web analytics
Dec 092015
 

The trio of singing chipmunks has been around for a long time. After a long absence, they have made a huge comeback with a live action movie and its many sequels. I think there’s another one coming soon.

But let’s look back on the versions that I remember growing up on, starting with The Alvin Show (1961-1962). This was a variety series that featured the songs and misadventures of Alvin the self-centered schemer, Simon the science whiz, and Theodore the sweet food enthusiast.

Then of course we have David Seville the songwriter, who is the Chipmunks’ adoptive father and manager. Dave cares for them, but tends to lose his temper, especially when Alvin acts up.

You can really tell that the animation is a similar style to what you would see on The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends or The 3 Stooges animated series. More importantly I’d like to point out that if you listen closely, the pacing of the Chipmunks’ speaking voices sound a bit delayed compared to the other characters. I believe that it has to do with the Chipmunks’ voices being sped up to sound higher pitched, so the voice actor(s) had to talk slowly to make it sound normal when the dialogue was sped up.

Another common segment on The Alvin Show is about Clyde Crashcup the scientist/inventor. Clyde demonstrates his inventions, which are really items that were already invented, but provides his own personal touches. However, many of these inventions backfire and tend to blow up in his face, literally if not metaphorically.

Clyde’s lab assistant Leonardo is silent but levelheaded. He only communicates by whispering in Clyde’s ear. I never understood why Leonardo never spoke.

Long after that series came Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990), where many of the Chipmunks’ misadventures were about Alvin’s scheming which always gets him and his brothers into trouble. It seems that Alvin will do anything to stay famous, or get out of schoolwork.

These are some collective figurines from this version of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Chipettes

Shortly into this series the Chipettes were introduced into the franchise. They are basically female counterparts of the Chipmunks. First is Brittany who is much like Alvin in the ways of self-centeredness. Second is Janet who is like Simon only clumsier. Then there’s Eleanor who is like Theodore when it comes to food and her sweet nature.

The Chipmunks never seem to grow old. All that really changes is their music style. In the later seasons, Alvin’s schemes become even more intense, which made the series unwatchable in my opinion. However, there was an exception with Chipmunks go to the Movies, which featured the Chipmunks and Chipettes in a series of features based on popular movies.

Those were the Chipmunks shows of the past that still remain classic. Though I should point out that Clyde Crashcup was hardly ever featured again after The Alvin Show. I wonder if he’ll ever make a comeback someday.

Sep 232011
 

There were many great cartoon characters from the 80s, but it wasn’t until the half-hour special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue premiered in 1990 to bring them all together in the ultimate drug intervention.

Meet Michael, a teenager who secretly uses marijuana. His younger sister Cory is worried because he’s acting weirdly, since they used to be so close.

One morning, Michael snatches Cory’s piggy bank and her tie-in toys come to life to help her find it. The characters include the Smurfs, Alf (animated version), Garfield, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Winnie the Pooh, Baby Kermit from Muppet Babies, and Slimer. It was so thrilling to see these icons together for the first time ever, but this is only the beginning.

Although Michael has friends he smokes with, he feels uneasy when offered stronger drugs like crack. Then there’s this Smoke Demon that accompanies Michael and tempts him by saying how drugs make you feel good. I don’t know where that creature came from, but he sure appears to be dangerous.

Soon Bugs Bunny finds Michael and takes him back in time to refresh his memory on how he got started on the drugs. It’s revealed that two years earlier, Michael gave into peer pressure and he still does.

After getting back, Michael and the Smoke Demon fall into a manhole and find Michaelangelo of the ninja turtles. Surprisingly, he’s much taller on this show. Then Michael and the Smoke Demon find themselves on a roller coaster ride, where Muppet Babies Kermit, Piggy, and Gonzo show how messed up Michael’s brain is. If that didn’t scare him straight, what will?

Michael wakes up in the park and finds all of the cartoon characters, which now also include Tigger and Huey, Dewey, and Louie from Ducktales, and they all sing about saying no. I know that some of these characters are known for breaking into song, but I found it a little strange when the characters who normally don’t sing actually join in.

It’s not over yet. Next, Alf takes Michael to a house of mirrors to really show him what drugs can do as a result and that the Smoke Demon is an enemy. Meanwhile, Cory finds Michael’s secret stash of marijuana and the Smoke Demon tries to tempt her into trying it.

Michael leaves the house of mirrors and tries to escape the creepy amusement park with his life. The search ends with Daffy Duck showing Michael his dark future if he was to stay on the drugs. That helped Michael see the light and get back home just in time to save Cory from the Smoke Demon’s temptation.

There were so many commercials about saying no to drugs, but this special actually provides a real example of how drugs are bad for you. That’s what makes Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue a real classic. The Smoke Demon was defeated, but vowed revenge. Do you suppose he’s now out tempting other kids to do drugs?

Dec 242010
 

It’s Christmas Eve and these classic pop culture characters in this YouTube video I found, which was created by Scooby Doo Ninja Battles, are getting ready for the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone!