Chipmunks, Hamsters, and Squirrels

They're testing cosmetics on animals again!

Charlie the Hamster, after picking up some
beauty tips from Tammy Faye Bakker.

(Attention: If you are reading via an RSS reader, you will need to visit my web site to be able to play the MP3s. Make sure you have a recent Flash plug-in for your browser.)

Every bold pioneer and every true innovator is quickly followed by a screaming horde of cheap knockoffs. For every Xerox PARC, there’s a Microsoft. For every Charles Darwin, there’s a Michael Egnor. For every Osiris or Dionysus, there’s a Jesus. And for every Alvin and the Chipmunks, there’s Charlie the Hamster.

Newer readers to this blog may not be familiar with Charlie, the beloved hamster for Christ. If you are not yet acquainted with this rapturous rodent, I strongly urge you to read my original article where I first encountered him. You really should check out that article! It has always been one of my favorites. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Back by Popular Demand, Charlie the Hamster!

Now that you’ve had a chance to “enjoy” Charlie’s work, let’s find out a bit more about him.

In the year since I wrote the original article, I’ve come across Charlie several more times on the web. The absolute best site about this forgotten Christian Soldier is the site Charlie The Hamster Evangelistic Ministry. It masquerades as a real ministry, but it’s clearly just a loving tribute to this hokey Alvin wannabe. From the site:

Charlie is a Christ-loving, bible-believing hamster whom God has blessed abundantly with the gift of music and song.

It’s a gift and a curse. OK, it’s just a curse.

Charlie the Hamster records are, to the ears, what Jack T. Chick tracts are to the eyes: funny, innocuous witnessing tools with an unexpectedly powerful soul-saving impact.

This is why I think this is a tribute site, having a little fun with its subject. I doubt that even Christians think Chick tracts are funny and innocuous.

While Charlie the Hamster’s songs are easily mocked and often ridiculed by smug “sophisticates” and self-impressed “hepcats,”…

Guilty as charged!

…anyone who approaches the material with child-like innocence will reap eternal rewards.

Kids are pretty sophisticated these days. I don’t think anybody finds Charlie the Hamster “rewarding”.

The Missiles of Roctober

Charlie the Hamster is the brain-fart of Floyd Robinson, a D-list country musician. One of the sites I found that tells a tiny bit about Robinson and Charlie is Roctober, a giant page that catalogs all human knowledge about Alvin and the Chipmunks and every predecessor, successor, clone, rip-off, and knockoff. Here’s what they have to say:

It seems that Floyd Robinson combined his love of country music, The Chipmunks, and Jesus Christ to make Charlie The Hamster. Charlie is less mischievous than Alvin but still jokes around. Floyd is less angry than David, he patiently chides Charlie. Charlie and Floyd seem fairly likable. They often sing together, occasionally letting Charlie’s lil’ cousins Huey and Stanley join in. Here’s some banter from the intro to “Think Jesus”: “Charlie, what do you like to think of most?” “Candy! Ice cream! Popcorn!” “Let me put it this way, Charlie: WHO do you like to think of most?” “That’s easy! Jesus!” Full band (guitar, bass, drums, organ) backs them up on these songs and the two instrumentals feature some good picking and strumming, Jew’s harp, and hiccuping. The front cover of the “Sunday School” LP shows Charlie and his lil’ cousins in their Sunday best in front of church. One cousin has a slingshot in his back pocket! The back cover has a photo of a grinning pompadoured Floyd posing with his guitar.

Charlie tells the story of his cousin, Lemiwinks.

The hamster on the left has obviously been asking some simple questions, such as “Aside from the Bible telling us it’s the word of God, how do we know that it is?” and “How could Noah have fit two of every animal on Earth into the ark?”.

Charlie the Hamster Teaches Bible Stories

Now let’s get to the part that you’ve all been waiting for: More Charlie! I’ve been scouring the internet for the last few days. I’ve managed to bag a dozen or so songs, so you have lots more of this to look forward to over the next few months!

