Western Animation: The Alvin Show
From left to right: Alvin, Theodore, Simon, and Dave.The Alvin Show
is a short-lived primetime animated series
from the early 1960s, based on the highly successful "David Seville and the Chipmunks" records by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., produced in association Format Films for Bagdasarian Film Corporation. It is the first animated series to feature Alvin and the Chipmunks
It follows the lives and shenanigans of the Chipmunks (in this series, they were further developed as a trio of rambunctious kids) as they often cause mischief towards their high-tempered human father figure and manager Dave Seville, who was based on the series' creator, Ross Bagdasarian, (Sr.). Bagdasarian provided the speaking and signing to the three rodents as well as voicing the hapless bachelor Dave.
Aside from the seven-minute Chipmunk segments, the show also had segments featuring the misadventures of bumbling inventor Clyde Crashcup voiced by Shepard Menken who essentially re-invented various items and took credit for dreaming it up in the first place. His “creations” often backfired on him until his silent hyper competent assistant
Leonardo saves him from any further self-destruction.
Twenty six episodes were produced for the "Chipmunks" and "Clyde Crashcup" segments along with fifty-two musical segments. It used a Three Shorts
format with the "Clyde Crashcup" segments sandwiched in between.
Despite being drawn in color, the show was played in black-and-white format in primetime against the hit Wagon Train
though it didn't fare well in prime time and was cancelled after the first season. Though the characters themselves proved to be enormously popular with young viewers the show popped in in repeats on CBS
Saturday morning in 1962, airing to widespread success for three seasons.
The series later was revived on NBC-TV
, being promoted under the title Alvin and the Chipmunks
Saturday morning between March 10, 1979 and September 1, 1979.Viacom Enterprises
distributed reruns of The Alvin Show
to local stations to coincide with its successor, Alvin and the Chipmunks
Sometimes in 1994, Nickelodeon
picked up broadcast rights for the show and ran the episodes daily until early 1995. During that time as well as sometime afterwards, the individual cartoons and musical segments were inserted into episodes of Weinerville
. The show ultimately vanished from the airways.NOTE: Tropes under here are specifically for the '60s cartoon series
The Alvin Show provides examples of the following tropes:
- Accidental Misnaming: Mrs. Frumpington, their neighbor, can never get Dave or Alvin's name right no matter how many times they correct her.
- Acrophobic Bird: In "Stanley the Eagle", the Chipmunks take care of an eagle named Stanley who's scared of flying and they help him face his fears.
- A Day in the Limelight: Theodore in "Theodore's Dog."
- In a way, the episode "Haunted House" seem to focus little more on JP Lester (the bedsheet ghost) and his exploits on trying to scare Dave and the Chipmunks who are fixing up the Chesley Estate.
- Adult Fear:
- In the episode, "Stanley the Eagle", when Dave finally sees the eagle* , he starts freaking out. Now picture a parent seeing any kind of wild/deadly animal (snake, wolf or even a bear) getting in their back yard were their kid(s) are playing...
- Another example is in the episode "Sam Valiant Real Estate", a tree topples over Theodore but he thankfully slips through the hole. Imagine a tree toppling over a child?
- Or the episode "Camping Trip", the thought of a bear mauling your own kid?
- Although they were on a set and the train was a fake, but seeing a train coming right at your own kid(s) from the musical segment "Working on the Railroad".
- Agony of the Feet: At the beginning of "Working on the Railroad", Simon (of all people) does this to Dave with a sledgehammer.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Done by Theodore and Alexander (the dog he brought home with him) in "Theodore's Dog".
- All Just a Dream: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" musical segment in which the stage where Dave gets annoyed by the chipmunks goofing up the song doesn't happen for real. Dave wakes up in bed with his hand in the air at the end.
- Apathetic Citizens: See quicksand sucks below.
- Art Initiates Life: Clyde Crashcup was an inventor who "invented" common things that have been around forever, using a Magic Crayon to create them.
- Attack of the Political Ad: "Alvin for President"
- Balloonacy: In one of the teaser openings, Alvin buys a bunch of balloons and hands them to Dave, sending him floating away to the sky.
