Monday, December 10, 2007

They Want to Sing it Again

Image courtesy 20th century Fox.

In my opinion, a collection of Christmas songs is not complete unless it contains the 1958 hit The Chipmunk Song - you know, the one that makes some people want to smash their CD player up. Well, you cynics get ready because those cute little critters Simon, Theodore, and Alvin...um, Alvin? ALVIN!!!! are back starting this Friday when the feature film Alvin and The Chipmunks, starring Jason Lee from My Name is Earl, hits theaters. This time around, the rodents have been brought into the 21st century and 3D-ized thanks to the wonders of computer special effects. And they've been sexisized, too, as one of them sings the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?" while taking a shower in the dishwasher.

The Chipmunks were originally the brainchild of Ross Bagdasarian, a struggling songwriter whose early claim to fame was cowriting the Rosemary Clooney hit "Come on-a My House." He also had bit parts in Hollywood films, including Rear Window. When he was down to $200 in his savings account with a mortgage and family, he used $190 of it to purchase a tape recording machine which he then used to speed up and slow down vocals. The result was the novelty hit "Witch Doctor" which topped the charts in 1958 and inspired the creation of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Bagdasarian's Chipmunks franchise blossomed throughout the 60s with a cartoon TV show and numerous records, including one where the Chipmunks covered Beatles hits. Bagdasarian died young - at the age of 52 - in 1972, but his son has carried on the legacy to this day.

Bagdasarian and The Chipmunks were featured on yesterday's CBS Sunday Morning show. You can read more about them on the program's site and you can check out more about the Chipmunks movie at their official site.

1 comment:

Paul Duca said...

Bagdasarian's co-author on "Come On to My House" was his cousin--William Saroyan, whose work includes the novel THE HUMAN COMEDY and the Pulitzer-Prize winning play THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.

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