This month, we’ll listen to the first two songs from Charlie the Hamster Teaches Bible Stories. I believe this is his second album. It was inflicted upon the public published in 1974. Here’s “It’s Fun To Live For Jesus”:

You need a Flash plug-in to hear this!

It’s Fun To Live For Jesus

Oh, I’m glad I live in a Christian nation
Where I can live my salvation
‘Cause I know, yes I know
that Jesus love me so

So I live my life for Him alone
‘Cause His love for me every day is shown
And I know, yes I know
That Jesus loves me so

Oh, it’s fun to live for Jesus
Hooray, hooray
Every time I can, I’ll take my stand, I’ll live my life for Jesus
Every day, I’ll say, I live my life for Jesus
‘Cause I know, that it’s so, I live my life for Jesus

(repeat all)

It’s funny. I don’t mean the song. I mean it’s funny that I had just assumed that Charlie lived in the United States. The first line tells us that he doesn’t. As we all know, the U.S. is not a Christian nation. It wasn’t founded on the Ten Commandments, and there is no mention of God in the Constitution.

The melody provides the essential clue. The constitution of the Confederate States of America was god-based. Charlie’s a reb!

Charlie's car

Charlie Duke

The second song on the album is “Sunday School”:

You need a Flash plug-in to hear this!

Sunday School

Sunday school, Sunday school, how I love Sunday school
Yes, I do
I study and learn, I play and have fun
Yes, I do

I learn about things that are good and true
And learn about things that I should not do

Sunday school, Sunday school, how I love Sunday school
Yes, I do
It brings such joy to girls and to boys
Yes, it’s true

All the week long, I just sing this song
How I love Sunday School

(repeat all)

I must not have attended Charlie’s Sunday school. The only joy I remember from Sunday school was the time they gave us cardboard cube banks. We were supposed to do chores to earn money to put into the bank, then bring them back the next week and donate the money to the church. That didn’t seem like such a good deal to me, so immediately after class, my brother and I used the banks as soccer balls. That was fun. The matronly Sunday school teacher had a look of pure horror and failure on her face, but she didn’t say anything. I guess she knew at that point what it would take me several more years to figure out: I didn’t belong there.

But apparently Charlie does. Or at least he thinks he does. Sorry, Charlie! God doesn’t want souls with good taste. God wants souls that taste good! And to him, only human souls taste good!

Yes, in addition to the regular lie that Charlie is being told (i.e., “God exists”), they’ve also neglected to tell him that animals don’t have souls! Charlie’s not going anywhere when he dies, except into a shoebox that Floyd will bury in the backyard.

All Ears

Back by Unpopular Demand, Squirrely!

I know this violates the Geneva Convention, but George Bush pulled us out of that. I am reposting here that horrible cut from All Ears, the Radio Shack CB radio album. Yes, I give to you: Squirrely!

(Warning! Those of you who are still pissed off about my little “It’s a Small World” prank a few posts back should definitely not play this song! You have been warned!)

You need a Flash plug-in to hear this!

The reason I’ve reposted this is because I stumbled across some information about it. Who would have thought that anybody knew anything about this vile turd? But on that same Roctober page that tells us about Charlie, I found a description of three albums starring “Shirley, Squirrely, and Melvin” in 1981 and 1982. Roctober tells us:

And so without missing a beat this trio debuted featuring a couple of Blues Brothers type boy-squirrels (Melvin played sax and guitar, Squirrely picked up percussion and laid some guitar licks in as well) and a hot diva frontwoman with a huge tail.