- Banging Pots and Pans: Theodore does this in "Theodore's Dog", after the basset hound Theodore got made a loud noise in which Dave ask what that sound was, in order to make up a ruse on the fact he just shoved said basset hound through the basement's window.
- Bears Are Bad News: Subverted in "Camping Trip".
- Beatnik: In the musical segment for "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", Alvin dresses as one in order to attempt a rock and roll version of the song (much to Dave's annoyance).
- Bedsheet Ghost: J. P. Lester, an actual ghost, haunting Chesley Estate in "Haunted House".
- Bedsheet Ladder: Alvin uses one to get out of his house in "Alvin's Alter Ego".
- Bungling Inventor: Clyde Crashcup.
- By Tree That Is Holey: Theodor is asked to swing on a rope, which is tied to a very old tree with a gaping hole. When Theodore tugs at the rope, the tree topples over but Theodore is unharmed because he slipped through said hole.
- Cassandra Truth: Dave called the cops about Stanley the Eagle. When the cops arrived, Stanley isn't there but high above the air, flying in circle and the cops (who think Dave spends too much time composing music) drag him to jail or wherever
- Characterization Marches On: Simon and Theodore lack their distinctive personalities that fans of the later medias are used to, usually little more than more well behaved counterparts to Alvin. Dave is also noticeably more of a comedic hot head here.
- Crossword Puzzle: Simon is seen working on one in "Theodore's Dog".
- The Dark Age of Animation
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: There's the musical segment for "Pop Goes the Weasel" where we have Alvin walking into "Sam Merlin's Magic Shop" and Sam Merlin himself is this big, creepy guy with this... voice. The man starts asking Alvin if he likes magic as well as... mm, yeah we need a little help explaining this one...
- The Door Slams You: Happens to Dave in "Squares" and the ghost in "Haunted House".
- Double Take
- In "Alvin for President":
Dave: Hey Simon, Theodore, what's he doing?
Simon: He's running for President.
Theodore: (giggles) Yeah, President.
Dave: Really? Well isn't that— (gibberish) PRESIDENT?!
- At the end of "Lovesick Dave", the Chipmunks do this when Dave cancelled his plans on having a pool installed in the backyard.
- Dream Sequence: Dave has a bitter one during the "Alvin's Harmonica" episode. While talking in his sleep.
- The Eponymous Show
- The Everyman: Theodore and Simon.
- Evil Chuckle: The ghost, J. P. Lester, in "Haunted House" dons one when he prepares to scare Alvin via popping out of the fireplace. He fails.
- Eye Glasses: Simon dons these.
- Fantasy Sequence: "Sir Alvin"
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: The Alvin and the Chipmunks Sing Along videos in 1994, which only consist of sing-along versions of the 1960s Chipmunks musical cartoons. Invoked by the videos' theme song with the lyric "Let's all sing with the Chipmunks, follow the bouncing ball!"
- The Generic Guy: Theodore and especially Simon.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: "Alvin's Alter Ego"
- Face Palm: Simon does this when Dave trips over his ball he forgot to put away in "Lovesick Dave".
- Hat Damage: Sam Valiant's hat in "Sam Valiant: Real Estate" wounds up with arrows.
- Haunted House: The "Chesley Estate". Heck, the title of the episode is called "Haunted House"!
- Henpecked Husband: In one of the Clyde Crashcup shorts, "Crashcup Invents a Wife" named Pictorial. Their relationship turns out like this, and Clyde eventually reaches the breaking point:
Now look here, Pictorial, my patience is wearing thin. I am a scientist, not a chambermaid
. Leonardo is my able assistant, and I demand that you release him this instant. Your presence is this household has become unbearable! Do I make myself clear?? Pictorial:
...You all through? Clyde:
...Yes, Pictorial, sweetheart.
- At the end, Crashcup throws Pictorial out of the house and promises the fourth wall, "I'll be back next week, a bachelor at work."
- Help, I'm Stuck!: Clyde Crashcup gets stuck in a chimney once in an episode where he's doing a lecture on "Do It Yourself". After Leonardo frees him, he begins a lecture on help.
