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“We're just a couple of crazy rascals out to have some fun!”
Chip and Dale are a pair of anthropomorphic chipmunks who made their debut in 1943's Private Pluto. The brothers are known for their high-pitched speech, gluttonous appetites, and penchant for mischief—typically at the expense of others. Chip can be identified by his black "chocolate chip" nose and his joined front teeth, whereas Dale has a larger red nose, two adjacent front teeth, and a tuft of hair on his head. Chip is the more logical and cunning of the two, with Dale being more dim-witted and carefree.
Though the duo got their start as adversaries to Mickey Mouse's pet dog, Pluto, they would become even more infamous as arch-rivals of Donald Duck, beginning with the 1947 theatrical short, Chip an' Dale. In the years that followed, Chip and Dale became some of Disney's most beloved characters. They were popular enough to receive their own—albeit, short-lived—series of shorts, and received greater exposure in the 1990s with the premiere of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, which saw the chipmunks as a comedic pair of crime-solvers.
Unlike most of the Mickey Mouse characters, Chip and Dale act very much like average chipmunks; they live in normal trees (typically in a backyard or forest) and spend most of their time gathering and storing food (particularly acorns). Their affinity for food often drives them to steal it from others, which is a regular point of contention between the chipmunks and their arch-nemesis, Donald Duck.
Chip (or Chipper, as referred to by Dale) is the brains of the duo and thus is shown to be clever, fearless, and somewhat bossy. Unlike his best friend, he's a quick thinker. When dealing with Donald, Chip shows to be much more of a threat than Dale, both mentally and physically. He is also no-nonsense and becomes easily frustrated with Dale's incompetence. In Rescue Rangers, he wears a fedora and sheepskin bomber jacket. Chip constantly thinks about being on duty to the point where he is thought to not know how to be fun; because of such, Dale's blundering causes him nothing but headaches.
Dale is lazy, dim-witted, and clumsy. His bumbling is often the cause of misfortune for Chip, which usually leads to Dale being punished. Dale is more likely to became endangered, forcing Chip to come to his rescue. In Rescue Rangers, Dale wears a Hawaiian shirt, possibly to show how relaxed his personality is; he gets along easier with Monterey Jack and Zipper than Chip.
The classic voices of Chip and Dale were mostly provided by Helen Silbert, Dessie Flynn, and Jimmy MacDonald. The earliest voices of the chipmunks were provided by female office staff, without credit.
In Private Pluto, the chipmunks' speech was created by speeding up sound clips of normal speech. In a number of the shorts that followed, many of these same sound clips were re-used again and again, though later shorts used new dialogue specifically recorded for them.
At one point in Winter Storage, Chip and Dale get into an argument while caught in a trap. When the scene switches to an outside view of the box (with Donald Duck sitting on the box), the dialogue being heard is actually a sped-up segment of the voice-over narration from the Goofy short A Knight for a Day.
Jack Wagner also provided the voices of both Chip and Dale at the Disney Parks between 1985 and 1989.
Since 1988, Chip has been voiced by Tress MacNeille and Dale has been voiced by Corey Burton where he is shown to have a deeper voice than his previous years in the classic shorts. However, in Mickey Mouse Works, House of Mouse, the first season of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the Have a Laugh! re-dubs of the classic shorts, Tress voiced both chipmunks.
Chip and Dale first appeared as nameless chipmunks in the 1943 cartoon titled Private Pluto, a wartime film directed by Gerry Geronimi, in which they attempt to use a cannon as a storage unit for their nuts, much to the chagrin of an on-duty Pluto. In their debut short, Chip and Dale more closely resembled realistic chipmunks, and lacked the unique features that would distinguish the two as individual characters. Their designs more closely resembled the non-anthropomorphic chipmunks seen in previous Disney works, such as 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Private Pluto established Chip and Dale’s penchant for mischief, their love of nuts, and their high-pitched speech pattern. Their vocal effects in the cartoon, however, were sped up gibberish and lacked any substantial dialogue. The chipmunks returned in the 1946 cartoon Squatter's Rights, in which they take up residence in Mickey Mouse’s hunting shack. Squatter’s Rights was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1947, marking the first award-nominated film to feature the chipmunks.
