Oh, That Guy

9 Jan

Come with me for another stroll down Random Trivia Lane.

Are you familiar with the Hitchcock film Rear Window?

I bet you’re familiar with the man in this picture, or at least his son.
The Musician in Rear Window (and some other guy)No, not the fellow with the ethereal glow, that’s the film’s director making his usual cameo – no, the other, the musician who spends the film composing a song entitled “Lisa”.

That composer is the original lead singer of one of the most commercially successful vocal groups of the last half century, and yet you likely wouldn’t recognize his voice if you heard it.

His name is Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., and I’ll let wikipedia dispense his legend:

According to his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., they were down to their last $200 when Bagdasarian spent $190 on a V-M tape recorder that would allow him to vary tape speeds.

This monstrously large hit was the result (there’s a bit of an intro, feel free to skip through the first 40 seconds or so):

The first Chipmunk record, “The Chipmunk Song,” had Bagdasarian doing all the voices. (The spoken coda, when played slowly, reveals Bagdasarian enacting the roles of Theodore, Simon, and Alvin.) Thereafter, most of his Chipmunk records used female voice artists, recorded only about 1/4 slower than the normal playback speed. – wikipedia

– that is, until he died of a heart attack in 1972.

Like so many dynasties, the Chip-mantle was eventually taken up by his namesake, Ross Bagdasarian Jr., who, if you’re like me and know the Chipmunks best through the endlessly re-rerun 1980s cartoon, you may be most familiar with as the voice of Dave and the rodents – except for Theodore and The Chipettes, who were played by his wife, Janice Karman.

Before the show, however, Bagdasarian Jr. released a comeback album. His choice of platform for the beloved family property?

Chipmunk Punk.

I’ll let the boys play me out with a song about a drunk driver seducing a lady:

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4 Responses to “Oh, That Guy”

  1. bmj2k January 9, 2011 at 18:22 #

    Down to their last $200, so he spends $190 on a tape recorder. In an alternate universe, Child Protective Services intervenes and takes Ross Jr. away, Ross Sr. never makes the Chipmunk song, and spends his last $10 in a seedy bar.

    • JRD Skinner January 9, 2011 at 19:49 #

      Hah – but, what would we do without this legacy?

      (Har.)

  2. bmj2k January 10, 2011 at 01:06 #

    I like the Chipmunks, up to, and very much not including, the last two films.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Oh, That Guy « skinner.fm::blog of fiction -- Topsy.com - January 10, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ingrid Prohaska. Ingrid Prohaska said: Oh, That Guy: http://t.co/J48v0bo […]

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