Illustrator: Ross Bagdasarian.
Parties interested in an inexpensive way of obtaining a handful of seasonal cheer from the eternally youthful antics of the Chipmunks need look no further. This meagerly priced title draws upon the two original Christmas with the Chipmunks volumes that were first issued in the early '60s. The vari-speed novelty was the brainchild of the multimedia mastermind Ross Bagdasarian. While many assumed the Chipmunks moniker was a play on the success of the Beatles, it was actually used as far back as Bagdasarian's hit 45 "Witch Doctor" in 1958. Granted, the three cartoon rodents were fictitious; however, the names Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were inspired by Liberty Records brass Al Bennett (Alvin), Si Waronker (Simon), and engineer Ted Keep (Theodore). Under the direction of Bagdasarian as Dave Seville, the Chipmunks' pre-adolescent high-energy enthusiasm is nothing short of infectious. It yielded a weekly prime time animated television program called The Alvin Show, which aired from October 14, 1961, through September 12, 1962, on CBS-TV. On this disc, the unbridled joy of the season -- as experienced through the eyes of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore -- is coupled with conventional melodies such as "Jingle Bells," "Frosty the Snowman," "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth," and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town." Of course, no Chipmunks holiday effort would be complete without Bagdasarian's "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." [For the 2008 edition of the album the grinches at Capitol cut five tracks from the previous reissue's running order, making the 2006 edition the one to track down for maximum Chipmunk holiday enjoyment.] ~ Lindsay Planer