23 November 2008

Quite a character

Today’s Back Issue is sure to good for a few laughs, or at least a chuckle or two. As has been mentioned before, I spent a lot of time at Fort Wilderness as a child, and it was there, around the campfire, that I grew to love the rascally pair of chipmunks, Chip and Dale. They may not have been my favorite characters, but they were the most dependable, because I always knew where to find them. In the Winter 1982/1983 issue of Disney News world-renowned columnist Marilyn Beck catches up with the pair for a brief interview.

Sometimes the best things come in the smallest packages, and Chip and Dale certainly prove the rule. Featured character actors from Walt Disney Studios, Chip and Dale have been making us laugh for 39 years.

I met them at their treetop penthouse in Weyerhaeuser Towers, where we chatted over hazelnut mousse and herbal tea. I spoke plain, they spoke in italics.

Tell me, are Chip and Dale your real names?
C: Bob and Ray were already taken, and it was either come up with a catchy name or back to the family furniture business.
D: Anyway, French and Provincial just didn’t seem to have the same ring.
Is it true you started out in the circus?
C: You’ve really done your homework. Yes, Dale and I had a high-wire act. We raced across high-voltage lines without a safety net. A real great gimmick!
Chip, how did you two get your break in Hollywood?
C: Well, Dale and I were in the Army. W.W. Two, the big one. It was 1943. That great Disney star, Pluto, was filming on the base. We were off duty at the time and grabbing a snack…
D: We were cracking nuts with the cannon.
C: Quit interrupting. I’m telling the story. Anyway, Pluto just happened to be there, in the way actually. They got the whole thing on film and the next thing you know Private Pluto was in the can and we were contract players at Disney!
That’s an incredible Hollywood story. Almost like Lana Turner.
C: It wasn’t like today. We really worked for peanuts then.
D: Acorns, actually. But we soon said nuts to that and started to get to the big time.
When did you two start working with Donald Duck?
C: That was Walt’s idea. We’ve done a few pictures with Donald. The first was Chip and Dale in 1947. That guy is really quackers, always a cutup on the set.D: They usually feature us as the feisty but loveable chipmunks that constantly pester Donald. You could call it chipmunkey business. Great fun.
You sure have a lot of fans. Is it true that your popularity put you into comics?
C: Sure was!! In 1953 Walt published our first comic book. It sold so many copies that by 1956 we were regulars on the comic book scene. Even today, twenty-nine later, kids can read our latest adventures.
D: They even talked to us before they finally signed Harrison Ford for Raiders of the Lost Bark, but our tight schedule made it impossible.
One last question. Rumor has it you two were seen dining with former president – does this mean a political future?
D: Two scoops of Macadamia Madness at Baskin Robbins?
C: Shh – let me handle this – we knew President for a long time before he ever entered politics, back when he was just a peanut farmer. This is a crazy world – people see you talking to someone and the next thing you know the gossip columns say you’re in politics. We were really just checking on the current crop.
Chip and Dale, I don’t know how to thank you for being here today. It’s been a real pleasure to have two of Disney’s best-known character actors here to talk to their fans.
C: Just send almonds.
D: Cashews are good, too.

1 comment:

Princess Fee said...

What a fun back issue - I really couldn't think of them as Bob and Ray...