There are two acceptable reactions to an animatronic band. A warm wave of nostalgia for the magic of your childhood, or bonechilling, abject terror. Here’s an ape and a bear singing Arcade Fire. Walt Disney first conceived of animatronics in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the opening of Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room in 1963 that his plan executed by Lee Adams and a host of other early Imagineers became a singing, chirping reality. Called AudioAnimatronics, or AA, those robot birds predated Disney’s animatronic Abe Lincoln by a year, who made his debut at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The first human AA.
Lincoln became part of Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, heralding an era of massive robotpeople growth at the park. And so Honest Abe gave us Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and the Carousel of Progress. But took a greater visionary than Walt Disney to fulfill the real promise of singing robots. And the guy who invented WhackAMole was that visionary. Aaron Fechter who invented WhackAMole started producing fullyanimated stage shows in 1978 with the Santa Clause Revue and Confederate Critter Show, which looks like it was bananas.
But he is best known, and loved, for creating the Rockafire Explosion. Showbiz Pizza Place first opened its doors in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1980. Three years after the first Chuck E. Cheese opened in Sane Jose and a full nine after Disney’s Country Bears Jamboree made their Orlando debut, it wasn’t like Rockafire was the first. But they were the best. It was a short ride when Chuck E. Cheese filed for bankruptcy in 1984, Showbiz Pizza swooped in, bought it, and slowly unified the two chains under the Cheese brand. By.
Pop music and the real life Five Nights at Freddys
1992, there were no Rockafire Explosion shows or Showbiz Pizza Places left in the U.S. But Aaron Fechter is no ordinary animatronic band programmer and WhackAMole inventor. And the people who loved the Rockafire Explosion are themselves afire with passion. It seems Fechter managed to hold on to a few complete shows, using them to make tutorials like that one and keep the band alive in our hearts and YouTube playlists. He’s also sold a few to fans. Like Chris Thrash, who made this. It was Thrash’s tutorial of the Rockafire Explosion performing Pop, Lock, Drop It that recently.
Blew up on Reddit. Between him and Flechter’s programming, you can watch robots bears and apes and wolves performing everything from Shakira to Nine Inch Nails to Arcade Fire. Big names have also come calling for the official Rockafire treatment MGMT enlisted Flechter to program his band for their Electric Feel tutorial in 2008. And in 2013, Ceelo had them schlepped out to Las Vegas for a very special performance of Fuck You. You can still spot some Rockafire Explosion shows in the wild Showbiz Pizza Place apparently still operates in Lebanon and Dubai, and some independent shows at venues like Billy Bob’s.