When I was a young, Chuck E. Cheese was targeted for a demographic that was older than me and I loved it. Then when I got older they skewed younger and younger until it lost is relevancy for me at about age 12. Still, their was a time when seeing this commercial would trigger a wave of tearful begging that no mother could resist. If I kept it up for a week or so, we would drive up to the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ and I would hardly be able to contain myself as we pulled into the Chuck E Cheese parking lot. 3 Slices, 2 sodas and 16 video games later I could be found sound asleep in the ball pit, dreaming of my next visit.
If you grew up in the 80s like I did, you’ll remember that Chuck E. Cheese once looked like this:
The earliest version of Chuck E. Cheese can be identified by his red and yellow color scheme, and his “rat-like” facial features including the elongated snout. There are several different versions of the early “Chuck,” but they all pretty much look like this.
In the mid-90s, Chuck received his first big makeover. His trademark derby was replaced with a baseball cap, and his red and yellow color scheme was updated to a funkier purple and green. The 90s were a very funky time. For all the things this version of Chuck E. Cheese gained, he lost at least one thing — his tail. (Some early versions of Chuck E. Cheese also had a cigar; he lost that, too.)
This version of Chuck E. Cheese has been in use from the mid-90s until this month (July, 2012), when the restaurant (in response to sliding restaurant sales) introduced a newer, even more hip version of “the Chuckster.” Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you “Gen 3” Chuck E. Cheese.
As you can see, the hat’s completely gone now. While the first generation Chuck E. Cheese was often shown sporting a cane, this one’s rocking a Gibson guitar. In a coolness battle between walking canes and guitars, I guess I would go with the guitar. The purple and green color scheme is still there on the shirt. I don’t remember what kind of shoes Chuck originally wore (I’m pretty sure he’s barefoot in some of the collectibles I own), but now he’s rockin’ a pair of red Converse shoes. Oh, and the tail’s back.
Chuck E. Cheese’s latest makeover comes along with a voice change. The new Chuck is voiced by Jaret Reddick, lead singer of the band Bowling for Soup. Reddick has already lent his voice to one Chuck E. Cheese song (“Chuck’s Hot New Single”), so maybe along with pizza and video games, Chuck will make his way onto the pop charts as well.
For a bit more information about the origins of the Chuck E. Cheese character, check out the history over at ShowbizPizza.com.
Needless to say, in junior high we all thought this ad was hilarious.
When this commercial would play on my local TV as a kid, it would just about cause my head to explode. That location in Wayne, NJ was right next to the mall my family liked to visit and I would BEG to go just about every weekend. I can still taste the scalding hot pizza and the flat soda pop…