Jack Hannah, the director of Squatter's Rights among numerous other short films, sought to reinvent the chipmunks as adversaries for Donald Duck. To add personality to the characters, Chip and Dale’s gibberish speech were scrapped in favor of recorded dialogue that was sped-up to be nearly unintelligible. Storyman Bill Peet further developed the characters by suggesting that one of the chipmunks should be a “little goofball”, thus distinguishing the two characters. Hannah ran with the idea. This refined iteration of the chipmunks would first appear as the titular characters of 1947's Chip an' Dale, directed by Hannah. Their names are a pun on the name "Chippendale" (a reference to furniture-maker Thomas Chippendale). This was suggested by Bill "Tex" Henson, a screenwriter at the studio. Taking place in a rustic cabin during the winter, the film sees Chip and Dale fighting to reclaim their food supply after their treehouse is chopped down and converted into firewood by Donald Duck. As Bill Peet had suggested, Chip an' Dale established the chipmunks as individual personalities; Chip as the intelligent, yet no-nonsense leader, while Dale was an awkward, simple goof. They were also redesigned with unique physical features to better distinguish the two. Chip an' Dale was critically acclaimed, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1948.
Following the success of Chip an' Dale, the chipmunks would appear in an additional 17 shorts as foils of Donald Duck between 1948 and 1956. Jack Hannah would be largely responsible for their shorts, as he worked extensively on Donald Duck cartoons. Though Dale’s nose was depicted as red in the title card of Chip an' Dale, his nose was colored black in the animation until Three for Breakfast. Their holiday-themed 1949 short, Toy Tinkers, became the third cartoon featuring Chip and Dale to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, having been honored at the 1950 Oscar’s. Throughout the shorts, Chip and Dale were largely voiced by Dessie Flynn, and Jimmy MacDonald, respectively, albeit with sped-up up recordings. Chip and Dale’s first solo outing was Chicken in the Rough, released on January 19, 1951. Headlined as the first entry of the Chip and Dale short film series, the cartoon saw the chipmunks facing chickens after dropping their acorn supply into their coop.
Chicken in the Rough was followed by two additional Chip and Dale cartoons, including Two Chips and a Miss, released on March 21, 1952, which saw the chipmunks competing for the affections of a New York City nightclub singer named Clarice. The third and final installment was the The Lone Chipmunks, released on April 19, 1954, which pitted the chipmunks against the notorious villain Pete. Their final battle with Pluto occurred in the holiday-themed short Pluto's Christmas Tree, released on November 21, 1952. Their final confrontation with Donald Duck, as well as their final appearance in the original run of theatrical shorts, was in 1956’s Chips Ahoy, in which they battle Donald over the ownership of a model boat.
Prior to, and following the closure of the studio’s short film division, Chip and Dale headlined their own comic series. The first volume was published by Dell as part of their Four Color series, and was simply titled Walt Disney's Chip 'N' Dale. There were 30 issues in total, which ran from 1955 to 1962. The second volume was published by Gold Key and ran from 1962 to 1984. The chipmunks also made occasional appearances in Walt Disney’s anthology series, most extensively as the hosts of the 1959 episode "The Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale". They were also regular fixtures in the Disneyland theme park, having been present since the park’s opening in 1955.
This initiative to revive classic characters would also spawn the Disney Afternoon television block, which found immense success with the premiere of DuckTales in 1987. Following in tow was an action-adventure/detective story following Disney's iconic chipmunks titled Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. The show was initially pitched by Tad Stones to star an Indiana Jones-inspired mouse character, though then-CEO of the Disney company, Michael Eisner, suggested the use of Chip and Dale so the show had established Disney characters to work with. The show premiered on August 27, 1988, and has since become one of the most recognizable and beloved properties of Disney's television history. The show also marked the debut of Tress MacNeille and Corey Burton as the official voices of Chip and Dale, respectively. While MacNeille and Burton would go on to voice the chipmunks for the following decades, MacNeille will occasionally voice both.
