Charles Entertainment “Chuck E.” Cheese is the anthropomorphic rat mascot of the Chuck E. Cheese chain of family restaurants. In 2012, the mascot was rebranded into a much smaller, and “hipper” mouse version of the character in attempt to increase sales.
Pizza Time Theatre era
The character was originally created as the mascot for a restaurant proposed by Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari) in 1977.
Bushnell attended the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) conference in Orlando and saw walk-around character costumes for sale. Among them, Bushnell spotted a costume that looked like a coyote, so he bought it for his planned Coyote Pizza restaurant. When the costume arrived at Atari, it was discovered that the costume was actually a rat, with a long pink rat tail, this costume was also much fatter and furrier than the final product seen in all of the original locations. Bushnell decided to change the restaurant’s name to Rick Rat’s Pizza. However, Bushnell’s group of planners believed that a rat for the name of a restaurant would not be appropriate.
Finally, Bushnell’s group of planners decided on the name Chuck E. Cheese for the mascot and changed the restaurant’s name to Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre.
The first Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre opened in San Jose, California, in the same year Chuck E. Cheese was proposed, 1977.
Chuck E. Cheese’s era: 1995-present
In 1995, the mascot was given a more child-friendly makeover, with a wider cheek structure, a less pointy, shorter snout, longer eyes smaller ears, and a slimmer physique. This version started appearing in the restaurants in 2001.
In July 2012, the mascot was changed into a much smaller version of the character, who played electric guitar. Voice actor Duncan Brannan, who for 19 years had characterized Chuck E. Cheese as a wise-cracking mouse from New Jersey, was replaced with Jaret Reddick, the frontman and guitarist for the pop punk band Bowling for Soup.