For much more than 60 years, the dulcet, high-speed tones the Alvin, Simon, and also Theodore Seville have resonated v generations of fans. Alvin and also the Chipmunks have made records, starred in countless animated series and films, and also even have actually their own star top top the Hollywood to walk of Fame. For much more on the history of this talented rodent trio, take it a watch at part facts on everything from your earliest recordings to the punk album that won castle a whole new audience.

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1. The chipmunks owe a debt to The sorcerer’s of Oz.

In the so late 1950s, actor and musician Ross Bagdasarian was under to his critical $200. Sustaining a family members of five, he determined to buy a tape recorder because that $190 and record a track he felt would be in track with the fast and also sometimes indecipherable lyrics of modern music. “The Witch Doctor” featured Bagdasarian muttering gibberish that he sped up, ostensibly native a master of dark magic. The idea came in component from the unexplained voices created by reel-to-reel ice recorders for the Munchkins in 1939’s The wizard of Oz. To catch the distinctive pitch, Bagdasarian taped at half-speed, delivering the lyrics slowly. Played at normal speed, that sounds prefer he had actually been on helium.

The playful track was a fight in 1958, reaching number one on the charts. Bagdasarian credited himself as Dave Seville, taking the advice of executives who believed his actual name would certainly be difficult to pronounce. He likewise ditched the witch doctor gimmick, yet kept the high-speed squeak and also attributed the to 3 chipmunks: Alvin, Simon, and Theodore, i beg your pardon he named after executives Alvin Bennett, Simon Waronker, and Theodore keep at his document company, Liberty Records. Performing every of the duties as the Chipmunks, Bagdasarian scored a holiday smash with “The Chipmunk tune (Christmas nothing Be Late)” later on that year. The single earned 3 Grammys and sold a staggering 25 million documents over the next couple of years. Chipmunkmania had actually officially begun.

2. They performed ~ above The Ed Sullivan Show.

The earliest live-action incarnation of the Chipmunks come in 1959, once Bagdasarian appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show together a trio of chipmunk hand puppets. Some of the footage still exists and can be regarded in the video clip above.

3. Their an initial cartoon to be short-lived.

Following the success the the albums, Bagdasarian embraced an market for one animated collection from CBS. Debuting in September 1961, The Alvin Show concentrated on the group’s domestic adventures and also musical sessions and had a supporting cast that included manager (and Bagdasarian"s change ego) Dave Seville and also non-human friends favor Stanley the Eagle. The music numbers are taken into consideration by some to be an early example that music videos, v melodies set to footage. Unfortunately, The Alvin Show fail to uncover an audience in primetime, airing opposite the famous Western collection Wagon Train. It lasted just one season before being relegated to reruns on Saturday mornings.

4. “Dave” had actually to pack a pistol throughout recording sessions.


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Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

Bagdasarian was soon in the Chipmunk organization full-time, recording a string of albums, sometimes with supporting vocalists. One of them, Ron Hicklin, called The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that the team to be recording in Hollywood as soon as the watt riots in between police and residents damaged out in 1965. Fearing some type of violent encounter, Hicklin said Bagdasarian carried a pistol while walking indigenous the studio come his car. “I mental laughing later how below we were inside recording Chipmunks and then going external with Ross, who packing a pistol,” the said.

5. The Beatles were huge fans.

In 1964, Bagdasarian exit The squirrel Sing the Beatles Hits, an album-length compilation the covers native the Liverpool band. While it might have been permissible to execute them together parody without permission, Bagdasarian had actually the group’s blessing. They to be reportedly huge fans the the Chipmunks and of the technological challenges connected in developing their distinctive warble. “They were simply amazed he was able to execute the voices that Alvin and also Dave and Simon and Theodore and then the music, and keep bouncing tracks back and forth," Ross Bagdasarian Jr. Told Variety previously this year. "The engineering feat of the was what impression the Beatles so lot that they provided him the authorization to execute The squirrel Sing the Beatles Hits."

6. Chipmunk Punk provided the group brand-new life.


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Christopher Polk, Getty pictures for Fox

Bagdasarian to be a male of numerous interests. After ~ Alvin and also the chipmunks had provided him a measure of financial security, he concentrated less top top the documents and an ext on his winery, Sierra alcohol Corporation. ~ Bagdasarian died in 1972, his three youngsters inherited both the winemaking operation and also the Chipmunks. ~ spending most of the 1970s maintaining the group on ice, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. Made decision to view if the general public was tho charmed by their singing.

He had actually trouble recognize a deal till a key jockey played a high-speed variation of Blondie’s “Call Me” and also said it was a brand-new Chipmunk track. As soon as that took off, Bagdasarian Jr. Placed together Chipmunk Punk, a repertoire of modern tunes choose the Knack’s “My Sharona.” That resulted in a brand-new Saturday morning series, Alvin and also the Chipmunks, which ran indigenous 1983 come 1990. Bagdasarian Jr. Took end the vocal duties for Alvin, Simon, and Dave. His wife, zenit Karman, carry out Theodore and the all-female Chipettes.

7. The cartoon guess the loss of the Berlin Wall.

In one 1988 episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks, the gang appeared in a dream sequence in which they discover themselves close to the Berlin wall surface and using the strength of music come tear it under to help reunite a family. Strange as it can have been to watch a cartoon tackle communism, that was even stranger to see exactly how it guess the loss of the really Berlin wall just two years later on in 1991.

8. Robert Zemeckis nearly directed an Alvin and also the chipmunks movie.

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Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

The Chipmunks have actually traditionally been illustrated in animation, despite they did show up in puppet type in the 2003 direct-to-DVD special tiny Alvin and also the Mini-Munks, one educational release that featured the team as preschoolers. But their very first live-action illustration was an alleged to be in the mid-1990s, with Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis planning a feature film. When that failed to materialize, the chipmunks bided their time till a 2007 CGI feature, Alvin and also the Chipmunks, was released. Three sequels followed, including 2009’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, 2011’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and also 2015’s Alvin and also the Chipmunks: The roadway Chip.