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Another Portland Blog

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

 

And the "E" stands for "Entertainment"




This video might be of interest to anyone who grew up near a Chuck E. Cheese franchise in the '80s. I was born and raised in west Portland during that era and, if memory serves, the nearest location to my parents' house was somewhere over on the eastside. Birthday parties and end-of-soccer-season celebrations were always held at a nearby Round Table, the Farrell's at Washington Square or, for a real treat, the late, great Organ Grinder Pizzeria on SE 82nd.

But none of them had a ballpit, the creme de la creme of pizzeria attractions. I was taken to the eastside location, maybe, twice during my childhood so Chuck E. Cheese always had a weird mistique about it. The chain's mascot was a creepy rat and I remember the freaky, robotic sideshow in the dining area to be particularly nightmarish. It was the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of pizzerias but...it had a ball pit. And Skee-Ball.

The chain still has some locations around town but I think I'll pass. Bad pizza and worn-out arcade machines don't hold the same appeal they did back when I was in grade school. Still, it's a kick to browse through the staggering amount of information out there on Chuck E. Cheese. Ol' Chuck definetely has his fanbase but I wonder if today's kids will ever create websites in honor of the new "Xtreme," skateboard riding version of the spokesrat.

Also: if you've ever wondered what goes into making their notoriously bad pizza taste so terrible, these two instructional videos should give you an idea.

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