Cartoon Corner: Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983)

Show Name: Alvin and the Chipmunks

Written: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.

Director: Ross Bagdasarian

Number of Seasons: 8

Number of Episodes: 102

Air Dates: September 17, 1983 to December 1, 1990

 

Introduction

 

This was a TV show that I remember watching but not following very closely. If it happened to be on TV then I would watch. The one thing that always stuck with me was the theme song. Just doing the research for the original theme, made it stay in my mind for a week. Let us see if this show still holds up to animated series standards. 

 

Brief History and Background

 

When I was a kid I thought that this was just another animated series. Of course when you are 6 to 10 years old, you do not think about where these shows come from. We just cared if it was entertaining or not. 

 

Alvin and the Chipmunks actually started way back in 1958. They were first named David Seville and the Chipmunks and then simply known as Chipmunks. It was apparently initially created to create a novelty record. 

 

The creator of the group was Ross Bagdasarian. He also voiced all of the actors back then (Alvin Seville, Simon Seville and Theodore Seville). Mr. Ross Bagdasarian died in 1972. However, his legacy lived on with his son Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his wife Janice Karman. They would go on and voice these characters until this day. 

 

The albums were popular and some of the songs even reached number 1 in the US. This included songs such as Witch Doctor and The Chipmunk Song.

 

The Chipmunk Song (1958)

 

 

In 1961 and 1962, there was a brief animated series on NBC called The Alvin Show. I have never seen this show personally. 

 

The Alvin Show (1961)

 

 

Due to their popularity in the 1980's, there was a full featured movie that came out on May 22, 1987. I would not say that the movie was a huge success with a Box Office total of $6.8 million. 

 

Story

 

The main premise of the TV show is very simple. There are 3 chipmunks. You have Alvin, who is the front man of the trio and always seems to get into trouble. You have Simon, who is the tall intellectual of the group. He always seems to think about the logical steps when trying to get Alvin out of trouble. Then you have Theodore, the chubby fun loving, gullible and naive third member.

 

They are managed by their adoptive father David Seville. David is also guardian of the Chippettes. The Chippettes were essentially the female version of the Chipmunks. They were adopted by Miss Beatrice Miller. 

 

The show is essentially getting Alvin out of trouble with his various schemes. However, like any show of the time, there is always something to be learned in every episode. 

 

Why Do I Line This Show

 

1) The Theme

 

The theme is catchy as hell and will stay stuck in your head, I guarantee it. Don't believe me, here it is.

 

Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983 Theme)

 

The song was written and performed by Ross Bagdasarian Jr and his wife Janice Karman. 

 

2) Kids getting out of trouble

 

This premise is not new. Around the same period there was a cartoon called Denis the Menace. There is something appealing when you are a kid about watching characters that are worse than you and get caught. 

 

Who can forget when David yells at Alvin with his signature, "ALVIN!!!". 

 

David Seville "ALVIN!"

 

 

3) Characters

 

As a kid, everyone had a favourite. For most it was Alvin. My personal favourite was Theodore. The gentle soul with a heart of gold. Every time that something happens to him, you always feel for him. With Alvin, you normally felt like he caused his own fate. With Theodore, it always felt like he was dragged in something that he did not want to get caught in. 

 

Bottomline

 

I have watched a few episodes recently and I think that this show still holds up. There is just that something that makes you want to watch the whole episode. It was more than just the voices. The show was well written and the show had a good flow to it. 

 

I think that something that goes a long way is that these cartoons were hand drawn and were not CGI. CGI has many good uses but I think you lose that little something. I found the movies that came out were not horrible but I just could not really care for them. I watched them once and I am good. I did not even bother with the sequels. I find myself saying a lot of that with recent cartoon reboots. When looking at this cartoon, you get that 80's vibe for sure. 

 

Also the music in the show was good. I do not remember if every show had a song, but I know many of them did and the songs were good. I am sure many people would not admit that but we all know these were guilty pleasures. 

 

Unlike a superhero cartoon, where usually parents did not care much about them, this is a TV show that both parents and kids could watch together. it was just fun to watch something with your kids. 

 

In summary, this is still a show that is good. I think, even in today's TV climate, this could be popular. Although the show has not been seen on American TV since the early 1990's. It did air in syndication on Teletoon Retro until the channel's demise in 2015. 

 

Rating: 4.5 chipmunks out of 5

 

What do you think^ Did you like this show back in the day?

 

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