Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Helen Henny and Mr. Munch Call It Quits

CEC Entertainment, the parent company that owns the Chuck E. Cheese chain of pizza restaurants (Where a kid can be a kid and where an adult can be a complete assclown), recently announced that they are retiring Munch's Make Believe Band from its restaurants. The company believes that the animatronic band is too outdated to retain the modern child's attention for very long. A dance floor will be put in its place so that kids can rock out in their own way.

Munch's Make Believe Band, which featured Chuck E. Cheese, Helen Henny, Mr. Munch, Jasper Jowels and Pasqually, had been created from the bones of Showbiz Pizza's band, The Rock-afire Explosion in the aftermath of the acquisition of Chuck E. Cheese by Showbiz Pizza. Chuck E. Cheese had filed bankruptcy in the wake of the Atari crisis in 1983 (since the restaurant was basically an Atari-exclusive arcade that served pizza ) which allowed Showbiz Pizza to buy them out and then unify the brand under the more recognizable Chuck E. Cheese name. The new band members were just frankensteined onto the robotic hardware of the old ones. This sort of imagery is likely one of the influences for the popular mobile game Five Nights at Freddy's.

Since decommissioning of Munch's Make Believe Band began last month, ensembles have begun popping up for sale on Ebay and Craigslist. One has to wonder what an 80s-ers animatronic band would go for. Maybe 100,000 skee-ball tickets? No, that's barely enough to buy one of those plastic spider rings these days.

Still, if the price is right, it sounds like a perfect opportunity for someone to open up a real life Freddy Fazbear's Pizza on the cheap. I'd imagine that finding someone to work night security might be an issue. Personally, if I happened to get hold of one, I'd mock it up to look like an Bullwinkle Moose knock-off, put it on my front porch and program it to say "Sorry, folks! We're closed for two weeks to clean and repair America's favorite family fun park. Sorry!" whenever someone rang my doorbell. Maybe Disney Theme Parks could buy a few bands and put them in the Country Bear Jamboree or make them the house band in the Hall of Presidents.

While we're on the topic, I'd like to mention two things related to the Rock-afire explosion. First, is the excellent documentary on the band, its creator and its long-time fans:

The creator of the Rock-afire Explosion, Aaron Fechter is keeping busy and is keeping the band alive for the fans. He occasionally makes videos of the Rock-afire Explosion covering modern songs. Whether or not you're a fan, you have to admire the dedication Aaron Fechter. The programming and maintenance alone likely involve a significant investment in time and energy. Here's a video of the band covering Cee-Lo Green:

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