Remember Showbiz Pizza Place?

Remember? Some are still open in the D/FW area.

— Alan

Sure, but they’re down to just the mouse; the vibe has changed since the 80s, when they were dank and filled with chanting hillbilly robots.

Has anyone seen the recent “Dexter’s Laboratory” mockery of Chuck E. Cheese? Pretty funny. Chuck is presented as an unshaven, depressed lout who, lacking a home, likes to sleep on the pizza ingredients before they arrive at your table.

there’s one on every other corner in houston…

true story: my wife and i recently (within the last year) babysat a friends little girl for a saturday afternoon. since this wasn’t our child, of course we were going to spoil the hell out of her and do all the things that she wants to do but rarely gets to…so off we were a-going to Chuck E. Cheese!

Chuck’s house is this little girl’s favie place, although i have no clue why. we chose one over by houston’s West University area b/c i wanted to at least goto one that was maybe clean and safe…ummm, not even close, bub.

the place was packed for a sat. lunch rush. there must have been 60 “adults” in the place - although i swear many of the “adult” parents were actually 16 year olds with their 3 year old kids. wow - what a sh|tty world we live in.

so we go in, order pizza, and i promptly get $5 worth of tolkens. time for some games to collect tickets to trade in for worthless trinkets…wonderful racket. but what got me was this: all kids love, i mean LOVE, the ball pit. only problem? well, the ball pit was full of kids who must have been 13 and who were doing their very best Roger Clemens impersonation. and i have a 5 yr old who wants to play in the ball pit!

needless to say, i am sure i was in at least the 5th layer of Dante’s inferno…possibly 6th.

worst place to take a kid ever. EVER.

and when i asked to see the manager about the teenagers in the ball pit, who did i get? pimply faced kid from The Simpsons, repleat with squeky voice and all. i’m 32 - he was about 17…and manager.

so, the following monday i get to work and ask a few parents about Chuck E. Cheese…just to see if my mileage really did vary. their responses: they all are like this!

how do these places stay in business? what’s their insurance premiums? inquiring minds wanna know!

First and foremost you must go and eat lunch at 10:30am to avoid the trampling. I always watch my 5 year old niece like a hawk so she doesn’t catch a size 10 foot in the face from some early-blooming, delinquent youth. Last, when she asks to go the next time I keep her, I tell her a little kid died in the big, overhead tunnel thingie and they shut the place down.

I now shield my 18 month old from 3 things: my Playboy stash, Chuck E. Cheese restaurants and all things Barney.

Hunh… I haven’t had any problems with big kids at Chuck E. Cheese here. I don’t think the big kids around here would be caught dead in the place to be honest. We had a good wholesome family time fighting fires in Brave Firefighters, racing cars in CART Fury and riding the kiddie rides and such. Even the ball pit was a non-problem.

We went at dinner time. Maybe that makes a difference?


I’m with Dave, maybe the Houston area has an inordinate number of dorky preteens who never got the message that the ball pit stopped being fun/cool the day it no longer presented the very real threat of being buried and unable to climb out. Like, around 7. Once you’re 10, 11, 12, 13 the arcade games (nonredemption) are the only fun thing left in the joint.

these weren’t so much dorky mini-adults as they were miniature gang memebers. but i could understand why they wanted to be in the ball pit…we used to play “slaughter” by throwing balls as hard as we could at each other, but we played on a tennis court. i guess you gotta play in the venue that’s near you, which sounds like Chuck E’s for these kids.

but i was surprised when i talked to other people and they mentioned the same type experiences at various locations.

could just be houston…i mean, it is houston, after all. :wink:

Same thing here in Birmingham. Kids who’s parents just let them run rampant as long as they can sit, eat and have a beer. There is no supervision and certainly know punishment if their kids are “acting up” (read: running maniacally over and through any small child who should be unfortunate enough to get in their way). Not just Houston.

SellTheKids, what part of Houston do you live in? I live NW, work downtown. Anyway, we frequent the Chuck’s on Hwy 6 North about once or twice a year, and the one on 1960 near Kuykendall (I will never figure out how that’s supposed to be pronounced ‘Kirk-and-all’) when our friends have birthday parties there for kids.

I haven’t had any problems at either one; yes they’re quite busy on Saturdays due to birthday parties, but things have been pretty kosher. The one on 1960 does have a smaller segregated area for tots, which I think is a good idea. They’ve got a Bob the Builder ride in there that my boy likes.

I find that my 80’s memories of Chucks are better…they had more games then. I cut my teeth on a sit-down Tailgunner in a Chuck’s back in Simi Valley, CA. Now all they have are two or three racing games…the rest are all weird things I wouldn’t play. But you guys are right - the kids go nuts over those ticket-giving games.

One thing common to all Chuck’s: You can imagine new kinds of torture and punishment by making use of those carpets after a kid party.

we just recently bit the bullet and moved out to the suburbs. we lived almost in downtown for the last 10 years or so, but now are way, way, way out in Missouri City. i mean way out…

the Chuck E. Cheese we went to was the one by West U and 59. i think it is on Bissonnet, but near Greenway. not exactly a crap-hole area: the parking lot is shared with Bering’s (for non-Houstonians, that is an upscale store in the same vein as Restoration Hardware.) i was very unimpressed to find this place run by 17 year old managers who were letting little hoodlums run rampant at the peril of injuring small children.

i work out at the beltway and the wilcrest and people i work with have been to those out south here; same results: crummy management and rampant kids gone wild.

maybe i was just too protective, but this wasn’t our child and i wasn’t about to have her take a 40MPH ball in the ball pit.

yeah - when i was a kid i remember loving the place. i would beg to go and save my lawn mowing money so i could waste it all on skeetball and videogames. ah, those were the days!