} It's interesting you ask me that second-to-last question, because I've
} just finished writing the liner notes for a six-CD box set to be
} released later this year, "Walla Walla Bing Bang: 40 Years of the
} Chipmunks." Here are some excerpts that may help to answer your
} ...Fortunately, he was able to brake in time. It was only then that
} he realized that the object which the chipmunk had run out in the
} middle of the road to get was a drumstick that had rolled away.
} [Ross] Bagdasarian rubbed his eyes. Here along this
} lightly-traveled gravel back road through the forests of Washington
} state, three chipmunks were performing an impromptu concert....
} ...[H]e swore the studio crew to secrecy, opened the door, and in
} came Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. The crew's mouths were agape.
} And so Bagdasarian and the Chipmunks recorded "Witch Doctor," to be
} released with the credit "David Seville and the Chipmunks" (David
} Seville being Bagdasarian's stage name). The record company, however,
} inadvertently dropped the "and the Chipmunks" portion of the credit,
} angering the Chipmunks, especially Alvin...
} ..."We refuse to remain a stupid novelty act!"
} The shouting match went on for almost half an hour, with Theodore
} serving as mediator in between bites of a ham sandwich.
} Of course, it was pretty much hopeless for the Chipmunks. With the
} ever-present threat of government scientists who would certainly want
} to examine the highly developed brains of these chipmunks, Bagdasarian
} had the upper hand. Not only could he rule the Chipmunks with an iron
} fist, he could go on national television and radio programs and "joke"
} with the host about using real chipmunks to sing his novelty hits, with
} everyone "knowing" it was just vocal tracks speeded up through
} electronic trickery.
} Bagdasarian also refused to let the Chipmunks play live. Not so
} much because of the "threat" of government scientists, but because he
} was afraid that they would chuck the entire set list and play some of
} their own compositions....
} ...The lawsuit having been successful, the Chipmunks were finally,
} after almost 35 years together, ready to perform live. They chose to
} make their debut on an eagerly-anticipated, brand new talk show with a
} well-known comedian host.
} They were scheduled two months in advance for the October 22, 1993,
} episode of "The Chevy Chase Show," promoting their new album of all
} original songs, "Acornucopia."
} A critical and ratings disaster, "The Chevy Chase Show" aired its
} last episode on October 15th.
} That same day, Alvin found out that "Off the Chipmunk End" was going
} to be released on the BMG Kids label. Two years later, Simon told the
} story to BBC Radio One:
} "He went ballistic, basically, after finding out that they were
} going to release it the same way they'd released previous Bagdasarian
} albums, on their 'Kids' label.
} "He and Theodore drove to their offices, tore up their contract,
} and, took back the master tapes of the album.
} "Then, on the way back, it happened."
} "TANKER TRUCK COLLIDES WITH RUNAWAY CAR," read the headline in the
} Los Angeles Times. Although the charred bodies of Alvin and Theodore
} were found in the wreckage, since very few people knew the "secret" of
} the Chipmunks, the entire situation ended up being stamped "unsolved"
} by the LAPD. For example, the driver of the "runaway" car was never
} found; it was registered to "A. CHIPMUNK," which the police
} investigators took to be someone's joke that wasn't picked up on by the
} Because of the fire, all that survives of "Acornucopia" are a few
} fragments of alternate takes of songs that were on one tape reel that
} was still in Simon's possession.
} BMG sued Simon and the estates of Alvin and Theodore for not living
} up to their recording contract and won; in order to pay the award, Simon
} had to sell the rights to the Chipmunk name back to Bagdasarian, Jr.,
} who notified Simon that his singing and keyboard-playing skills would
} no longer be necessary. Bagdasarian, Jr., put out a "Chipmunks" album
} of cover versions of country songs within six months, made by speeding
} up vocal tracks sung by Bagdasarian, Jr., himself. It was the
} worst-selling Chipmunks album ever....
} [ end excerpt ]
} So there you go. Those liner notes represent a lot of investigative
} work, so I'm very proud of them.
} By the way, the answers to your other questions are as follows: none,
} if you're good enough to do it in the dark; only one, to hold the
} towel; and Bugs actually suffered from horrible stage fright when he
} had to act in front of real people, not just the crew making the
} You owe the Oracle the license plate from Alvin's car ("THE MUNK").