What child of the 1990s doesn’t have a soft spot in their heart for Chuck E. Cheese, the wisecracking, skateboarding, backwards-hat-wearing, Poochie-esque rat who pulls fast ones on parents to ensure that every day is a video-games-and-pizza party kind of day? Some kids found pure joy in the ball pit, some attained spiritual awakenings at the all-too-accessible soda fountain, and others – okay, well nobody ever found joy in the pizza, but any kid will tell you that actually sitting down for a minute and eating at Chuck E. Cheese’s is kind of an afterthought.
Anyway, we’ve all grown up knowing one incarnation of Chuck E. Cheese, but he wasn’t the first –children of the late 1970s and 1980s knew an entirely different Chuck E. Cheese, a rattier cigar-puffing kind of guy with a bowler hat and a weird ringmaster vibe. What’s more, he won’t be the last. In an attempt to reach out to a new and decidedly less TOTALLY-RADICAL generation and make Millenials tear their laptops asunder in “ruining my childhood” rage, Chuck E. Cheese’s is rebranding its mascot.
RELATED STORIES FROM FOOD AND DRINK DIGITAL
- Alaska Town Graced with 10,000 Free Doritos Locos Tacos
- Kuwait an Appealing Option for Expanding Franchises
- Franchises Take On India
- CLICK HERE TO READ THE LATEST EDITION OF FOOD & DRINK DIGITAL
According to the Associated Press,this may have something to do with sales (read: this has everything to do with sales):
In May, [Chuck E. Cheese operator CEC Entertainment] said revenue at its locations open at least a year fell 4.2 percent in the first quarter. The company also lowered its outlook for the year, citing factors such as higher prices for cheddar cheese and rent.
Still, despite the obvious fact that Mr. Cheese’s outrageous demands of penthouse loft accommodations and a steady diet of fine cheddar despite declining profits had begun to take their toll on the business and left CEC entertainment with no choice but to bail out, one has to admit that the company was kind of harsh in its handling of the situation. If Duncan Brannan, who voiced Chuck since 1993, is to be believed in the statement he released to Chuck E. Cheese fan site Showbiz Pizza, he only found out he’d been let go when a fan pointed him to the latest promotion featuring the new revamped rat and “Chuck’s Hot New Single.” CEC Entertainment apparently responded to the press by saying that Brannan wasn't fired but that the company instead "chose to utilize new voice talent." Semantics!
But how about that replacement, eh? What could be hipper and cooler with the kids than a man-sized skateboarding rat? How about a tiny teenaged computer-generated guitar-slinging “rock star” voiced by Bowling for Soup lead singer Jaret Reddick? (We have to assume Skrillex had a conflicting schedule.)
Exactly what the kids love: playing Guitar Hero (last release date: 2010) with Dad. And so it goes. All we can say is: farewell, sweet prince, and happy trails on your way back to your home planet where a kid can be a kid.