I was exploring Disney+ (their subscription streaming video) and was delighted to see the archive and body of work. I am old enough to remember when Disney product was enjoyed only at Disney's pleasure. Anniversary celebrations of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo or Fantasia brought them back to theaters for limited runs. Disney revived itself with Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, then came VHS home copies. Leap forward to now when everything is on demands – even Disney.
This isn't about the breadth of Disney's offering. It's wide, vintage and new – includes Pixar and Marvel.
What caught my attention – what wakened a long dormant memory – was the sight of those two chipmunks.
"I remember them," I thought. "They were so funny." So I watched one.
I didn't laugh at these chipmunks. Their voices were just high pitches, squeaky, sped up. I couldn't understand what they were saying – so who know if the dialogue was even funny. Then it hit me: These aren't the funny chipmunks. What I was thinking of was two other chipmunks. In fact, they weren't even chipmunks at all: They were the Warner Brothers goofy gophers, Mac and Tosh, introduced in 1947, four years after Disney's Chip and Dale. They did not imitate Chip and Dale, they exceeded them, much as the Beach Boys vastly improved on the sound of Jan and Dean.
So THAT is what I was remembering so fondly. Voiced by two of my favorites, Mel Blanc and Stan Freberg, instead of indecipherable, squeaky, ultra-speedy voices, the English-accented gophers stopped every scene with lengthy, over-courteous exchanges of polite pleasantries, all while a ticking bomb was about to be set off or go off.
So the takeaway? Two things:
Mark Morelli is a New York Times Bestseller reader.