The Chipmunks: Rockin' Through the Decades is an animated television special featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks. It originally premiered on NBC in 1991. It was later released on VHS in 1992 as Rockin' with the Chipmunks.
The special is a nostalgic look at hit songs from the past five decades. Tidbits of popular songs are covered by the Chipmunks, with animated music videos to accompany the songs. The host of the live-action segments is Will Smith.
The Chipmunks: Rockin' Through the Decades provides examples of:
- Animation Bump: Alvin when he's in Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" and "Beat It" music videos, animated in a much more fluid manner to dance in better rhythm with the live-action Michael and backup dancers.
- Artistic Age: The reoccuring female chipmunk dresses and acts like an adult, but her size and relationship to the boys implies she's no older than the triplets (who are roughly 8-12).
- Borrowed Catchphrase: At the start of Will Smith's introduction to The '60s, Will is meditating dressed as a hippie, to which Alvin in voiceover says "Will? ... Will! ... WILL!!!!!" very much like how Dave Seville calls out Alvin's name.
- Lady in Red: The flirty female chipmunk in "Crocodile Rock" wears a sparkly red dress.
- No Name Given: The female chipmunk seen in "Crocodile Rock" and "Surfin' USA" is unnamed. She isn't one of the Chipettes and hasn't appeared anywhere else, but she heavily resembles Charlene (a prototype Chipette character who only appeared alongside Alvin on one album).
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Happens with the music videos...
- Alvin is inserted into Michael Jackson's music videos for "Smooth Criminal" and "Beat It" when The '80s are represented. An amusing bit happens in the latter when Michael appears to accidentally kick Alvin while kick-dancing.
- The entire "Sleigh Ride" rap number features the animated Chipmunks performing in a live-action alleyway with live-action background bums, along with animated graffiti on the brick wall. It also opens with a live-action Alvin talking on the phone while sitting in a live-action directors' chair.