I have a soft spot in my heart for animatronic banjo playing dogs, rapping mice, crooning purple blobs in tennis shoes. They defined a specific era of my childhood. I remember going to places like Chuck E. Cheese and being young enough to be excited to see the show.

That is until one of them malfunctioned and left me with nostalgic nightmare fuel, which is what is being uploaded to YouTube from Amarillo.

First, Let's Be Fair To Hyper Kid Focused Pizza Chains

Growing up, I begged and pleaded to go to places like Chuck E. Cheese and Celebration Station on a regular basis. The arcades, the pizza, the robotic entertainment; it all beckoned to my young heart like a siren's call to my dad's wallet.


Back then, jerky unnatural movements and oddly blinking eyes were the forefront of technology when children's entertainment was concerned. Somehow we were all able to look past the strangeness of it all and allow our younger selves to be swept up in the moment.

That is until there was a malfunction.

Nostalgic Nightmare Fuel

If you're of a certain age, and you had a childhood blessed with frequent trips to pizza places like this, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

A jaw that comes unhinged and won't close. Eyes twitching. Heads jerking. I once saw a character get stuck in the "bow" position. It's arms would jerk and it's body would twist, as if it didn't get the memo that the character was trying to sit that number out.

It could sometimes be a little unsettling.

Before They Go Away, Someone Has Been Uploading Videos To YouTube

It's no secret that Chuck E. Cheese's are trying to find their way away from the robotic performers we've all grown up with. Slowly but surely, their plan is to replace them with an interactive dance floor.

In Amarillo, we still have our animatronic performers. Someone has been uploading their performances to YouTube.

I sat the other day going through the performances; noticing the differences and similarities from when I was growing up.

I remember some of the characters looking a little different when I was a kid. Some of them look pretty much the same. Some of the characters I remember don't exist at all anymore.

When I use the term "nostalgic nightmare fuel," I do so lovingly. While the characters now carry a certain creepy quality thanks to games like Five Nights At Freddy's (ask your kids if you're unfamiliar), and movies like Willy's Wonderland, I have fond memories of them.

For real nightmare fuel, think back to the ball-pit full of sugar and pizza fueled children. How any of us made it out of there alive is beyond me.

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