10 Zen Monkeys has a pretty interesting article posted about squirrels, jazz music and Alvin & the Chipmunks. Apparently there's been an Alvin movie in development for a couple of years, spearheaded by Simpsons writer John Vitti.

Although the movie seems to be swirling on the edge of the whirlpool that is "development hell," the article covers some interesting facts. Did you know that the original creator of the Chipmunks, Ross Bagdasarian Sr., first came to fame by recording the song Witch Doctor in 1958? It's no surprise that the witch doctor in the song ("ting tang, walla walla big bang") sounded like Alvin. Bagdasarian would record on a reel-to-reel machine running at half-speed. When the tape was played normally, voila, Chipmunks! The success of Witch Doctor let Bagdasarian play around with the concept, and later in November of 1958, he released The Chipmunk Song. It went on to sell an astounding four and a half million records in seven weeks. From that one song was born the whole concept of Alvin, Simon and Theodore. It gave birth to a television series, tons of merchandise and made an overnight star out of the squeaky-voiced star.

Bagdasarian Sr. died abruptly in 1972, and his son, Ross Jr. and wife Janice, picked up the torch and brought a new Chipmunks series to television in 1983. They have since produced numerous albums and worked on numerous direct-to-video Chipmunk movies including: The Chipmunk Adventure, and Alvin & the mini-Munks. According to the Chipmunks.com site, Alvin & the mini-Munks is a blend of puppetry and CGI that is a work in progress, but it is unclear if this is the same film that Vitti is developing. We're guessing it's not. Hopefully something will happen to bring this project together. It has such an incredible backstory, and Alvin & the Chipmunks are great characters for a family-friendly franchise that needs to be reintroduced to a whole new generation of kids.


PS - as an added bonus, check out this both creepy and fascinating sound file which plays the Chipmunks at normal speed, and then half speed. You'll hear how Ross Sr. had to speak/sing when recording the Chipmunk lines.
categories Cinematical