The trio of singing chipmunks has been around for a long time. After a long absence, they have made a huge comeback with a live action movie and its many sequels. I think there’s another one coming soon.
But let’s look back on the versions that I remember growing up on, starting with The Alvin Show (1961-1962). This was a variety series that featured the songs and misadventures of Alvin the self-centered schemer, Simon the science whiz, and Theodore the sweet food enthusiast.
Then of course we have David Seville the songwriter, who is the Chipmunks’ adoptive father and manager. Dave cares for them, but tends to lose his temper, especially when Alvin acts up.
You can really tell that the animation is a similar style to what you would see on The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends or The 3 Stooges animated series. More importantly I’d like to point out that if you listen closely, the pacing of the Chipmunks’ speaking voices sound a bit delayed compared to the other characters. I believe that it has to do with the Chipmunks’ voices being sped up to sound higher pitched, so the voice actor(s) had to talk slowly to make it sound normal when the dialogue was sped up.
Another common segment on The Alvin Show is about Clyde Crashcup the scientist/inventor. Clyde demonstrates his inventions, which are really items that were already invented, but provides his own personal touches. However, many of these inventions backfire and tend to blow up in his face, literally if not metaphorically.
Clyde’s lab assistant Leonardo is silent but levelheaded. He only communicates by whispering in Clyde’s ear. I never understood why Leonardo never spoke.
Long after that series came Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990), where many of the Chipmunks’ misadventures were about Alvin’s scheming which always gets him and his brothers into trouble. It seems that Alvin will do anything to stay famous, or get out of schoolwork.
These are some collective figurines from this version of Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Shortly into this series the Chipettes were introduced into the franchise. They are basically female counterparts of the Chipmunks. First is Brittany who is much like Alvin in the ways of self-centeredness. Second is Janet who is like Simon only clumsier. Then there’s Eleanor who is like Theodore when it comes to food and her sweet nature.
The Chipmunks never seem to grow old. All that really changes is their music style. In the later seasons, Alvin’s schemes become even more intense, which made the series unwatchable in my opinion. However, there was an exception with Chipmunks go to the Movies, which featured the Chipmunks and Chipettes in a series of features based on popular movies.
Those were the Chipmunks shows of the past that still remain classic. Though I should point out that Clyde Crashcup was hardly ever featured again after The Alvin Show. I wonder if he’ll ever make a comeback someday.