Fictional character biography
Clyde Crashcup (voiced by Shepard Menken) is a scientist in a white coat whose experiments invariably failed. His was the only voice heard in many of the episodes, because the other character in the series was his assistant Leonardo, who only whispered into Clyde's ear. In one episode, though, Clyde invented a wife (voiced by June Foray, who also portrayed Rocket J. Squirrel in Rocky and Bullwinkle, among many characters). Clyde had one of the four segments, and the Chipmunks starred in the other three (two of which were musical segments). In the episode "Crashcup Invents the Birthday Party", Foray provided the (all too audible) voice for the mother of Crashcup's inaudible assistant Leonardo.
Clyde Crashcup was primarily an inventor rather than a researcher, although he tended to "invent" things which had already been invented. However, in one episode, he built a functioning time machine. He typically would invent something by taking a pencil out of his lab coat's pocket and drawing a picture in midair of his conception: the picture would then become the actual object.
Clyde's catchphrase was to break down the name of his invention into its etonymic elements to explain his thought process. For example, when asked to justify the invention of the telephone, he would say "That's 'tele-' for tele and '-phone' for phone: telephone."
The character and his voice appear to have been based on characters from the 1930s and 1940s. The voice of the scientist in the 1943 Bugs Bunny cartoon, Super Rabbit, is very similar; and both are similar to that of radio-era comic actor Richard Haydn, who often played slightly befuddled or eccentric characters. As drawn, Crashcup somewhat resembled Shepard Menken's physical appearance.
Dell Comics published 5 issues of a "Clyde Crashcup" comic book from Aug-Oct 1963 to Sept-Nov 1964. During a period spanning parts of 1963 and 1964, Dell also published a 12¢ and a 25¢ comic book titled "Alvin and His Pals in Merry Christmas with Clyde Crashcup and Leonardo", in which Clyde and Leonardo appear throughout. All were written by John Stanley.
In The Alvin Show, Clyde Crashcup appeared in the following segments:
- Crashcup Invents Jokes
- Crashcup Invents Self-Preservation
- Crashcup Invents Glass
- Crashcup Invents the Chair
- Crashcup Invents the West
- Crashcup Invents Baseball
- Crashcup Invents the Bathtub
- Crashcup Invents the Wife
- Crashcup Invents Flight
- Crashcup Invents the Baby
- Crashcup Invents the Stove
- Crashcup Invents Music
- Crashcup Invents First Aid
- Crashcup Invents Electricity
- Crashcup Invents Egypt
- Crashcup Invents the Bed
- Crashcup Invents the Telephone
- Crashcup Invents Do-it-Yourself
- Crashcup Invents the Time Machine
- Crashcup Invents the Shoe
- Crashcup Invents Physical Fitness
- Crashcup Invents the Ship
- This is Your Life, Clyde Crashcup
- Crashcup Invents the Birthday Party
- Crashcup Invents Self-Defense
- Crashcup Invents Crashcupland
- In 1981, Crashcup appeared on the TV-special A Chipmunk Christmas, in a dream sequence; he told Alvin that he'd just invented Santa Claus. Shepard Menken reprises Clyde Crashcup.
- Crashcup later had a special guest spot in the modern Alvin and the Chipmunks 1990 episode "Back to Our Future," in which he showed up in the time of the new show with a time machine and brought the modern Chipmunks back to his time, where they temporarily switched places with the Alvin Show Chipmunks. It was later released on VHS on April 14, 1994, as The Chipmunks Go to the Movies.
- In Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, the Chipmunks and the Chipettes go to school at Clyde C. Crashcup Elementary School, a school that could be named after him.