TV on DVD: Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Alvinnn!!! Edition


Featuring fourteen of Alvin's wildest adventures from the classic Emmy nominated 1980s cartoon series Alvin and The Chipmunks, this deluxe two-disc collector's set from Paramount Home Entertainment is a must-own for both devotees of the musical trio as well as those who grew up with the show. Although the full-screen animation doesn't appear to have been retouched for its DVD transfer, this wonderfully retro set sounds better than ever complete with Dolby Digital sound and is additionally compatible for closed caption equipped televisions.

Honoring the musical origins of the beloved animated stars created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., each mini-episode features a catchy performance by Alvin and the Chipmunks with such song selections as “Surfin Safari,” “Born to be Wild,” “Bad to the Bone,” “Footloose,” “Three Little Maids,” and “Goodbye to You.” However, any true fan of the series will tell you that the music was always just a bonus (possibly with the exception of one of my favorite holiday songs ever, the original, irreplaceable “Chipmunk Song”) and it's the characters that kept us tuned every week. The '80s incarnation of the Chipmunks was the second series following The Alvin Show of the early 1960s and this newer cartoon ran successfully from 1983-1990.

Original Theme Song (Courtesy of YouTube):

The group is headed up by the mischievous, ambitious daredevil Alvin (named after Liberty Records president Alvin Bennett), the brainy bespectacled Simon (founder and owner Simon Waronker), and the gullible, sweet yet food obsessed Theodore (chief engineer Theodore Keep). And thanks to their adopted father, record producer, and tour manager, the long-suffering and loving David Seville (derived from Bagdasarian's original stage name), the chipmunks have become international musical sensations.

Although, as a childhood fan, I mostly remember the trouble-making Alvin testing Dave's nerves until he'd frequently shout “Alvinnn!!!” as the DVD title denotes, watching the series now, I realize that in addition to the wild adventures, Alvin and The Chipmunks is a remarkably brainy, sophisticated, and morally sound children's program. Whether the boys are starting their own Chipmunk Fire Station or dealing with first crushes, studying Kabuki theater or taking part in Alvin's latest schemes for greater fame, the fun, witty, and fast-paced show is far more than just passively entertaining.

Emphasizing honesty and friendship and filled with useful lessons in everything from peer pressure to fire safety, the show plays equally well to adults with cinematic references to E.T. and Easy Rider and this set's so good you'll long not just for more episodes but also more '80s cartoons (like my favorite, The Muppet Babies) to make their debuts on DVD. However, one thing's for certain — whether you're feeling nostalgic for decades past or introducing the series to a new generation — you won't do much better than Alvinnn!!!