The term "to chipmunk a song" means to edit the song to give the vocals (and consequently the rest of the song) a higher pitch. The term finds its roots in these characters. Just add "chipmunk" to any search for a song on YouTube, and you're bound to find one. Oh, and watch out for fake chipmunked songs. "Real" chipmunked songs are actually pitch-adjusted (like real Chipmunks songs) and are the same length as the original. The fakes are the result of simply speeding up the original and are much shorter. Some people think that the former sounds better than the latter.
Because they've earned much disdain from a good-sized portion of the fanbase, the CGI character designs have earned the not-so-affection nickname, "CGI Rats".
Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and David Seville are all voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in "The Chipmunk Song".
Since the '80s, Alvin, Simon, and Dave have been voiced by Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., while Theodore and all three Chipettes are voiced by his wife, Janice Karman.
Later still, when the series switched to DiC for animation, almost all of the additional one-shot characters were voiced by their associate producer Thom Watkins, with Ross occasionally stepping in for other additional male characters, while Janice voiced most additional female characters.
On the second-draft Concept AlbumChipmunk Punk, each chipmunk is sung by a different singer as well: Ross Bagdasarian Jr. was Alvin, Steve Vining was Simon and Dave Adams of Glass Moon was Theodore.
Technology Marches On: Many times you see Simon referencing the latest computers as being incredible, despite graphics which have visible pixels and being roughly the size of a microwave oven. Audio equipment is similarly outdated, using reel-to-reel recording devices instead of digital media which was gaining popularity even in the late eighties when this show was produced. "Back to Our Future" lampshades this phenomenon by having the '60s Chipmunks all amazed at the advances in technology.
'60s Alvin: Incredible! There's music coming from these little silver thingies! '60s Simon: And this computer has as much information on it as the public library! '60s Theodore: Look at this TV! It's color! And it has more than three channels!
Unintentional Period Piece: Literally every incarnation of the franchise and almost every album is essentially a glimpse into popular music at the time of release. The chipmunks are essentially a cover band that plays contemporary tunes. The Chipettes are also prone to Fashion Dissonance due to dressing in less timeless clothes than the boys sweaters or hoodies.
In the "Witch Doctor" musical segment of The Alvin Show, Dave exclaims "I made that record once!" in regards to the Chipmunks wanting to sing the song. This is because Ross Bagdasarian didn't consider "Witch Doctor" not technically being a Chipmunks song, the first true song by the Chipmunk Trio being "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)."
After coming home from losing his job in the 2007 movie, he says "You know, if I made a list of my worst days ever, guess what, today would be at the top of the list" is a reference to Jason Lee making a list he makes as Earl Hickey. Then in The Squeakquel, he, a professional skateboarder, trips over a skateboard.
June Foray does Alvin's angelic self in "Alvin's Alter Ego".
Alvin in the Italian dub.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: There's never been a complete compilation tape/DVD or box set containing all the episodes. There exists only the aforementioned Sing Along tapes (which just have some of the musical segments) and a DVD called "The Very First Alvin Show" (which only contains one of the first episodes, along with the specials A Chipmunk Reunion and Rockin' Through the Decades).
Non-Singing Voice: June Foray does Mrs. Frumpington's singing at the end of "Squares" because she sounded more crazier than Lee Patrick.
Talking to Himself: Dave, Alvin, Simon, Theodore and Sam Valiant. Though not fully determined, it is rumored that Clyde Crashcup's voice actor Shepard Menken provided Leonardo the assistant's whispering.
This special's the first time both Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman took over the vocal roles of Dave Seville and the Chipmunks note Ross Bagdasarian Jr. voicing Alvin and Simon with Janice Karman voicing Theodore and would be throughout the franchise until the live action/CGI movies with Jason Lee. note Though Ross still provides Alvin's singing voice, Janice does Theodore and the Chipettes' singing voice and Steve Vining for Simon
Charles Berendt voices Clyde Crashcup instead of Shepard Menken here.
Real-Life Relative: Husband and wife Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman picked up the franchise. Then later on, their kids Vanessa and Michael started helping them.