OK, but those albums were five and six years after the Radio Shack album. Well, just read a little farther up the page, and you’ll see the story of “Hey Shirley (This Is Squirrely)”:

Apparently two-thirds of Shirley, Squirrely & Melvin had a prehistory. Before Excelsior Records resurrected them as the successors to the departed Chipmunks, they made an icky-cute country & western novelty single cashing in on the CB radio craze. For a group of rodents (in this case, squirrels), they have a lot of vocal range. While Squirrely gets his mack on with Shirley, there’s probably about umpteen different voices breaking in on the line (including a proper British accent and a stuttering Porky Pig knockoff). And you can tell each and every one apart. Can’t do that with the Chipmunks (especially after the Chipettes moved in). The other side is the instrumental backing track. Radio Shack carried a comp LP featuring this track to help advertise the various CB radios they sold at the time.

So you see, every torture device has its story!

11 Responses to “Chipmunks, Hamsters, and Squirrels”

  1. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Minor historical correct, Ron. Apple ripped off Xerox with the Mac a decade before Microsoft did. Microsoft’s first “windowed” UI was a far, far departure from the de facto Xerox/Apple standard. Windows 1.0 was, well, original at least. But, frankly, it sucked hard, which is why Microsoft then adopted the more familiar Mac/Xerox style for Windows 2.0, which has been the base for the UI we are all familiar with ever since. Pretty damn amazing that Xerox PARC did what they did when they did it!

    Oh yea and somewhere along in there “X Windows” came into the Unix world, but seriously. Who cares? 😉

    Oh and to bring this back on to topic (well, sorta), Apple’s core OS being code-named “Darwin” has got many a fundie’s panties twisted into a tight knot. And they even kept the little devil ears from the FreeBSD project’s logo in the Darwin logo (Darwin shared a lot of sour code with FreeBSD). I may not be fond of Apple for my computing needs, but WOW can I respect ol’ Steve Jobs for that one!

  2. Ron Britton Says:

    ParrotLover:

    I left Apple out of that timeline, because I was talking about cheap, crappy knockoffs.

    BTW, somewhere on the internet there’s a fake ministry that’s griping about the whole Darwin/BSD thing. I’ll try to find it later.

  3. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Touché!

    I’m a Microsoft guy by trade, so I guess I’m a bit biased. 😉

    Yes I’ve seen some pages that discuss it. They all invoked Poe’s Law as I could not tell if they were real or not.

  4. LadyRavana Says:

    I find it surprised this guy wasn’t sued for copyright infringment. Didn’t they have copyright laws back then, late 70’s-early 80’s?

    But then, I guess Charlie’s fanbase didn’t amout to enough, and that this bizarre singing critter wasn’t even a blip on the pop culture radar.

  5. Ron Britton Says:

    Actually, he did get sued. That’s what ended Charlie’s career. I was saving that tidbit for a future post. I also have two non-Charlie songs from Floyd Robinson that you’ll have to wait for. (Oh, the anticipation!)

  6. LadyRavana Says:

    *blinks*

    Dude, the grammar in my last post is atrocious. *winces*

    …I’m decently educated, I swear.

    And Ron, you’re pure evil. You do know this, right? I have that awful, awful little voice stuck in my head.

    *pops in her Within Temptation CD to drown out the obnoxious super-Christy helium cartoon hamster voice*

  7. Sue Blue Says:

    Chipmunks for Christ, Gophers for God, Mice for the Messiah. I think I’ll just open that second bottle of BV. Maybe that’ll finally blot out the hideous little anthropomorphic imp’s squealing voice.

    Like Lady R, I’m friggin’ traumatized here, Ron!

  8. davros Says:

    yea me
    the music does not play for me
    so i do not have music memes destroying my brain

  9. Dan Bouchard Says:

    I use to have the 8 track And I cant find this song anywhere and I want it “Hey Shirley (This is Squirrely)”

  10. Kathy Partlow Says:

    I was briefly cheered by the mis-recognition of Floyd Robinson as one Floyd Robertson, as played by Joe Flaherty on SCTV. However, it is evident that the real Floyd has considerably less talent and should never have been released upon the public’s innocent ears.

  11. Adrian Jones Says:

    Floyd Robinson is at the top of my list of friends. Floyd, where are you?

    Adrian Jones