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Alvin and the Chipmunks


Alvin & The Chipmunks

Alvin & The ChipmunksIt all started in 1958
Alvin and the Chipmunks are three lovable little singing chipmunks who perform in a band. They first began as puppets on the Ed Sullivan Show and grew into the animated chipmunks we know and love today. It all started with Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. and his 1958 novelty recordings. He simply (but creatively) sped up his vocal tracks to create "singing chipmunks". The songs were incredibly popular, and spawned the number one single, "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)". The 45 RPM record covers featured cartoon Chipmunks that "grew up" into our modern Chipmunk friends.

Technically speaking, the first Chipmunks song wasn't actually a Chipmunks song - it was just Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. using his neato "sped up" voices in his song, "The Witch Doctor". But the chirpy cute voices sparked an idea in Bagdasarian Sr.'s head, and the Chipmunks were formed from the seed that was "Witch Doctor". Ross Bagdasarian Sr. died in 1972 and his son Ross Bagdasarian Jr. now does all of the vocals - save those of the recent 2007 3D movie. Speaking of which, it is rumored that the 2007 movie actually features Ross Bagdasarian Jr. on the actual vocal tracks instead of promoted actors Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney - whether or not this is true is another question, it certainly is hard to tell!

Meet The Chipmunks
Alvin and The Chipmunks are set-up like any real band - since Alvin headlines the band, he's the lead singer. Alvin is headstrong, boisterous, troublesome, impulsive and fun-loving. Simon is the tall one, wears bi-focal eyeglasses and is rather bookish and reflective. Theodore is small and chubby, sometimes lazy, and represents the good-natured "heart" of the group. David Seville manages the band and acts as the Chipmunks father.

... And The Chipettes
The Chipmunks have female counterparts, called the Chipettes, who first appeared on NBC in 1983. There are three Chipettes who form their own musical group: Brittany (confident and somewhat vain), Jeanette (tall, intelligent, eyeglass wearing) and Eleanor (big-boned, determined and athletic). Miss Beatrice Miller babysits and eventually adopts the Chipettes, who now share her Miller surname. Ross Bagdasarian Sr.'s wife Janice Karman provides the voices of the Chipettes. For the Christmas 2009 Chipmunks movie, Anna Faris, Christina Applegate and Amy Poehler will provide the voices of the Chipettes.

Alvin & The ChipmunksEvolution of Chipmunk Music, Cartoons and Movies
1958's The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) was just the beginning of The Chipmunks career. Twenty six color episodes / fifty-two musical vignettes were created for television broadcast, and new records were being made. Things stalled for a bit after Bagdasarian Sr. died in 1972. However, in 1979, NBC began showing re-runs of the Chipmunks show - and they performed very well. New music was recorded, and in 1981 a new television special was created for NBC, called A Chipmunk Christmas. After that, the Chipmunks were on a roll - from 1983 to 1990 they were broadcast on television, and eventually direct-to-video features were released in 1999 and 2000. Finally, in 2007 the Chipmunks had a high profile re-release and makeover. A 3D movie was created and promoted with lots of new toys, music and merchandise. The movie performed phenomenally well, taking in a staggering $360 million and becoming one of the most popular movies at the box office for weeks on end. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel is set for release in 2009.

Chipmunk Trivia
Trivia #1: David Seville was Ross Bagdasarian Sr.'s stage name when performing. Alvin, Simon and Theodore are named after executives at the Chipmunks first record label, Liberty Records: Alvin Bennett, President; Simon Waronker, Company Funder and Owner; and Theodore Keep, Chief Engineer.

Trivia #2: The Chipmunks were recently immortalized as the smallest and first ever animated wax figures at Madame Tussauds.

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