You Can Buy One of Chuck E. Cheese’s Dearly Departed Animatronic Bands for $5,000 on Craigslist
In August, we brought you the sad news that Chuck E. Cheese will soon be phasing out the animatronic bands that have been delighting and terrifying young patrons at the birthday party emporium for decades. But if you’re having a hard time imagining a life without the soulless gaze of creatures damned to eternally reenact the same crass performance for an endless stream of uncaring audiences, you’re in luck: an anonymous Craigslist user in Visalia, California, is offloading a circa-1985 Beach Bowzers Band set with Cabaret stage for the low price of $5,000.
The Beach Bowzers aren’t the best-known act ever to grace the grease-stained stage at Chuck’s–that would be Munch’s Make Believe Band, formerly known as the Rock-afire Explosion–but they nonetheless contributed essential work to the canon of rock songs by animatronic pizza slaves. Here’s what their brief entry on a Chuck E. Cheese fan wiki has to say:
The Beach Bowzers are another group of dogs that played in the Cabaret side dining rooms at Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. They were designed to resemble The Beach Boys, who were programmed to sing Beach Boys songs in their original recordings. The Beach Bowzers’ animatronics were retrofitted from The Beagles.
In 1990, The Beach Bowzers’ voices were changed to ones resembling those of stereotypical surfers, and also barked randomly from time to time, similar to the way that Helen Henny would cluck.
The set for sale on Craigslist “hasn’t been used in a few years” according to its listing, and its owner notes that he or she doesn’t “know how to operate” it. Whether you’re a casual tinkerer or a collector whose hallways echo with the pathetic final gasps of those who spent their golden years as mere court jesters for petulant children, it’s a deal worth considering. If you’re an interested buyer but unsure what to do with your new singing hell dogs, check out SPIN’s 2008 feature on hobbyists who hacked Rock-afire Explosion sets to play Bubba Sparxxx and MGMT songs here.