The Chipmunks

The Alvin Show

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The Alvin Show originally aired as a Wednesday night prime-time television series for 11 months (October 14, 1961, through September 12, 1962) on CBS-TV. The program was based on the success of Ross Bagdasarian's novelty records that were issued by the Chipmunks. Interestingly, the name was not a derivative of the popularity of the Beatles, as Bagdasarian's rodent-related moniker dated back to his 1958 hit platter "Witch Doctor." The Chipmunks' insignia, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were a nod to Liberty Record company brass Al Bennett, Si Waronker, and labels engineer Ted Keep. The distinct look of the show came from Herbert Klynn's Format Films and Jack Kinney Productions, whose main gig was commercials rather than long-form animation. When the half-hour sitcom hit the airwaves in the fall of 1961, it was unlike anything else that had been attempted before. Also in the mix was a human in the form of Dave Seville, who reared the three adolescent, talking (and singing) Chipmunks. This soundtrack recording has what is essentially the audio of a typical episode, right down to the opening and closing theme music. Each show featured several short sketches centering on Alvin getting the boys into some degree of mischief, much to the chagrin of Seville. "The Mrs. Frumpington Story" finds the boys using reverse psychology in dealing with their condescending neighbor Mrs. Frumpington and her organization, the Society for Quality and Universal Appreciation of Refined Enterprises (SQUARE). The "Television Interview" segment takes on the milquetoast deadpan delivery of Harry Reasoner, parodying "Person to Person" and including a song titled "Chipmunk Fun," which was covered by NRBQ (who else!) as "Things We Like to Do" and can be found on the Kick Me Hard (1979) compilation, as well as the Live at the Wax Museum (2003) concert set. The Alvin Show also contains a visit from madcap inventor Clyde Crashcup on "Crashcup Invents the Bathtub."

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