|the CHIPMUNKS HOME PAGE|
A SUMMER DAY'S DELIGHT
|7 inch DISCOGRAPHY|
HOLDING YOU NOW
from liner notes:
My name is Ross Bagdasarian. I was born in Fresno, California, on January 27,1919, and, according to my figures, that makes me 34 years old as of this year. My home town of Fresno is an average size town, I would say. The population is around 90,000 people, and at least twice that many grapes and raisins. The people are average but the raisins are the finest you can get anywhere in the world.
I went to school in Fresno. The usual thing. Grammar school, junior high school and high school. Finally, one miserable year in college and boredom really set in. I wanted to be an actor and the man in charge, they called him "Prof," said I should start by painting some walls a deep green. I told him I wanted to be an actor and then I quit. Before I forget, I want to say that in 1927 I became famous with my family. I skipped the third grade.
The name Bagdasarian is, needless to say, Armenian and my father, also needless to say, was and still is a grape grower. I worked in the grapes, if I worked at all, and atthe age of sixteen, while driving a truckload of grapes from the vineyard to the packing house, I wrote mu first song. It was called "Nuts To You." Some smart alec I knew claimed that it wasn't what you would call a "ballad." Now that I look back I guess he was right. It was a song thought. It had words and it had music and when I sang it, it had spirit, but I guess it wasn't a ballad.
After I quit collage, I decided that if I was going to be an actor the thing to do was to go to a place where they did some acting. They didn't do much acting in Fresno. It was a good place to stay and learn to pick grapes but I wanted to act so I went to New York. This was in 1939 and I was 20 years old. I went straight to the Theatre Guild and after three days I got in to see Theresa Helburn. She was one of the directors of the guild. She asked me some pretty important questions about my background in the theatre and I gave her some pretty important answers, the most important of which was that I was the best natural born actor she had ever seen. I got the part of the singing Greek newsboy in "The Time Of Your Life" and every night I came out and sang "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" in addition to the six or seven lines that I had with Eddie Dowling. I didn't exactly steal the show with my performance, but two weeks later I was given the part of the pinball way and on the road. During that summer, I was the assistant stage manager for a show called "Loves Old Sweet Song." The show closed in three weeks, just in time for me to go on the road with "The Time Of Your Life."
It was during this period that I drove back to Fresno with Bill Saroyan and while we were in New Mexico I started singing a song that I had been thinking about. It was called "Come On-A My House." Saroyan liked it and helped me finished it.
Right after the show closed I was called into the Army and spent the next four years in the Air Force as a control tower operator. I visited nearly all the European capitols while with the Air Force and I did my job well, although I did nothing heroic except the time I kept Sam Williams from going into an off-limits joint and thereby saved him a painful trip to the medics.
When I got out of the Army I went right back to Fresno. A man gets confused after spending four years in the Army. I went back to the grapes because I was looking for a good clean kind of existence and I figured that the vineyards were the answer. I met and married a wonderful girl and just by way of showing off to her I branched out for muself and leased sixty acres of land, all grapes, in order to make a small fortune and prove to her that her choice had been a wise one. I worked hard with the grapes and when harvest time rolled around I had the prettiest sixty acres of grapes anyone had ever seen. The market dropped before we started and we had to give the grapes away. I guess she thought I was all right though because we're still married.
Upon her insistence, her name is Armen by the way, we came to Los Angels with two children and an unpublished song called "Come On-A My House." I spent the next year and half whistling, singing and stomping out the words and music of the song to anyone who would listen.Dave Barbour and Peggy Lee said it was the wrong time of year for a song like that. Frankie Laine said there was no use in trying to get a song like that recorded because dialect stuff just wouldn't get it. And so it went with many others until somehow Rosemary Clooney made a record of it and things finally popped loose.
I kept writting songs and also started to do parts in pictures. The songs, in addition to "House" are "Oh Beauty,""He Says Mm Hmm,""The Girl With The Tambourine,""What's The Use,""Don't Nice Don-A-Fight,""Y-y-yup," and "Shepherd Boy," all published and all recorded. Hot Dog! The pictures have been seven in number, the best of which have been the last two. By best I mean I had featured parts in both of them. I don't think they will win any awards either here or abroad. And I'm pretty sure I won't either. Anyway, the names of the pictures are "Destination Gobi," 20th Fox, and as yet unreleased "Alaska Seas" for Paramount.
That's pretty much the story. I'm delighted with the whole cockeyed thing because if it hadn't been cock-eyed none of the good things would have happened and I might still be driving a truckload of grapes to the packing house, trying to improve on the lyric of "Nuts To You."
|THE ALVIN SHOW