If you’re a Gen Xer or Millennial of a certain age, you have absolutely celebrated anywhere from one to 1,000 birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese. The combination pizza parlor-arcade-indoor play area was, famously, the place where a kid could be a kid. And if you’ve been to Chuck E. Cheese, you’ve also seen the part of the experience that makes up many a core memory for those of us in that age bracket: the animatronic band fronted by Chuck himself.
Sadly, however, those days are coming to an end. The chain has announced that the iconic animatronic bands, made up of creepy, human-sized, anthropomorphic animals will officially be removed from all Chuck E. Cheese restaurants except one, in Northridge, California, near LA.
Chuck, the giant rat frontman himself, made the announcement on Nov. 2 at the Northridge location, where it was hilariously framed as the band setting up a Vegas-style “residency” at that singular restaurant.
“We love performing so much, it’s practically hard-wired into us,” he said, adding that the band will perform there every day.
David McKillips, President and CEO of CEC Entertainment, explained more.
“As an important part of the legacy of the brand, we know that the animatronic band holds a special place for many fans in their childhood memories,” he said. “We want our fans to know that the decision to keep the band here is meant as a gesture of love and gratitude as our legacy continues to evolve in new ways.”
He also added that the animatronics shows at Northridge will be “tailored more for adults,” suggesting that keeping the band at one location was a decision driven by nostalgia as other Chuck E. Cheese franchises move toward modern renovations with features like interactive dance floors, giant video screens, larger arcades, trampolines, and sports activities.