First up, I piqued the curiosity of David Caffey when he was listening to a recent podcast:
Jeff – You just can’t toss out a name Clarice Chipmunk on WDW Radio without providing a little more info on 2719 – I’m now going acorns trying to find out more about her and see a picture. Hows about a short blog entry about this star of the Acorn Club (that’s all I could really find). Thanks for all you do!
Thanks for writing, David. Clarice, sadly, was a victim of the very era she was born into.
A new generation of characters began to emerge in Disney cartoons in 1950s. Humphrey Bear and Ranger Woodlore grew out of the Donald Duck shorts into adventures of their own, specifically In the Bag and Hooked Bear, both released in 1956. Chip 'n' Dale had also spun off into cartoons of their own, and it was in one of those efforts, Two Chips and a Miss from 1952, where we encounter the nightclub vamping Clarice in her one and only appearance. But unfortunately for all these then rising toon stars, within a few years, production of cartoon shorts would all but dissolve at Disney. Clarice was subsequently never brought back for a return engagement.
Two Chips and a Miss was an unusual outing for Chip and Dale. It was a rare instance where the two were rivals instead of partners. And for all her cuteness, Clarice was no innocent. She deliberately plays the boys against each other with competing invitations to meet her at the Acorn Club, and clearly takes pleasure when their rivalry later comes to blows. There can be little doubt that director Jack Hannah was taking inspiration from Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood series of shorts at MGM. In fact, one very funny gag has the pair's heads morphing into wolf features that, in context to the setting, bears a direct connection to Avery's "Wolfie" character from the Red shorts.
Despite her one night stand in cartoon history, Clarice lives anew, albeit just not in animated form. Her entertainment resume has recently earned her a spot as a walk around character at Disney's Hollywood Studios. She even sports her original Acorn Club costume.
Screenshots © Walt Disney Company