Chuck E. Cheese has been through a lot over the last 43 years.
The mascot - full name Charles Entertainment Cheese - was originally created by Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell, to serve as the cigar-chewing mascot at Pizza Time Theatre in the 1970s. Since then, the chain that took the mascot's name has been restructured and sold numerous times in attempts to keep up with the trends.
Change is nothing new for Chuck E. Cheese. Read on to see how the chain evolved, as Chuck E. Cheese transformed from an animatronic rat from New Jersey to a rock star mouse performing live shows on YouTube.
Originally, Chuck E. Cheese made abrasive and sometimes sexual jokes, aimed at adult customers. But the chain transitioned to a more kid-friendly approach relatively quickly in its early years.
Adam Roberts; the man inside; dresses up as Chuck E. Cheese; rodent restaurateur. And he loves his job. The little ones kiss my nose and say: 'I love you Chuckee.' They pass me notes and drawings; he says.
John Mahler/Toronto Star via Getty Images
In the '80s, the pizza chain went public, followed by various restructuring efforts as sales slumped. By 1992, all locations of the pizza chain that had grown out of the Pizza Time Theatre concept were rebranded as Chuck E. Cheese's.
Chuck E. Cheese at the Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade in 2003.
The last few years have seen plenty of change at Chuck E. Cheese. The chain retired its tokens in 2016 and the animatronics in 2017. The chain also changed its name slightly, dropping the possessive to become Chuck E. Cheese in 2017.
CEC Entertainment CEO Tom Leverton, right, speaks to attendees with Chuck E. Cheese during the Chuck E. Cheese Grand Reopening on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, in San Antonio.
Darren Abate/AP Images for Chuck E. Cheese's
The coronavirus pandemic hit the chain hard, with sales sinking 21 percent in the first quarter. Chuck E. Cheese has attempted to keep fans engaged with pizza delivery and "live performances" from the mascot.
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