Minnie and I

Minnie and I

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chip & Dale (& Clarice) Through the Years 1955-Present

1955-1959: Ice Capades
The first introduction of Chip, Dale and Clarice to Disneyland was in 1955 using the Ice Capades costumes. Chip, Dale and Clarice used the same body and the same head design without any character characteristics, like Chip's "chocolate chip" nose and Dale's two front teeth. They all had the same head with a red nose and the same eyes. What made each other different from each other was that Chip and Dale would wear men's apparel while Clarice would wear an apron or a flower or simple poncho.

Dale and Clarice at Disneyland, 1959. davelandweb.com

1960-1968: The Common Chip and Dale
Disney has created their own version of Chip and Dale. Similar to the Ice Capades, this version had different heads and different bodies. Chip and Dale had a white snout, and like before, they shared the same head, with no character characteristics. The chipmunks stop using men's apparel, because they eliminated Clarice.

Either Chip or Dale at Disneyland, 1960. davelandweb.com

1968-1982: Chipmunks on Steroids
The Disney costume department has updated version of Chip and Dale. They have designed Chip and Dale with more cartoony bodies and heads. Chip and Dale have five fingers.

These costumes were designed with fairly huge heads. The performer requirements for these chipmunks was about 5'5'' to 5'7'' and with the heads on, they made the chipmunks look huge, monstrous. When you think of chipmunks, you think of cute, small, little creatures, not goofy looking chipmunks just released from a experimental science lab. Other than the huge heads, the costumes were designed pretty nice for the time period.

Chip and Dale at Disney World, 1970. credit

1982-Present: Modern Chip and Dale
Chip and Dale receive a make-over. They now have lighter (in weight) bodies, smaller feet and they are now four fingered. Their heads are smaller than before, with a cartoony look and characteristics. These heads have eliminated the extra neck fabric that the previous one had.

Chip and Dale today, 2007. Flickr User: coyotelady

Chip, Dale and I at Hollywood Studios, 2017

2005-Present: Angry Clarice
Mad about you? Clarice sure is mad about Chip and Dale, literally. Clarice was intruded to the meet and greet family in 2005. She might have been introduced in the early 2000's, but the earliest date I could find was 2005. The reason I call Clarice "Angry Clarice" because of the expression on her face. The costume designers has chosen to give Clarice her flirty, diva face she has when she's singing in the short "Two chips and a miss." The problem is that the "flirty" expression looks fine in the cartoon, but as a permanent expression on a mascot, it looks like she's mad, specially the eyes. Her eyes have the expression "I'm going to chase you with a nutcracker" than "come and meet me." At least her mouth shows happiness.

As a mascot designer myself, the key element in a character head is the eyes, specially for little kids. Children immediately make direct eye contact with a mascot character. If they can't see the eyes or the eyes have the "wrong" expression, they will get scared. I know the Disney designers mean well when they designed Clarice, but I would change her eyes to an happier expression to match her two happy boyfriends. I adore the costume version of Clarice, but her eyes, why she mad at me?

Clarice at Disney Hollywood Studios, 2007. Flickr User: wishwithcody

Diva, flirty expression.

Happy, surprised expression.

2010-Present: Talking 'Munks
Chip and Dale join the articulated head family. They are now able to open and close their mouths and blink. These heads are different than their regular heads, altho very similar. The articulated heads are shaggier than regular ones. Also the bodies of the articulated versions are larger and modified to meet the performing standards that require these special heads.

These versions of Chip and Dale only appear during the holidays at Disney World and promotional events, like Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Lines.

Clear view of articulated Chip and Dale. video link


  1. the modern chip and dale we're introduced in 1981

  2. You also forgot to mention their common forms in their Rescue Ranger (i.e. Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones & Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.) outfits from the Disney Afternoon's Afternoon Avenue stage show (Plane Crazy within the former Videopolis theater at Disneyland & the Mickey's Starland show in Mickey's Towntown Fair at Disney World), which were also meet 'n greets (Gadget Hackwrench also appeared too, since she was the most popular of Chip 'n Dale's new team of rodent heroes) and even used in a 1991 fire safety & presentation special.