- Horrible Camping Trip: Well, "Camping Trip".
- Hypocrite: Look below.
- Hypocritical Humor: In the episode "Theodore's Dog", when the chipmunks are in bed after a long day of Theodore hiding the dog in house and bugging Dave about wanting one, this happens:
Tomorrow, we hit the road boys, so get a good night sleep! Theodore:
I could sleep better if I had a dog guarding me. Dave:
Theodore! And Alvin! Take off your cap!note Alvin:
) Why do you always make Dave mad
(Theodore gives him a quick dirty look
- I Am Not Weasel: In the Chipmunks segment "Oh Gondoliero!", the Gondoliero mistakes the Chipmunks for mice and they try to correct him by telling him "We're not mice, we're chipmunks!" Then they kick-start a song for him with "Oh, Gondoliero, we are not mice, we're singing chipmunks, we told you twice!"
- If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Dave gives Theodore medication after said chipmunk fakes eating himself sick in "Theodore's Dog".* "
Dave: (to Theodore) You can't have a dog, so you eat yourself sick! And when you eat yourself sick, what do you do? You take something bitter! Right Theodore?
Theodore: (eyes squeezed shut) Right Dave. (takes spoonful of medicine, face showing disgust)
- Ink-Suit Actor: As drawn, Clyde Crashcup somewhat resembles the physical appearance of his voice actor, Stephen Menken.
- Irony: When driving to the Chesley Estate Dave inherited in "Haunted House", he describes the old place as "Magnificent structure, those stately white pillars, that beautiful landscaping, those formal garden..." When we the viewer see the place, it's anything but that. The house is in shambles both inside and out, the garden is a sight for sore eyes... well he got the white pillars right...
- In "Sam Valiant Real Estate", after seeing a vulture perch itself on a sign reading "Vachaua (?) Estates", which Sam Valiant called "Bird of Paradise", he says "Look at the enjoyed faces of those youngsters!" We cut to Alvin, Simon and Theodore, who were previously outside standing next to Dave, peeping out of the window inside the car looking anything but enjoyed.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: One episode has Alvin, Simon and Theodore singing "Alouette" in French. Then this occurs:
Dave: I'm sorry, but I can't understand what you're saying. Can you please sing it in English?
Alvin, Simon and Theodore: Can we sing it in English? (start singing) "If you love me, tell me that you love me, if you don't please tell me that you do! Tell me that you love me true, tell me that you really do! Do do do, love me true, aaaah!"
- It's Been Done: Clyde Crashcup and Leonardo tried to invent the chair, baseball, jokes, the bed and dozens of other things, and seldom got it right.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Crashcup claiming to have invented inventions that already existed, or being the first to discover things already discovered.
- Large Ham: Clyde Crashcup.
- Last Note Nightmare: "Rock-A-Bye Baby" in the Crashcup segments, namely the ones where he invents the bed and the baby. Played at the end of the episode — normally the first time around, then as things go awry for good it repeats — but speeds up and slows down like a warped record.
- Laugh Track: Averted. Bagdasarian insisted that the show skip the addition of a laugh track, against the wishes of the network. Though there was the sound of clapping that could be from a machine in "Wild, Irish Rose".
- Limited Animation
- Mad Scientist: Clyde Crashcup, again.
- Medium Awareness: The musical segments of the show.
Dave: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome! As we all know, the community that sings together, sings together, so come on all you happy people. Open and let's sing and swing together.
- The Nose Knows: Subversion: A few episodes feature "Sam Valiant, Private Nose." He thinks his enormous schnoz solves mysteries, but he's always way off.
- Oh, Crap
- At the end of "Yankee Doodle" musical segment, Alvin sends a whole bunch of bowling balls that substituted as canons toward Dave, who's in the orchestra pit. Dave probably had to be in the hospital for... at least 100 days.
- Midway toward the end of "Working on the Railroad" musical segment, Dave is pushing the tram on the train tracks the boys are on, trying to out run the train. Turns out it was just a prop and the four are actually on a set, filming.
