-By: Brittany L. Reid
(Article can also be found on my other blog, here: http://breidmedia.blogspot.com/2014/03/2015-year-of-chipmunk.html)
“Watch out, ‘cause here we come! It’s been a while but, we’re back with style!”
Indeed, Alvin and the Chipmunks are back…AGAIN with another new look! After the success of their recent live-action films, the munks’ designs are being revamped for a brand new television series set to debut next year entitled, ALVINNN! And the Chipmunks!!!
Buzz of the new TV series can be traced back to around 2010 with word spreading through means such as this YouTube video. Not more than two years later, fans were treated with an idea of what the munks may look like through an interactive app that allowed people to engage with Alvin, known as the iMunk app:
With this app, users could make Alvin dance, play his guitar, and have him repeat whatever they said in a rather munk-y voice.
The new design seemed to be a mesh of the old school and the new school. While Alvin’s basic foundation reflects the same anthropomorphic figure of his renowned early 80s-early 90s incarnation, he is also equipped with a chipmunk tail, stripe down the center of his face, a chipmunk nose, and darker hair color that closely matches the fur color of his design in the live-action features.
It wouldn’t be long before the rest of the munks made their debut with their updated designs as well. The Chipettes’ new look quickly followed Alvin’s in June of 2012, through the release of their cover for the song “Call Me Maybe.” Simon and Theodore would finally join the group with their designs in October of 2013, the year that also marked the 30th anniversary of the Alvin and the Chipmunks TV series, which debuted in 1983.
The chipmunks are no strangers to redesigns. When Alvin, Simon, and Theodore made their first appearance in 1958, they were displayed on their album covers as real chipmunks, but were immensely different than how they have looked in their recent motion pictures.
At the time, it was Ross Bagdasarian Sr. who served as the munks’ “father,” having brought that munk-y voice to life for his popular song “Witch Doctor.” He would soon affix that voice to many more novelty records, including the infamous “The Chipmunk Song” (“Christmas Don’t Be Late”). “The Chipmunk Song” was produced after “Witch Doctor,” and served as the melody that officially introduced Alvin, Simon, and Theodore as a musical group. (To find out more, visit the ‘History’ tab on www.chipmunks.com). With the success of their records, they soon made their way into the homes of millions by becoming re-mastered for the 1961 television series, The Alvin Show, which ran for just under a year (October 1961-September 1962) and garnered a total of 26 episodes.
Bagdasarian voiced all three munks, as well as Dave Seville, throughout the entirety of the show. After his death in 1972, the munks were passed on to his son, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., who has kept the franchise alive alongside his wife, Janice Karman for more than two decades. Together, they reintroduced the munks to a new generation in the 1980s with A Chipmunk Christmas, a primetime TV special in which the munks’ designs had even more detail than they did in the 1960s. The popularity of the special led to the creation of the Alvin and the Chipmunks television series in 1983.
The series would last for 8 years before being syndicated in reruns on a variety of television networks. This was the cartoon in which The Chipettes first made their debut, giving the female audience 3 characters in the animation world that they could relate too alongside the boys. Ross and Janice wrote the stories for the show, and provided the voices for the characters. Ross voiced Alvin, Simon, and Dave, while Janice voiced Theodore and the Chipettes.
The franchise produced albums, lunchboxes, VHS tapes, apparel, and action figures galore. The show’s popularity would result in munks’ first theatrical feature, The Chipmunk Adventure, which premiered in 1987. In 1988, the series was renamed to, The Chipmunks. By the early 1990s, they were honored with a Rockin’ through the Decades special, recognizing their popularity throughout history.
It’s been over 20 years since the munks have been showcased on the small screens of homes worldwide via their own TV series. As it stands, their new show has reportedly been picked up by over 70 Nickelodeon channels around the world (excluding North America and Brazil). According to an article published on February 24th, 2014 on Animationmagazine.net, the show has been scheduled for two seasons of 104 episodes, each 11 minutes long. Each episode will also feature an original song by the Bagdasarians. Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and his wife, Janice Karman, shall provide the voices for the characters once again, just as they did during the Eighties and the Nineties.
“It’s a different style of animation. My dad created a look in the Sixties and Janice redesigned it beautifully for the Eighties with a very classic look, less stylized, and then redesigned it again for the movies. This is the next iteration; fresh and new but with the essence of the characters, both in look and story,” Ross has stated (Tbivision.com).
The series will be produced by Bagdasarian productions and OuiDO! (previously Genao) productions for PGS Entertainment.
BUT WAIT! That’s not all! In addition to the television series, fans can get hyped for an expected 4th live-action movie to hit cinemas during the 2015 holiday season! There’s been no official word on the plot of the film yet. However, according to the International MovieDatabase, the movie is currently in pre-production and aiming for a release date of December 11.
Between their return to TV and their new movie, you can bet that the year 2015 will most likely see an increase in munk-y merchandise to promote their continuous rise in entertainment industry.
Promo Video for the 2015 Series, ‘Alvinnn! And the Chipmunks’