In 1990, Chip and Dale starred in their first video game, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Following the finale of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, however, the chipmunks were largely absent from animation save for cameos throughout the remaining Disney Afternoon line-up, and in 1998’s Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. It wouldn’t be until 1999’s Mickey Mouse Works that the chipmunks were reestablished as prominent characters. For the made-for-TV-shorts, Chip and Dale were reverted back to their more traditional depiction of rascally troublemakers and adversaries to Donald Duck. Tress MacNeille voiced both chipmunks throughout the series’ run, and their speech pattern were less intelligible than what was utilized in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Chip and Dale appeared in a total of four shorts.
Throughout the 2000’s, Chip and Dale continually appeared in Disney animated media, such as 2001’s House of Mouse and 2006’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the latter of which marked the chipmunk’s first appearance in computer animation. They also played prominent roles in other major productions, such as the Disney/Squaresoft crossover video game Kingdom Hearts, released in 2002.
In 2010, Chip and Dale were featured in a new series of comics published by Boom! Studios, as a revival of sorts for the Rescue Rangers franchise. Due to poor reception, however, the series ended after eight issues.
In 2017, Chip and Dale were given their own series of made-for-television shorts titled Chip 'n' Dale's Nutty Tales, a spin-off of the computer-animated children's television show Mickey and the Roadster Racers, in which Chip and Dale played supporting roles as employees of Mickey Mouse’s roadster garage. Chip 'n' Dale's Nutty Tales followed the misadventures of the titular chipmunks across the town of Hot Dog Hills, particularly in pursuit of a runaway acorn. A total of 18 shorts were produced.
In 2021, Chip and Dale star in the Disney+ original series Chip 'n' Dale: Park Life. Produced by The Walt Disney Company France and Xilam Animation, the series consists of 7-minute shorts driven by slapstick comedy prominent in classic cartoons. Chip and Dale are depicted as non-verbal characters in the show. Throughout its run, the chipmunks also encounter numerous Disney characters from their history, including Pluto, Donald Duck, and Clarice.
In 2014, development was announced for a live-action film based on Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. The project was described as an origin story for Rescue Rangers, but news fell silent shortly after its announcement. Five years later in 2019, it was announced that the film—officially titled Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers—will be a hybrid of live-action and animation, and will be released as an exclusive title on Disney+. Diredted by Akiva Schaffer, the movie centers on Chip and Dale—voiced by actors John Mulaney and Andy Samberg, respectively—as retired Rescue Rangers who must re-team to save a friend from video piracy.
In a 1959 episode of the anthology series entitled "The Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale", Walt Disney was unable to host the show personally. Instead, he left a message on his tape recorder informing viewers of his arrangements to have Chip and Dale host in his place. The chipmunks use the time to go through an old book which holds memories of their fondest exploits.
Chip serves as the unspoken leader of the group, while Dale tends to provide most of the comic relief, though Dale does end up becoming the hero at times. Both chipmunks possess a crush on Gadget, becoming rivals for her affections. A running gag in the show has Chip being constantly interrupted when he attempts to tell Gadget his feelings for her. The two have even been love interests themselves. In "Adventures in Squirrelsitting", a squirrel named Tammy falls in love with Chip, and in "Good Times, Bat Times", a bat named Foxglove falls in love with Dale. Both of them apparently don't return these affections.
Chip and Dale are recurring characters in Mickey Mouse Works, where they are recast as enemies of Donald Duck once again. One of their most notable appearances in the series is in the short "Mickey's Mixed Nuts", where the chipmunks battle Mickey Mouse (someone that they didn't usually pester in past productions) for the last bag of nuts at a supermarket.
Chip and Dale appear in the segment Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas. The two are briefly seen several times throughout the story. In the beginning, they are seen opening their presents. They appear again when they are hit with a snowball by Huey Duck, who then gets hit back by Chip. Their next appearance occurs near the end when an object is thrown into their home and it turns out to be a bag of nuts wrapped as presents from Huey, Dewey, and Louie. In the end, they are last seen throwing away their Christmas decorations and cleaning up.
Chip and Dale have recurring roles in House of Mouse, primarily as guests at the club. Both chipmunks are seen shaking hands with Donald in the show's intro.
The episode "Chip 'n' Dale" is centered around the chipmunks as they spend their evening stealing bags of nuts from the guests while evading Donald. At the end of the episode, an advertisement is shown in which they seem to have their own storage organization where they store "everything you don't need".