- At the end of "Lovesick Dave", the boys do a double take after Dave just cancelled about constructing a pool in the backyard for them.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Not only is J.P. Lester an actual bedsheet ghost but he's solid enough that Dave's able to pick him up and hold him, not to mention being able to fit into tight places like in a can.
- Out of Character: In-universe at the beginning of "Lovesick Dave", where Alvin breaks the lamp with his paddle ball and shatters it. Instead of yelling at Alvin, Dave asks if he's all right. Dave doesn't even yell at Theodore when zooming by him wearing roller skates or at Simon when he tripped over the bespectacled chipmunks' ball, which the Chipmunks to suspect something is up, though it appeared Simon noticed Dave's strange behavior before the episode started.
- Painted Tunnel, Real Train: Clyde Crashcup "invents" by drawing things in midair.
- Playing Sick: Theodore in "Theodore's Dog". See if it tastes bad it must be good for you example for more elaboration.
- Prime Time Cartoon
- Quicksand Sucks: In "Sam Valiant Real Estate", when showing the Chipmunks the "sand pile", he's too busy talking that he doesn't notice he's sinking and all the while, Alvin, Simon and Theodore are standing right there in front of him! Fortunately, Dave pulls the idiot out in a nick of time.
- Scooby Stack: Alvin, Simon and Theodore in "Lovesick Dave".
- Shout-Out: See the main shout out page for the franchise.
- Show Within a Show
- At one point, the Chipmunks are watching a Clyde Crashcup segment.
- The chipmunks appeared in some parody reality show in the "Chipmunk Fun" musical segment.
- In "Ostrich", Dave tells the boys there will be no TV for two weeks unless they remove the ostrich from the top of their car (which the ostrich thinks is an egg):
Alvin: You mean I can't even watch me??
- Signature Laugh: Theodore's "huhuhuhuhuhuh!" giggle.
- The Silent Bob: Clyde Crashcup's assistant Leonardo, who only speaks when he whispers something in Clyde's ear.
- Sleepwalking: Theodore fakes one in "Theodore's Dog".
- Special Effect Failure: In-Universe with a film set in "Working on the Railroad" musical segment.
- The Teaser
- There Is Only One Bed: Dave and the boys share one in "Haunted House".
- There Was a Door: Often done in "Good Neighbor" with door or wall smashing.
- Third-Person Person: The ghost in "Haunted House" refers to himself by name: "J. P." sometimes adding "Lester".
- Three Shorts: Followed the A-B-A format, with Clyde Crashcup as the middle segment.
- Totem Pole Trench: Seen in "Disk Jockey," when the Chipmunks do this to try and get a radio station to play their new record (wearing a long coat, with Alvin on top wearing a hat and wig), and they probably would have succeeded if Theodore hadn't poked his head out of the disguise and said, "You're welcome!" among being thanked by the DJ.
- Unexpected Inheritance: Supposedly Dave in "Haunted House", since the episode opens up with him saying "I still can't believe it! Me inheriting the Chesley Estate!"
- The Unintelligible: Leonardo's only speech is whispering to Clyde Crashcup's ears.
- He only speaks audibly once, when upset, in an angry whimper like a Pekingese trying to talk.
- The Unfavorite / Out of Focus: To a lesser degree, Simon didn't have one episode focused on him whilst all the episodes focus on Alvin* and Theodore had one episode based solely on him.
- Variety Show
- Voice Actor
- Watch Out for That Lamppost!: One of the cold opens has Dave driving a car and waving at us, only to thud into a lamppost. Then comes the Chipmunks dressed as paramedics as Simon and Theodore try to take the damaged car to the ambulance, but Alvin corrects them and they decide to take Dave instead.
- What Happened to the Mouse?
- What happened to Alexander the basset hound in "Theodore's Dog"?
- Speaking of dogs, where did that puppy go the Chipmunks and Dave were looking for in the "Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?" musical segment?
- Not to mention Theodore's pet parakeet, George?
- Wingding Eyes: Dave gets swirly ones in his Oh, Crap moment at the end of the "Yankee Doodle" number.
- Wraparound Background