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Cartoon CultureReal Estate

A Tour of the Bagdasarian Compound

Fred Moore

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured a tour of the swanky Montecito, California home of Ross Bagdasarian Jr., the son of the creator of Alvin and the Chipmunks, and his wife Janice Karman. They’ve been involved with all of the Chipmunk animated projects since the early-1980s, and have apparently made a good chunk of change in the process.

(Thanks, Doug Vitarelli)

  • Toonio

    For the detractors of the Chipmunks this must be like holy water to a demon.

  • Bud

    Janice did well with her soft porn film career: she married Ross.

    • pspector


  • Theo Marvin

    This mansion has a twenty foot tall marble demon squirting holy water on the back forty.

  • Jay Sabicer

    Ironically, the grounds contain a state-of-the-art rodent extermination system. That’s gratitude, for ya.

    Seriously, the American dream is to find that certain thing that people will inexplicably pay good money for. For Ross Sr. (and subsequently, his son) is was a sped-up audio gimmick.

    • Eric Graf

      That “sped-up audio gimmick” had been around for decades. You can hear it in cartoon soundtracks dating back to the early 30s. Numerous novelty records used it prior to The Chipmunk Song, including Mel Blanc’s record of “The Woody Woodpecker Song” (in 1948!), Sheb Wooley’s “The Purple People Eater”, and of course, David Seville’s own “Witch Doctor.” Yet there are no Purple People Eater movies coming out this December.

      One year before the Chipmunks, Disneyland Records released a Christmas EP by Ludwig Mouseinsky and his All-Mouse Chorus and Orchestra, using EXACTLY the same effect. And was ignored.

      Love ’em or hate ’em, it was not a sped-up audio gimmick that made the Chipmunks a 53-years-and-counting franchise. “Dave” deserves a lot more credit than that.

      • g1nks

        You DO know that “David Seville” was Ross Bagdasarian right?

  • so this is the house that the chipmunks built? I don’t understand life

  • Someone I knew who worked quite closely with the Bags told me that they once paid $400 for an antique wastebasket. That must have been SOME trashcan!

    Heck, I’d be thrilled just to have a DVD set of all the episodes of Format Films’ wonderful THE ALVIN SHOW! Guess I’m just a lowbrow.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I would want that too.

  • Jules

    You shoulda seen Ernie Bushmiller’s house. That thing coulda used the Bagdasarian compound for a gift shop.

    • Maybe Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. doesn’t want a bigger house. The man runs a tight business, after all. He did give a lot of Disney animators work almost immediately after they were fired. Ask Mashy the Pup.

  • My Santa Barbara digs were never this fancy. However, it does show how much money you can make off animation as long as you don’t draw for a living.

  • PeterJCasey

    I don’t understand, even if I had lots of money, I don’t like shopping, or having fancy things that I have to clean all the time, so they look fancy.

  • Gray64

    A little off topic, but I could swear that I heard a very Chipmunk-esqe recording on a children’s album back when I was a little-un, but it wasn’t Alvin etc; it seemed to be the same set up, but the only character’s name I can remember is Archie, who kind of had the Alvin role (the song may have been “Glow-Worm,” but I’m not sure). Were there a lot of rip-offs of the Chipmunk concept?

    • Superstarseven

      Oh definitely. I once had a record by The Grasshoppers.
      Same concept.

  • Ryan McClarty

    I would love to do the jingle for this show