Concept Unification Prototype Stage

From Cheese-E-Pedia
Center stage of the Concept Unification Prototype show.
The Concept Unification Prototype Stage was a test show that was only installed at the Showbiz Pizza Time Corporate Office in Irving, Texas in around 1989. This stage was a prototype of the Concept Unification Stage.

Stage Features

The prototype CU stage was based on the same idea - conversion of the existing Rock-afire stages to a Chuck E theme. However, the execution was vividly different. One of the most noticeable differences is the consolidation of the 3 stages onto just 2.

During this period, the stages in Pizza Time Theatre stores were wrapped around the "house" theme. Stores either had the Chuck E.'s House Facade (C-Stage) or Chuck E'.s House (Porch/Rocker Stage), so it was a natural idea to make the CU Stage a similar variation. The only real difference was instead of featuring the characters outside of the house, the CU prototype had everybody inside.

The conversion of characters was also different in the prototype. Mitzi became Chuck E. Cheese, Fatz became Pasqually, Dook became Helen Henny, and Beach Bear became Jasper (the only character to use the same conversion in the finalized 3-Stage). Mr. Munch appears to be absent, but his position in the show was one of the most unique - he was designed to travel around the 2 stages, becoming the replacement for Looney Bird, the Sun, the Moon, baby bear Choo-choo, and even Antioch. The Frog prop from the Classic Stage remained, but was only in concept artwork.

Right stage of the Concept Unification Prototype show.

Surrounding the characters inside the house were a collection of whimsical items including a dartboard, a large mirror, and a kite (seemingly attached to Helen's keyboard). The main stage also recycled the porch flowers which were all contained in a pot on the floor beside Chuck E. On Pasqually's stage, he was preparing pizza and on the walls were a portrait of "Nana" and also her famous pizza recipe.


By the late 1980s, Showbiz Pizza Time had completed its initial restructuring and survived a close encounter with bankruptcy. Remodeled stores had brought back lost revenues and one final goal remained - to convert ShowBiz Pizza Place and Chuck E. Cheese's into a single, unified concept.

Showbiz Pizza Time came up with a simple idea to retrofit the Rock-Afire Explosion characters to the Chuck E. Cheese characters as Aaron Fechter (creator of the Rock-Afire Explosion) refused to give up the copyrights of his Rock-Afire Explosion, thus Showbiz Pizza Time no longer having exclusives rights to the Rock-Afire Explosion.

Center stage Concept Unification Prototype artwork created by Jul Kamen.

It Is believed that production on the Concept Unification Prototype stage began around early 1989. The Concept Unification prototype stage was designed by Jul Kamen. The cosmetics were designed by the animation company Creative Presentations Inc.

One strong attribute they wanted to preserve during the CU conversion was the whole "band" feeling the Rock-afire had. It was also decided that the strong center-stage presence of Fatz should be retained. Again, the obvious answer was to juxtapose Munch onto Fatz's animatronic, and make him the leader of the newly created "Munch's Make Believe Band".

Right stage Concept Unification Prototype artwork created by Jul Kamen.

The rejection of this prototype CU stage was something that ended up impacting not only the future of the Rock-afire Explosion, but also the future of the Pizza Time Players. By integrating elements of the Rock-afire so heavily into the finalized CU 3-Stage, the future Chuck E. Cyberamic stages were in turn altered to match the new concept and character types. The entire "house" idea was dropped altogether and Cyberamic versions of the Make Believe Band were created. These are known as the CEC Stages (or Existing Stages), the first being the Road Stage, followed by the 2-Stage and 1-Stage.

Right stage of Concept Unification Prototype stage being installed by Jul Kamen and unknown employee.

It is unknown at this point if the Concept Unification Protype stage was tested with a showtape. The only known photographs of the stage were shared public by Jul Kamen, and it expected that these are the only known photographs that exist. Due to it's unknown nature of time at the corporate office it is highly unlikely that footage of this stage was ever filmed.