Have you ever heard of Chuck E. Cheese? Well of course you have. In a simple word, I'll describe how I feel about Chuck E. Cheese.....Sad.
Let me explain....
Once upon a time in the 80's, there was a magical place called Showbiz Pizza. The one I went to all through childhood was in a shopping center called Antioch Mall.
I grew up going there. The shopping, the food court, the bowling alley and my favorite place, Showbiz Pizza.
One of the major differences between Showbiz and Chuck is the anticipation that was available to a kid.
Chuck E. Cheese has the game area and an eating area, but in the eating area there is always something happening. Always commotion, never stillness. That giant mouse is always singing or gabbing and that area is always brightly lit.
Showbiz, on the other hand, had a dimly lit eating area to add mystery to what was going to happen.
There were three stages for performances. Stage ONE was the Wolfman who talked in a smoky, husky voice.
Stage TWO, you would find the best musical band to ever exist...The Rockafire Explosion!! Band members were: Mitzi Mozzarella on vocals was a mouse dressed as a cheerleader. Beach Bear on guitar. Duke Larue was a dog in a spacesuit who played the drums. And Fatz Geronimo on keyboards was a giant gorilla.
Stage THREE was the loveable Billy Bob bear with a puppet creature called Looney Bird.
The shows only ran every so often, so when you were playing video games or skeeball, you were also constantly looking over to the dining area to see if anything was about to happen. Anticipation at it's finest.
Finally, you would hear the curtain open and the action began. You stopped whatever game you were playing and speed walked as fast as you could to get a good seat for the show.
It only seemed natural to get a job there when I was in highschool. I was uniformed in khaki pants, a red Showbiz shirt and a visor with gigantic 80's hair climbing out the top of it.
I was a hostess/server and occasionally had to sing Happy Birthday to parties... via intercom.... that the entire place could hear.
I had mad highschool crushes there. Angst, drama, and excitement was all mixed into that job, the funnest job I ever had.
But one night, we were informed that there were to be some major changes. They were eliminating all our beloved characters on that stage to replace them with this giant mouse...Chuck E. Cheese.
Times, they were a changin. And they certainly did. I was there through the overhaul and it was heartbreaking to see. Out with the old and in with the new. It was the end of an era in my life.
I miss those times and I will never forget those memories at Showbiz Pizza... where a kid could really be a kid.
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