The kids' entertainment center is being rebranded.
Chuck E. Cheese, which has been, since the late seventies, a staple of the American childhood, is getting a much-needed update. Personally, I have only pleasant memories of time spent there—in the late nineties Chuck E. Cheese was an arcade and pizza parlor, and the fact that the mascot is actually a giant rodent didn’t seem to phase me. But the birthday party and gaming emporium now want to change the décor, transforming the interiors with, “muted colors, sleeker furniture, and brighter lighting,” according to CNBC, to make the experience of hanging out there for hours on end more endurable for adults. Part of that process? Ditching the animatronic bands that used to play shows for the kids, one of which just sold for $5,000 on Craigslist.
Robotic versions of Chuck E. Cheese—full name Charles Entertainment Cheese—and his friends would occasionally dance and sing for the kids as they played, but no longer. The bands have been rendered obsolete. A woman named Sue, of Visalia, California, recently sold one such band—dated 1985—to the Volo Auto Museum, in Illinois, which at one point inhabited a Chuck E. Cheese somewhere in America.
Sue’s parents recently passed away—they were married for seventy years, she tells me—and she’s now sorting through their estate. With no idea how to operate the extra large toy, which came with an instruction manual, and no desire to learn, she decided to sell the dust-covered, slightly creepy animatronic musicians (which, by the way, were named the Beach Bowzer's Band). Her parents were actually collectors of this kind of nostalgic memorabilia. They also owned vintage cars and carousels.
To see the band in action for yourself, you’ll now have to travel to Illinois. The memory of Chuck E. Cheeses past will now live on forever in the memories of kids—and their harried parents—who returned, weekend after weekend, to attend yet another eighth birthday party and eat a box cake from Safeway. Love live Chuck E. Cheese.