Clyde and Leonardo, from a comic book cover. Artist: John Stanley.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Format Films
First Appeared: 1961
Creator: Ross Bagdasarian
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Clyde Crashcup was a crazy inventor, in the grand tradition of Gyro Gearloose, O.G. Wotasnozzle and Wallace, of Wallace & Gromit. But whereas Gyro tackled such difficult tasks as sky hooks and …

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… steam-powered rockets, and Wallace's house is packed solid with unheard-of conveniences … Clyde's inventions include such virtuoso performances as the bathtub, the chair and the stove. What's more, he didn't even sully his hands with wrenches and screwdrivers — Clyde did his inventing with a magic pencil that turned his line drawings into three-dimensional realities.

Clyde's inventing career began with the first Saturday morning TV version of Alvin & the Chipmunks, which debuted on October 4, 1961. He had one of four segments. The Chipmunks starred in the other three, two of which were sing-alongs.

His voice was provided by Shepard Menken, who was also heard on many other cartoon shows, including Thundarr the Barbarian and Super President. His was the only voice heard in most episodes, because the only other character in the series was his assistant, Leonardo, who spoke only into Clyde's ear. An exception was the episode in which Clyde invented a wife — her voice was done by June Foray (Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Witch Hazel).

Dell Comics handled Clyde in one of his few media spin-offs, five issues of a comic book, published in 1963 and '64. The comics are sought after by today's collectors, because all five were written and laid out by cartoonist John Stanley, whose work on Melvin Monster, O.G. Whiz and Little Lulu is considered classic. In 1965, he was the subject of a Wonder Book (knock-offs of Little Golden Books), written and drawn by Bob Kurtz.

But when the comic books were through, so was Clyde himself. He returned briefly in 1990, in a Chipmunks video titled Back to Alvin's Future. Other than that, tho fondly recalled by a generation of Saturday morning TV viewers, Clyde Crashcup hasn't been seen in a long, long time.


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Text ©2002-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Bagdassarian.