As a kid, there was nothing quite like spending a long, raucous day living it up at Chuck E. Cheese's: riding out to the strip mall in your mom's car, entering the most sacred of pizza palaces, and sprinting through its carpeted expanse, challenging other kids to more games of Whack-a-Mole or Skee Ball than you could count. But when reeling in all those sweet, sweet tickets proved exhausting, it always came as a relief to finally sit down with a few pitchers of orange Crush and dig into a heaping mound of cheap pizza. It was then that the most magical hour of the day struck: The lights went down, the disco ball began to spin, and Munch's Make-Believe Band—the greatest animatronic rock group of all time—took the stage.
Bad news, folks: After jamming for more than two decades, it looks like the band is breaking up.
According to CBS News, Chuck E. Cheese's is getting a major corporate redesign. Along with revamping the menu, overhauling the interior, and installing a few newfangled video games, CEO Tom Leverton apparently decided it was also time to send the band packing.
The company plans to remodel four locations in San Antonio, Texas, and three in Kansas City, Missouri, trading out the lovable (if vaguely terrifying) robotic band for a big dance floor where kids can boogie with a live version of Mr. Cheese himself. Leverton told CBS that kids "stopped looking at the animatronics years and years ago," though it's hard to imagine anyone would want to look away from a set like this:
Though the company doesn't have definitive plans to eliminate the band from all its locations, Leverton said he's got a "strong hypothesis" that Munch's Make-Believe Band will eventually get canned completely.
It's a sad day for Mr. Munch, a keyboardist and vocalist whose resemblance to Grimace has somehow never provoked a lawsuit from McDonald's. So too for Pasqually E. Pieplate, pizza chef and acclaimed percussionist, who always managed to keep a beat even if his arms couldn't reach the high hat. Very large dog Jasper T. Jowls could shred, and equally large chicken Helen Henny laid down some buttery harmonies. All Chuck ever did was stand there and soak in the glory, lip-syncing occasionally to the voice of Barney's Duncan Brannan before Bowling for Soup's Jaret Reddick took over the voice-acting gig in 2012.
So long, Munch's Make-Believe Band. It might be time for you to exit this cruel world, but you'll always live on in our dreams—or, rather, our nightmares.
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