunks and Chipettes board a cruise ship heading to the International Music Awards. He gets mad at Alvin, Simon and the Chipettes for leaving their cabin room for their own reasons. Later, he teams up with his old enemy, Ian, to find the Chipmunks and Chipettes when the six get blown away while hang-gliding a kite. He finds them and leaves the island with them before its volcano erupts. He later watches his family perform at the International Music Awards; he is last seen on an airplane with them heading for home.
In the fourth film, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Dave has now own a music record company, and moved to a new home with the Chipmunks and Chipettes. Upset from Alvin throwing a surprise birthday bash, under his dismay. Deciding to take his lover, Samantha, to Florida for one of his client's album release party, instead of taking the Chipmunks. Both Samantha and Dave leave, having Samantha's son, Miles, to stay with the Chipmunks, being that the Chipettes have gone to judge in American Idol. Dave, for most of the movie, is at Florida, having dinners with Samantha. Also being suspected to propose to her, Dave is trying to be sabotaged by Miles and the Chipmunks. He also gets upset, as the Chipmunks presumed, ruining his coworkers proposal, and for causing much trouble on their trip to stop him. Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and Miles perform for Dave as an apology, during his client's album release, also mending the ruined proposal of Dave's coworker. Back to Los Angeles, Dave adopts the boys, and is last seen yelling Alvin's name after he founds his home wrecked.