ShowBiz Pizza Place / Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time

Showbiz Pizza Place

The animatronic pizza arcade first started out as Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time in 1977 (San Jose, CA).  One of the co-founders of Atari, Nolan Bushnell, convinced Atari to build the restaurant, and after its initial success, Atari sold the restaraunt back to Bushnell, who then went about the business of franchising it.  The Franchise caught the attention of Holiday Inn executive Robert L. Brock, who initially agreed to purchase 280 Chuck E. Cheese franchises.  Brock was made aware of more advanced animatronics coming down the pike, and he became concerned that Chuck E. Cheese would be behind the times from a technology perspective, such Brock decided to make his own chain:  ShowBiz Pizza Place.  

The first ShowBiz opened in Kansas City in 1980 and featured Billy Bob and the Rock-afire Explosion.  In a twist of fate, ShowBiz Pizza ended up buying up the Chuck E. Cheese franchise, and the ShowBiz Pizza Time company continued operating both chains.  In the late 80's, after not being able to come to terms with company that developed the Billy Bob animatronic show, ShowBiz Pizza Time converted all remaining ShowBiz Pizza restaurants to Chuck E. Cheese, and the rest is history.  It is worth nothing that the ShowBiz Pizza Place name still exits in some countries outside of the USA, especially in the middle east.