Old Time Radio at OTRCat!

Friday, December 13, 2013

"I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi"

One of my favorite animated movies is "The Chipmunk Adventure". Ross Bagdasarian mined a media gold nugget back in 1958 with "The Chipmunk Song", made with a V-M variable-speed tape recorder. It was not limited to large increments, and allowed a more understandable  sped-up voice, than say, "Purple People Eater" or the work of "Shirley and Squirrelly". Hear what Wikipedia saith:

Most consumer tape recorders of the day had changeable speeds, but usually only in simple binary multiples, doubling or halving the speed, creating sounds an octave apart. Changing speeds of voices in these limited multiples creates extremely high or low pitches that sound too extreme for most purposes.

Bagdasarian (or David Seville, his stage name) was capable of far more subtlety in his Chipmunks records than the quick and dirty "record it at half-speed and press it" novelty hacks. This analog method carried over to Ross Jr.'s movie.  Ross Jr. did the Chipmunk's voices, and his wife Janice Karman did the Chipettes.

Here is a comparison of sound:

Ahhhh, Sascha Burland....

"Adventure" was of course all about the music, which is on my MP3 player. VERY listenable, though the wisdom of a song like "Get Lucky" in a kids movie escapes me. Here is a track list:

Side One

    "The Chipmunk Adventure Theme Song" - 1:48
    "I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi/Cuanto le Gusta" (The Chipmunks) - 2:35
    "Off to See the World" * (The Chipmunks & The Chipettes) - 2:56
    "Weekend In France, Italy, England, Amsterdam, Greece..." * (The Chipmunks feat. Dave) - 1:45
    "My Mother" * (The Chipettes) - 2:34
    "Wooly Bully" (The Chipmunks) - 2:21

Side Two

    "The Girls and Boys of Rock and Roll" (The Chipmunks & The Chipettes) - 3:19
    "Flying With the Eagles" * (The Chipmunks & The Chipettes) - 3:23
    "Getting Lucky" * (The Chipettes) - 2:25
    "Mexican Holiday" * (The Chipmunks) - 1:43
    "Diamond Dolls" * (The Chipettes) - 3:15
Great stuff! If you get the chance, re-live 1980's animation history! ("Cow and Chicken's" creator Dave Feiss is an animator on this, BTW.)

(I am apparently the only person who notices a PC bit of censoring...when Jeanette and Eleanor try to dissuade the Sheikh from marrying Brittany, they go through a number of her character flaws, including "She spends money like a drunken sailor!" In the DVD release I have, they "dead air" that line while showing the young Sheikh's bored reaction.)


Michael W said...

I watch "The Chipmunk Adventure" for the Chipettes the same reason I watched the "Rescuers" films for Miss Bianca. Cute cartoon babes.

(Am I the only one who felt that the girls in the animated Beatles cartoons from the 60s were way cuter than the girls who chased the real-life versions?*)

(*Or is it way past time I considered professional counseling?)

(Then again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeDkGnyDv9o )

The Aardvark said...

Ink and paint, bro....

Miss Bianca. For me, it was the voice.

The Aardvark said...

PLEASE tell me you didn't have a thing for "Cool World".

Michael W said...

"Cool World" was interesting (nice music), but it's not a movie I'd necessarily cross the street to see.