In the late 50s, Ross Bagdasarian discovered if he sped up a recording of his voice, he kinda sounded like a small rodent. This turned out to be the secret to printing money. He released a series of novelty records where popular songs were covered by what he claimed were three chipmunks (originally drawn realistically, but simplified for animation later).
Ross used his normal voice for Dave Seville, their human parental guardian who is frequently annoyed by their antics, Alvin’s in particular. The albums were an instant hit and led to heights like an Alvin TV series, a set of Dell comic books, and a Christmas ditty that would become an icon, for better or worse. The public eventually got tired of the Chipmunks, but Alvin, Simon and Theodore had a resurgence in the 1980s thanks to a hit Saturday Morning cartoon. When that played itself out, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. was able to bring them back yet again in the late 2000s with a string of 20th Century Fox movies.
You get the idea. The Chipmunks are that rare kind of property you can re-introduce to each generation. In addition, they’re one of the few iconic cartoon characters that AREN’T the solid intellectual property of a major movie studio….yet.
The Munks have hit another slump, but Bagdasarian Jr. doesn’t seem to have the patience to wait to reintroduce them in the 2030s….so he’s cashing out. The real-life Dave Seville and his wife Janice Karman (who voices the Chipettes) are now offering the characters, and all the records, TV shows and movies that come with them, for $300 million.
Can you think of anyone that can spend a third of a billion dollars that DESERVES to have the Chipmunks? We can’t either. According to a report from CNBC the rodents could either wind up with CBSViacom, with Netflix, with WB, or with any of several private equity firms. No mention of Disney, contrary to popular belief.
If it was up to us, the Chipmunks would be given to a bunch of needy orphans or something. AAAAAAAAALLLLLLVVVIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNN