Showbiz Pizza!

It’s hard for me to remember what I did this morning, but this is a series of childhood memories that I will never forget. It all started when I was eight years old. My parents made a grave mistake by taking me to a place that is every hyper kid’s dream: SHOWBIZ!


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What the hell is Showbiz you shout? Well, it is basically a cheap version of Chuck E. Cheese’s. In fact, I think they owned it. Anyway, they had it all: video games, Whack-a-Mole, Pizza, those plastic balls you jump in (and pee in), robotic animal things that sang and danced, and more awesome stuff that I will get into later on in this article.

First, let me take you back to the year 1989. It was my seventh birthday, and I was riding in the back of my parent’s station wagon. Isn’t it silly that when you’re a kid, all you wanna do Is ride in the way back of the station wagon. That’s what I called it: “The Way Back”. It was just more fun back there. The parents were up front and couldn’t see me picking my nose and eating the moist treats that came from it. And now, you won’t be caught dead in a station wagon. I would rather crawl to work than drive one. So anyway, we were driving in the wagon, and I knew we were going somewhere special because my Mom was wearing her sneakers (she usually didn’t wear shoes at all), so I kept asking: “Where are we going?”, they would reply with some quick answer like: “Nowhere, now shut your mouth you ungrateful little snot.”. So I did. After all, I was in “The Way Back”, so I had no room to complain.

But after about 20 minutes of driving, we pulled into the parking lot. All I saw was the huge lit up sign which read: SHOWBIZ. I was ecstatic. I had heard about this place from the older kids in First grade. They told me I would never be big enough to go, but little did they know that I was about to spend my entire birthday there.

It was everything I had imagined it would be, except I didn’t expect all of my friends to be there! My parents must have been secretly planning this for months! Immediately this extremely large, fuzzy, black bear thing greeted me. I later found out that his name was Billy-Bob. He handed me a small blue plastic device that contained at least 50 tokens.


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My friends and I headed straight for the hottest game in the place. Actually, this was the hottest game on the planet. Can you guess what it was? It was none other than: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! I pumped so many tokens into this machine, they were gone in no time.

Before I had a chance to cry about it, it was Pizza time! This was a really cool part of Showbiz. The dining area was surrounded by stages, and on each stage there were large, friendly animals that played instruments. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, so being as I was an extremely hyper child with mild down-syndrome, I decided to go on stage and talk to these cool guys. I went over to the stage and acted like I was really enjoying the show. I looked back to see if anyone was looking, and then I hopped up onto the stage. My Mom saw me and quickly grabbed me. As I was biting her arm, I noticed a large amount of wires protruding from one of the animal’s foot. Much to my dismay I realized: they are robots.


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At this point I came to the conclusion that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Ronald McDonald are all robots. I was pissed to say the least. I cheered up when it was time for my presents. I don’t remember anything I got except for ONE toy. Yes, my friends, it was the Mad Scientist Monster Lab! This was the holy grail of toys for me when I was eight. It was very simple, you have a plastic monster skeleton, cover it with a play-dough like flesh, drop it in a large vat of water mixed with a sour, powdery substance (I know because I licked it off my fingers), and the monster’s skin cooks off right before your eyes!

Why are there no toys like this out now? What do these kids DO nowadays? This is why we have so many little kids killing people. My youth had toys that helped us unleash our inner-maniac, but now, nothing. If anything, the toys of today drive these kids to it (pokemon).

Unfortunately, Showbiz is no longer around today. It exists on a few websites though. I have never been to a Chuck E. Cheese, and I never will. I could never do that to poor old Billy-Bob. After all, he gave me free tokens. You don’t see that stupid Rat doin that…


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– Mike Reiter

TWITTER: @alwaysreit