Wow! It’s hard to believe, but everyone’s favorite chipmunks, Chip ‘n’ Dale, have been storing acorns and singing around campfires for 70 years now. They first stepped into Disney and pop-culture history as two rascally, irritating (but lovable) characters antagonizing Pluto as he guarded army barracks in the 1943 short, Private Pluto.
Digging into the Walt Disney Archives, you never know what you’ll find—and for Private Pluto, we came across a rarity: an interview with Pluto as he “talked” about those pesky chipmunks. Also, you can read Pluto’s thoughts on the wartime atmosphere of the day and notice that the publicity material originally referred to Chip ‘n’ Dale as “squirrels”:
“Pluto, star of Walt Disney’s newest entertainment release, Private Pluto, stated yesterday in an exclusive interview that “army life is a wonderful training for any red-blooded American wishing to help defeat a great menace in the world today.”
As many of you know, Walt Disney allowed the U.S. military to use the Burbank studio during the war years, and the studio actually produced films in support of the military efforts against the “great menace” of Hitler and the Nazis.
Pluto’s interview continues:
“The only trouble I had, and I sure was mad, too,” the famous actor admitted, “were those little chipmunks butting in and causing a lot of trouble for me while I was on guard duty protecting the gun from saboteurs. I thought I’d be busted and thrown in the guardhouse.”
Publicity material also contained the following information: “in creating the ‘voices’ for the two squirrels in the new Disney short Private Pluto, …the voices of two studio employees were actually recorded and then speeded up, giving the high-pitched chattering effect creating a remarkable resemblance to real squirrels—the nut-cracking squirrels make a stooge out of the private and provide one of the funniest Disney comedies this year.”
Remember, D23′s Disney Fanniversary Celebration 2013 is coming to a town near you. Join us in Boston, Chicago, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, or Washington, D.C.
By D23: The Official Disney Fan Club’s Jim Frye