Sgt. Singer's Pizza Circus

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Image of the main cast from Sgt. Singer's as Sgt. Striper's Touring Band at The Wild Horse Saloon.
Sgt. Striper's Review at The Wild Horse Saloon in Idlewild Park (Pennsylvania).

Sgt. Singer's Pizza Circus (styled as Sgt. Singer's Spectacular Star Studded Circus Pizza Show) was a chain of family entertainment centers that were best known for their animatronic bands manufactured by Creative Presentations and their massive arcade selections.

History

Sgt. Striper's Circus Band, as distributed by Okamoto Amusements of Japan.

Nickels and Dimes Incorporated

Nickels and Dimes Incorporated (NDI) is an entertainment company founded by Craig Singer sometime around 1972 in Carrollton, Texas.[1] NDI was best known as the operator of Tilt arcades and Gold Mine arcades throughout the 1970's and 1980's.

Sgt. Singer's Spectacular Star Studded Circus Pizza Show

Taking a page from the recent successes of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre and ShowBiz Pizza Place, Craig Singer established Sgt. Singer's Spectacular Star Studded Circus Pizza Show in Pasadena, Texas by 1982.[2] Although unconfirmed, newspapers mark early operations of the chain to be around March 1, 1982. Likewise to competitors, the establishment offered pizza, beer, arcade games, and animatronic shows as the main attraction. Animatronics for Sgt. Singer's were manufactured by Creative Presentations, Inc. of Schaumburg, Illinois.

Sgt. Striper's and the Closure of Sgt. Singer's Pizza Circus

Despite its moderate success as a small regional chain, NDI ultimately shifted its focus back to standard arcades. This meant Sgt. Singer's was now an afterthought to the company, leading to the discontinuation of new locations. Creative Presentations, left with an abundant stock of unused shows, retained all rights to the characters and began selling their stock to other clients. The band, now rebranded as Sgt. Striper's Review, was sold to be versatile in theme. These various themes included:

By this point in time, the Sgt. Singer's Pizza Circus chain had officially been defunct, with the final store's speculated closure to be August 7, 1991.

Characters

Sgt. Singer / Sgt. Striper

(Voiced by Mark Brink) A tiger on acoustic guitar who fearlessly, "leads his troops," in a menagerie of musical entertainment. The character's name was initially named after creator, Craig Singer, before being renamed Sgt. Striper for wide distribution.[4]

P.T. Bearum

The bear who is "tinkling on his keys" with his western piano. His name is a pun on that of American showman and politician, Phineas Taylor Barnum, who was best known for founding the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Pounce D' Lion

A pun on the name of Spanish conquistador, Juan Ponce de León's, Pounce is a lion who jams on an electric guitar.

Patty the Piano-Playing Pachyderm

(Voiced by Martha Webster) A prissy and proper elephant, Patty performs on a grand piano for the audience's enjoyment (despite her laments as heard in the song "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Singers,") on a stylish Stage Left.

Mortimer D. Mouse

Mortimer is a cheeky and sarcastic rodent who performs with Patty Pachyderm on Stage Right. Despite irritating Patty with his remarks, Mortimer's singing has always been welcomed by the others (as long as the mouse behaves himself).

Dolly Porker

(Voiced by Martha Webster) Similarly to Patty, Dolly is a picky piggy who can be very particular with her venue of performance. Her name is a pun on Dolly Parton, though doesn't resemble her namesake besides that. She has been said to have been placed on Stage Right.

Stages

Although stage documentation is obscure, it is confirmed that Sgt. Singer's used at least a 3-Stage configuration (similar to other animatronic shows at the time). Center Stage included P.T. Bearum, Sgt. Singer, and Pounce D' Lion. Stage Right allegedly contained Dolly Porker (though it is currently unconfirmed), while Stage Left included Patty Pachyderm and Mortimer D. Mouse.

When Creative Presentations began to sell off the remaining Sgt. Singer's stock, the previous arrangement of characters was reduced to just the aforementioned three characters on Center Stage (Bearum, Singer, and Pounce). One Sgt. Singer figure was paired with Purrscilla Purr and Big Bear from Celebration Station's W.O.O.F. Radio for a show installation at Mirapolis (a defunct theme park in France).

Installations

Florida

France

  • Mirapolis (Sgt. Singer Only) - 95800 Courdimanche, France

Georgia

Pennsylvania

Texas

Animatronic Whereabouts

Shortly after Creative Presentations began selling off Sgt. Singer's stock, Japanese-based Okamoto Amusements purchased 3 Sgt. Striper's (and one Ape-Ology's) shows to be leased by Japanese theme parks. Okamoto offered the Circus Band, Beach Bums, and Barnyard Band show variants.[3] At least two of these shows had been rediscovered and were said to have been sold in 2023.[5]

Gallery

Videos

Link Description Filming Date
Link A Sgt. Singer figure performing with Purrscilla Purr and Big Bear at French theme park, Mirapolis. July 22, 1990

Trivia

  • The Sgt. Singer's store in Decatur, Georgia actually featured The Animal Crackers (with Sheriff Bob Wire and the Ape-Ology's) instead of the standard show. It's unknown why this was the case, though rumors suggest it was due to the previous figures requiring off-stage maintenance.[6]
  • During Concept Unification, Creative Presentations proposed replacing the Rock-afire Explosion with four retrofit options to Showbiz Pizza Time. Sgt. Singer was one of many CPI characters included in these concepts, along with the Ape-Ologys.[7]

References