Grandpa Seville, a farmer, is voiced by Alan Young, who not only voice Farmer Smurf but he has played another farmer before in 1952 movie Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick as titular Aaron Slick.
In "The Gang’s All Here," The Chipmunks face a gang called the Steam Rollers in the roller rink. Theodore and the Chipettes' voice actress, Janice Karman, had starred in a gang film called Switchblade Sisters where there’s a scene in the movie when the Dagger Debs and their male counterparts, Silver Daggers, have a showdown with a new gang that arrived led by Crabs. Only difference being the Chipettes had initially came dressed as cheerleaders for support had to assist the boys when they needed help, though it’s only after the Steam Rollers breaks one of Brittany's nails does she take them all on. The scene in Switchblade Sisters proves disastrous when Crabs’ men show up armed with rifles and killing the boyfriend of the Dagger Deb’s leader, who’s brutally assaulted thus causing her to miscarriage. Theodore even tries to find people to create a gang against the Steam Rollers and fail is how the Dagger Debs recruits Muff (played by Marlene Clark) and her gang of African-American militants from across town to take on Crabs’ gang.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: A rare visual example. For many years, fans believed that the infamous "Sploosh" episode had Simon and Jeanette kissing (mostly thanks to the few screencaps from the episode circulating around the internet including a cap of them leaning in for a smooch). When the episode finally surfaced briefly on YouTube in 2011, and officially released on DVD later that same year, it turns out The Big Damn Kiss was nothing more than an Almost Kiss.
Edited for Syndication: 65 episodes were syndicated by Lorimar-Telepictures in 1988. They were the first five seasons, both Valentines and Reunion primetime specials, and the 11 Murakami-Wolf-Swenson episodes from season 6. In most markets, almost every episode from the first three seasons, as well as a handful from the fourth are sped up (similar to PAL) to conserve time for longer commercial breaks. Some season 3 episodes left the speed alone, but trimmed certain scenes out. In the U.S., a later broadcast on the Cartoon Network left out the the individual episode title cards from the Ruby-Spears episodes, though international markets always retained them. These title cards were originally narrated by Casey Kasem (the announcer for NBC's Saturday Morning programming at the time), but were replaced with Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.'s voice-overs for Dave and Alvin. New commercial bumpers were also added (also narrated by Ross Jr. performing as Dave and Alvin), and a Lorimar-Telepictures logo was inserted at the end of each episode from this package.
Bagdasarian Productions keep re-releasing the exact same compilation DVDs (with maybe an additional entry or two with certain releases) year after year, under different titles.
Different episodes, in different forms, continually pop up on various different video sharing sites, such as YouTube or Dailymotion, though they do suffer from being pulled for copyright, whether from Bagdasarian Productions, or other companies such as Warner Bros. (particularly uploads from Cartoon Network recordings).
Long Runners: While most Saturday Morning cartoons lasted a season or two at best, this cartoon lasted for eight seasons, with over 100 episodes, and spawning a number of TV specials associated with it.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: In their debut episode, The Chipettes don matching pleated yellow dresses for concerts and public appearances. It was the only episode of the series to feature them in these dresses. However, when The Chipmunks Posable Play Pals line was released, figures of The Chipettes wearing the dresses were released.
Talking to Himself: Really taken to new levels during the DiC era of the show; by then, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman did almost all of the voices themselves (notice an increase in characters who sound almost like Dave, and all the female characters have the same voice), while their associate producer, Thom Watkins, did the rest. By then, the only characters who weren't voiced by Bagdasarian, Karman, or Watkins were Miss Miller (Dody Goodman) and Lilly the puppy (Frank Welker).
Write Who You Know: In "Cookie Chomper III", the dog the Chipmunks adopted is named Lilly. Lilly the puppy was named after Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman's dog, Tiger Lily, who served as the real-life inspiration for this episode. Like Cookie Chomper III, Tiger Lily was also run over by a car and died.
Production of the movie became too time consuming, and with the deadline for the completed project fast approaching, several scenes in the original script had to be re-written to make them simpler for the animators to animate (including the sacrificing scene), or cut from the script completely, thus resulting in a much shorter movie with fewer locations The Chipmunks and Chipettes actually visit.
