In the late 50's, Ross Bagdasarian, recording under the stage name David Seville, released the novelty single, "Witch Doctor". That went over pretty big, such that for his next trick, Bagdasarian took advantage of the oddball sounds used on that track and created Alvin & the Chipmunks, who debuted with the holiday single, "The Chipmunk Song", in 1958.
Three years later, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and Seville came to television in The Alvin Show, CBS' latest entry in the primetime animation sweepstakes. The network had experimented with nighttime toons before, mostly with Terrytoons characters not named Mighty Mouse or Heckle & Jeckle, who were reserved for their Saturday morning block. Unfortunately, like Top Cat over on ABC, The Alvin Show lasted just one season, then went into syndication, where the title was changed to Alvin & the Chipmunks. In 1979, NBC picked up the show as a mid-season replacement for one of their flops, and that's where I first discovered the show.
There were 4 segments squeezed into a half-hour. One Alvin short, two musical numbers, and a short featuring pseudo-scientist Clyde Crashcup, who tried to take credit for inventing certain things that were already established, with disastrous results.
Edit: 3/27/15: After previous videos have been deleted by YouTube, we're hoping this trailer for a DVD release of the series will survive.
In the 90's, after the 1983 revival had ended, The Alvin Show resurfaced on Nickelodeon, with the network logo splashed all over the open, just for the sake of the network's corporate ego. After a year, it was incorporated into the variety-anthology series, Weinerville, and when that series was cancelled, Alvin faded from view, and this series hasn't been back since, not even on DVD.
Clyde Crashcup would not return until Alvin had moved from NBC to Fox in the early 90's, appearing in a parody of "Back To The Future". You can guess the role he played. Suffice to say, that was the last anyone has seen of ol' Clyde. Of course, Alvin has carried on, with a series of animated DTV movies, and, since 2007, a series of CGI/live-action movies with Jason Lee (ex-My Name Is Earl) as Seville. For the record, CBS did move the series to Saturdays after the primetime run ended, but apparently it didn't work out too well there, either.