Alvin And The Chipmunks (NBC, 1983-1990)
This is a review of another memorable cartoon that is of American origin. Until recently, I didn’t realise that the characters of The Chipmunks had been around for much longer than when this show launched in the 80s. They were created in the 50s by Ross Bagdasarian who made some novelty records under the alias David Seville where he used a high-pitched voice effect that were rather big hits.
After a while, it was determined that the voices on the records were provided by Chipmunks, and by the early-60s they had become popular enough to appear in their own TV cartoon series The Alvin Show as well as various adverts, along with some more records, but there was a long gap until the version of their show that I remember watching came along.
Alvin And The Chipmunks (not to be confused with Disney’s similar Chip ‘N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers that I plan to review soon) was a cartoon that was based around the adventures of a trio of chipmunk characters. They were the hat-wearing Alvin, Simon (bid again, Simon!), and Theodore. David was their adoptive father (I suppose it would be rather weird if he was their actual father), and he was also a songwriter.
This meant that just about every episode featured a musical interlude where the Chipmunks would sing a classic pop single in their now familiar vocal style. They would also get into lots of mishaps that would frustrate David. After a few series, a trio of female Chipmunks were introduced to the show who were Brittany, Eleanor, and Jeanette, and they also sang. The later series had a change of format, and the Chipmunks would feature in film parodies.
I remember that in at least one episode the Chipmunks interacted with their original black-and-white 60s selves, I thought that it was just a quirky idea, I didn’t realise that they had actually been going for that long. And oh listen, is that all of those silly cartoon sound effects being overused again? I also enjoyed the opening and closing sequences that changed a few times throughout the series, including one where episodes would end with Alvin rather enthusiastically playing the guitar.
It seems that Alvin And The Chipmunks was first shown in this country on CBBC in 1990, and it was repeated for about a decade. I also remember that the show was repeated in the early days of Channel 5 in 1997 as part of their morning children’s shows strand, as I set the video for some episodes, and it has gone on to be shown on many other channels including Cartoon Network. Some episodes were also released on VHS.
When the TV series ended after 102 episodes, there were some films made that were a big success. Then in 2015, after another long gap, our favourites returned to the screen again for a new series (the rather oddly-titled ALVIN!!! And The Chipmunks), featuring all the familiar characters, but this time they are all computer-generated and don’t sing so much, hopefully a new generations of fans are fond of them.