Early concept art also reveals that the producers originally intended to have a scene where the boys drop off a doll in a church confessional and that the sacrifice scene was originally set on top of a Mayan pyramid instead of a crocodile pit. Another sketch shows the boys in some sort of sewer or prison with two men prying open bars at an opening at the top.
When the Chipmunks deliberately ruin the concert after realizing they've been tricked by Ian, Alvin shouts "Yippee ki yay, mamacita!" in which Justin Long played Matthew ‘Matt’ Farrell in Live Free or Die Hard.
Another reference to a movie with Justin Long is made in The Squeakquel when the Chipmunks are playing dodgeball:
Also, in the first movie, Dave says "If I made a list of my worst days ever, guess what, this one would be at the top of the list!", a reference to his role in My Name Is Earl.
The Danza: In Italy, Simon Seville is voiced by Simone Crisari.
Executive Meddling: Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman were set to voice the characters for the first film, (they had already done some of the voices in the trailers), and Ross was even going to play Dave, however, Twentieth Century Fox rejected this, and insisted that younger people do the voices and a younger actor for the role of Dave... though, there is speculation that Fox made this move because they wanted more marketable names attached to the movie.
Franchise Killer: Inverted. It managed to increase Chipmunk popularity and spawned three sequels.
Money, Dear Boy: David Cross has made no secret that he is only in these movies for the paycheck, publicly noting in an interview that his salary from the first film was larger than any other project he had been working on and helped him pay for a new house. He seems to have had enough with Chipwrecked though, which he called "literally, without question, the most unpleasant experience I've ever had in my professional life".
Seeing that this has been going for over fifty years, it’s understandable. Although, the reason why Jason Lee was cast as Dave Seville for the live-action movies is because the makers wanted a younger actor at the time instead of the older Ross Bagdasarian Jr..
Initially, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and Janice Karman portrayed Alvin, Simon and Theodore in the film, but were replaced at the studio's insistence with younger actors Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney respectively.
Simon's singing voice is provided by Steve Vining and it’s not known if he provides the singing as well as voice on new soundtracks, though either he or Matthew Gray Gubler provided one line on the ‘Ho, Ho, Ho,’ song on the Undeniable soundtrack.
The Other Marty: Ross Bagdasarian and Janice Karman recorded all the lines for Alvin, Simon and Theodore.
According to Ross Bagdasarian Jr. (and Zachary Levi) the piano seen in the movie is the actual piano Ross Bagdasarian Sr. used to write and perform "The Chipmunk Song" as well as "The Witch Doctor" that launched the Chipmunks franchise.
Dave's house number is 1958, the year Ross Bagdasarian created the Chipmunks and released "Witch Doctor" and the "Chipmunk Song."
Actor Allusion: Three months before The Squeakquel came out, another movie premiered where Anna Faris voices an intelligent character wearing glasses named ‘Sam Sparks.’
Reality Subtext: The Squeakquel involved Brittany being elevated to the front of the band against their wishes. Reminiscent of the naming of "Alvin and the Chipmunks" no doubt, but what song are they rehearsing? "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé, who went through this in Real Life.
So My Kids Can Watch: Zachary Levi's reason for doing The Squeakquel was so once he had kids of his own, he could watch this film with them.
The Other Darrin: Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate replace Janice Karman for the voice of the Chipettes.
Creator Backlash: Actor David Cross has said that the third film was the most unpleasant experience he's had in his life as a professional.
The Other Darrin: Alan Tudyk replaces Matthew Gray Gubler (for reasons unknown) when Simon gains the French accent, but Steve Vining still does the singing. Then when Simon’s back to normal, he’s voiced by Gubler once again.
Recycled Script: The film is likely based on the episode, from the '80 animated show, "Island Fever" where The Chipmunks and The Chipettes go to perform on a high class cruise ship, the Island Lady and, because of Alvin, they drift in the ocean until they shipwreck on an desert island.
The Other Darrin: A passing on generation example: Eleanor is voiced by Vanessa Bagdasarian Chambers, Ross and Janice's elder daughter. The rest of the Chipmunks though, are still voiced by her parents like in the 80's cartoon.