Most adults reading this are probably pretty familiar with the Alvin in the middle of the above image, while the kids know the one on the right. If you take a close look at the two, they aren't too dissimilar. Clearly, the animators embraced the newest technology when making Alvin and the Chipmunks for a 21st century audience, but kept the general look of the character. They modified his clothing a little bit, and certainly for the better. What exactly was that muumuu-looking thing he was sporting in the '80s, anyways?
Actually, forget about the animated versions of the character for a second and feast your eyes on the little guy in the far-left of the image above. Believe it or not, that thing is Alvin.
Before they ever had a chance to entertain children on television, the Chipmunks got their start recording novelty albums. To be clear, it was a guy named Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. speeding up his voice — not actual chipmunks singing in a recording studio. Sorry to break it to you.
The first album, Let's All Sing with the Chipmunks, debuted in 1958, and the cover featured the three chipmunks who looked, more or less, like actual chipmunks. Following the success of the album, the kiddie crooners debuted in 1961 on a show you have never heard of called The Alvin Show, sporting the animated makeover we are all more familiar with.