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Where a kid can be a kid!

Does anyone remember Showbiz Pizza, the brother/sister restaurant of the more illustrious Chuckie Cheese? I certainly do, looking forward to birthday parties and special events – with a decadence in theming and fun beaten only by regional theme parks Tweetsie, Carrowinds, and of course WDW. More on those other parks later.

Regardless, in doing some research for a future blog on the Country Bear Jamboree, I came across this site with some enjoyable and hilarious information. Some information is downright frightening. I cannot believe parents used to take their children to this! Such close proximity to such horrific creatures.

How it relates to our Disney blog? Well, not only was this attraction based on the Country Bear Jamboree, which will be further viewed in expose form in the future, but visionary Nolan Bushnell was admittedly turned down by Disney in the 70’s, as the website boasts.

Bushnell’s experience in the amusement park industry was also very influential to the entertainment aspect of Pizza Time Theatre, as was Bushnell’s love of Disney. Nolan had actually been turned down several times for employment by Disney, as he wanted very much to work there after graduating college.

Anyway, it’s a pretty interesting story starting with Pong and the founding of Atari, and ending in generally frightening animatronics and 80’s grandeur. The history page here is compelling, as is the Rock-A-Fire Explosion Page, The Pizza Time Players Page (from Chuckie Cheese’s), as well as the more modern Billy Bob’s Blog and Video Archive on Youtube.

Of course, you can jump to all these from the main page. Hope you enjoy, and are somewhat horrified. Or simply relive fond memories of the past.

Incidentally, I had a hard time picking out my favorite character. The pull of Uncle Klunk, Antioch the Birthday Spider, and Baby Bear Choo Choo were all strong. But in the end, my country came first.

character_liberty.jpg

Statue of Liberty

Voice – ???? Listen to Liberty Sound Clip
–>

The Statue of Liberty was introduced in 1986 in a special show to celebrate the Statue’s 100th birthday, but continued to be used after that. During the summertime around Independance Day, Rolfe and Earl would be removed and Liberty would replace them. The rest of the Rock-afire Gang then preformed a special show full of American themed songs.

 

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4 comments to Where a kid can be a kid!

  • [...] other day I wrote a blog about Showbiz Pizza Place , a lighthearted tribute to a well enjoyed somewhat frightening institution of the ’80s. [...]

  • Tweetsie? Carowinds?

    You live in North Carolina?

    Small world!

  • I’ve noticed that there seems to be an odd concentration of Disney bloggers in NC… strange!

  • wow. that takes me back…

    showbiz pizza was the locale for many childhood birthday parties…not my own, of course. my parents weren’t that masochistic. i associate SP with those awkward parties around age 6 where i didn’t really know the kid, but maybe they went to my school or their mom knew my mom and we’d get an invitation in the mail and mom would say, “do you want to go to so&so’s birthday?” and i really didn’t but i could tell it was kind of a rhetorical question so i’d get hauled off to the mall to go through the agonizing process of picking out a present for someone i knew next to nothing about, which wouldn’t have been a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that parents always insisted on having their kid open gifts in front of everyone and you could soooo tell if they liked it or not, and then on to the main event, the shy kid’s nightmare of noise, seizure-inducing lights, creepy men in oversized animal costumes and of course, singing animatronics.

    the older i get, the more i can appreciate how harmless things can seem sinister to a kid. or maybe i was more easily traumatized than most. on the upside, i’m pretty sure that showbiz pizza is where i first played the star wars video game that had a little ship that you sat in and you had to blow up the death star while a voice said “use the force, luke!”* and somehow that makes it all ok.

    *unless i just imagined the voice. hmmmm…

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