In "Ladies' Night", Minnie hires them to perform an act as the "Chip and Dale Dancers", a parody of American striptease dance troupe Chippendales.
Chip and Dale are recurring characters in this computer-animated series. They are some of Mickey's friends. Unusually, the two don't seem to have a rivalry with Donald and Pluto. Most of the chipmunks' roles in the series are minor with the exception of the episode "Goofy's Coconutty Monkey", where they are the culprits behind the mysterious disappearance of the jungle's coconuts. In the end, they returned their stash, thinking they were giant nuts. They play another significant role in the episode "Goofy's Thinking Cap" where Mickey, Donald, and Goofy need twelve nuts for Clarabelle's scavenger hunt, to which the chipmunks gladly oblige.
Other versions of the duo also appear; they play the roles of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in Mickey's Adventures in Wonderland, and in some episodes where Mickey and the gang take a trip to outer space, their "Moon Men" counterparts usually appear, acting as sidekicks to Pete's "Moon Man" counterpart.
Chip and Dale first appeared in the episode "Space Walkies" where, during a voyage in outer space, Mickey and Pluto step out of their spacecraft to allow Pluto a chance to relieve himself. After which, Mickey tries to rush Pluto back to the ship by using a miniature spacecraft resembling a frisbee disk. The disk, it turns out, is a craft owned by an annoyed Chip and Dale, who berate Mickey until Pluto instinctually attacks the chipmunks, leading to a chase through space. On the rings of a planet, however, Chip and Dale are able to elude Mickey and Pluto, giggling at their success and their adversaries' misfortune.
Chip and Dale reappeared in "The Birthday Song", as guests at Mickey's birthday party.
In "New Shoes", they appear alongside some of Donald's other adversaries to partake in a daily dose of tormenting Donald. They also make a cameo appearance in "Our Floating Dreams", which is set in Thailand.
Chip and Dale appear as supporting characters in the series (which is a spinoff of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), working as pit crew members in Mickey's garage. Like in Clubhouse, they are allies to Mickey and his friends; including Donald and Pluto.
Chip and Dale appeared in the episode "Double-O-Duck in You Only Crash Twice!" where they are based on their depictions from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers along with Gadget Hackwrench, Monterey Jack, and Zipper. In the context of this new version, Chip and Dale are super-evolved lab animals.
They make brief appearances along with Gadget Hackwrench, Monterey Jack, and Zipper in "The Last Adventure!" where they are revealed to be one of the many adventurers, or adventure related people, to have been captured by F.O.W.L. for eradication. They, along with numerous other characters, give encouragement to Launchpad when he is up against Steelbeak and his brainwashed allies.
In Fun and Fancy Free, Chip and Dale briefly appear, laughing at Bongo the Bear's failed attempt to climb a tree. Their dialogue is mainly done via a toy squeaker, though some of their lines are their usual sped-up gibbering.
In Kingdom Hearts II, the duo reunites with Sora, Donald, and Goofy after leaving The Mysterious Tower to start their journey. They continuously pop up throughout the game to help Sora navigate through the map. During Gummi Ship missions, they communicate with Sora from Disney Castle to cheer him on as he battles the Heartless ships. They are also greeted during Sora's visit to Disney Castle, where they warn him and Queen Minnie of the dark thorns that have mysteriously overtaken the Hall of the Cornerstone.
In Kingdom Hearts coded, the two build a datascape for Jiminy's Journal, to decode a mysterious message left inside.
They also have a small statue dedicated to them in the central hub, surrounding the "Partners" statue.
In The Disney Afternoon Live!: Plane Crazy, which ran at Disneyland in 1991, Chip and Dale are recruited along with Baloo and Launchpad McQuack to recover the X-22 spy jet when it is stolen by Don Karnage and Fat Cat. At one point, Chip has a brief sword fight with Don Karnage, tricking the pirate into believing he's fighting Dale.
Chip and Dale make a cameo appearance among the baggage claim scans at Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, when they appear on-screen, the robot G2-9T remarks that the two are "clones", although their noses don't make them perfect clones.