Chip ‘n Dale started all the way back in the 1940’s, originally in “Private Pluto” in 1943. The munks have been getting into trouble ever since—sometimes with Pluto, but everyone remembers the headaches, backaches, crying fits, etc, that they gave Donald Duck. Here are all the Chip’n Dale short titles I could find. You can find more on each of these at The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts
Private Pluto (1943) – Their first appearance, but they weren’t distinctive yet.
Squatter’s Rights (1946) – As Juan points out, the munks both have black noses in this one.
Chip ‘n Dale (1947) - The first time they’re mentioned by name
Three for Breakfast (1948) – The famous pancake episode.
Winter Storage (1949)
All in a Nutshell (1949) – The Nut Butter stand, one of my favorites.
Toy Tinkers (1949) – The first Christmas themed short.
Trailer Horn (1950)
Food for Feudin’ (1950) – Pluto returns as the munks’ adversary.
Out on a Limb (1950) – You knew Donald wouldn’t stay out of it for long.
Chicken in the Rough (1951) – A rare solo shot for the munks.
Corn Chips (1951)
Test Pilot Donald (1951) – Dale gets hold of Donald’s remote-control plane. Predecessor to the RangerPlane/Wing?
Out of Scale (1951) – See Juan F. Lara’s comments on this pre-Ranger episode below.
Donald Applecore (1952) – Source of the famous “applecore” joke.
Two Chips and a Miss (1952) – Probably the most famous short for the romance in it. See Juan’s comments on it below.
Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952) – The one I remember most, and the second Christmas-themed episode.
Working For Peanuts (1953)
The Lone Chipmunks (1954) – The funniest scene I can remember from an episode, where Pete ends up with an eggs-and-bacon face, courtesy of the munks! ;-)
Dragon Around (1954)
Up a Tree (1955)
Chips Ahoy (1956) – I have a small painting from a scene in this one somewhere.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
Walt Disney Home Video Cartoon, Classics Chip ‘n Dale with Donald Duck (Vol 1, 1983) – Chip ‘n Dale, Winter Storage, Up a Tree, Three for Breakfast, Out on a Limb, Corn Chips, Out of Scale.
Walt Disney Home Video Cartoon Classics (Vol 7, 1984) - Squatter’s Rights…only C&D short on the tape.
Walt Disney Home Video Cartoon Classics, The Continuing Adventures of Chip ‘n Dale featuring Donald Duck (Vol 11, 1985) – All in a Nutshell, Test Pilot Donald, Modern Inventions, Food for Feudin’, Old Sequoia, The Flying Jalopy, and the Toy Tinkers.
Walt Disney’s Cartoon Classics Starring Chip ‘n Dale (Vol 9, 1987) – Working for Peanuts, Donald Applecore, Dragon Around
Walt Disney’s Cartoon Classics Nuts about Chip ‘n Dale (Vol 12, 1989) – Trailer Horn, Food for Feudin’, Two Chips and a Miss
This information on the shorts comes from Juan F. Lara, an early (and still going!) Rangerphile:
The original voices for Chip & Dale were Jim Macdonald and Dessie Flynn. There were at least 24 Chip & Dale shorts, from 1943 through 1983. Now if only I can find copies of all of them...
The episode in which they both have black noses is "Squatter's Rights" (1946). The only classic Chip and Dale short that shares a name with Rescue Rangers (that I can think of at the moment) is Out Of Scale (1951). The original episode has the chips invading Donald Duck's miniature train set -- and includes a scene in which they set up house in a miniature house on the set. This is, of course, paralleled in the RR episode.
In the classic C&D short "Two Chips and a Miss", Chip and Dale join a certain lounge singer they are in love with for a couple of numbers. The short can be found on a video tape from Disney called "Nuts About Chip & Dale", which you can probably rent cheaply since its usually coded as "kids". Also in Two Chips and a Miss, Clarice sings at the nightclub called The Acorns.
The first song in “Two Chips” is called "My Destiny" and the second is "Little Girl". My Destiny": words by Mack David, music by Jerry Livingston. "Little Girl": words & music by Madeline Hyde & Francis Henry. "My Destiny" was popularized by Billy Eckstine in 1950 and "Little Girl" was popularized by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians in 1931.
Tad Stones created “Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers” with Jymn Magon which he went on to produce and story edit with Alan Zaslove and Bryce Malek, respectively. Let me preface all of Stones’ comments with his own disclaimer—Stones’ opinions are solely his own and not representative of Disney. Oh, and if Stones reads this and has additions/corrections, I’ll be sure to include them with proper acknowledgements.
From an online interview, April 12, 1997 - “Ducktales was hugely successful as was Rescue Rangers. Rescue Rangers was the most grueling [to work on]. There was a time I was working seven days a week—13 hours M-F, 8 hours on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday. I was just mentioning Chip and Dale the other day as examples of classic characters that could be repackaged in a new show. There could be a revival when the kids who loved the show have kids. So give it seven years or so.” (Stones’ full interview can be found here)
Some Ranger “facts”—some from Stones, some attributed to him—on the history and development of the Rangers.
“The Rescuers was one of the first shows pitched after the success of ‘Ducktales’. Jeffrey Katzenberg nixed the idea because they had plans for a sequel (which became “Rescuers Down Under”). When we developed ‘Metro Mice’ (which eventually became ‘Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers’) he said to ‘make this your ‘Rescuers’’.
“In many ways the Rescuers would be a better canvas for a series. Certainly there would be the chance of a repeating cast of international agents that would work with Bernard and Bianca. But at the center, I think the chipmunks were more appealing to kids than B & B since they felt like such middle-aged characters.
“We sent Speilberg tapes of Rescue Rangers at his request. I was told he pointed to the production values as something he wanted to imitate in Tiny Toons.”
[This is in Reference to House of Mouse being taken from the air, but could explain why the Rangers didn’t get any more new episodes] – “The economics of animation, at least at Disney, says that even popular shows stop after they get a full syndication package.”
When the chipmunks were introduced, and further revisions adopted, the final picture emerged. But Stones’ designs were a little more "edged". Gadget, especially, was less cute and more... attractive, I guess, is the right word.
Eisner - “Our biggest success in TV syndication is ‘The Disney Afternoon’, a two-hour segment of animated cartoons consisting of 30-minute episodes of ‘DuckTales’, ‘Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers’, ‘The Adventures of the Gummi Bears’ and ‘Tale Spin’, which debuted last fall.”
Wells - “Overseas, our Disney Club shows are top rated in France, the U.K., Holland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia and Venezuela--each of the eight countries where they are being carried. The combined average weekly audience of the Disney Clubs is nearly23 million, and new clubs are slated for launch in Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Denmark and Sweden in the months ahead.
During the past year, we've extended our television reach to four former Iron Curtain countries--the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Programming includes dubbed episodes of ‘DuckTales’, ‘Rescue Rangers’, and ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’.”
The picture at the top is from "Two Chips and A Miss" and is copyright Disney and is used without permission