Union, NJ (1660 US-22)

From Cheese-E-Pedia


Exterior, September 2019


1660 US-22, Store #3006/542 was a Chuck E. Cheese's that opened on August 6, 1984 Pizza Time Theatre and closed on November 17, 2019 as a Chuck E. Cheese's.

History

Union opened as store #3006 on August 6, 1984 under Animated Family Restaurants franchise ownership. The building it occupied was originally a movie theater that closed in 1982. Union had Chuck E. Cheese, Mr. Munch, Jasper, and Pasqually walkaround costumes when they first opened. Union survived PTT's 1984 bankruptcy and stayed under franchise ownership following the closure of the two other New Jersey PTT's, East Brunswick and Wayne in 1986, who were also under the same franchise ownership. Union was the only operating store in the state of New Jersey for 5 years until the opening of the Deptford, NJ (1500 Almonesson Rd) store in 1991. They received the 1986 SPT Remodel in the early 90's and installed their first MMBB stage (2-Stage) in 1992. They remained this remodel throughout the 90's (and received Parody Posters in the late 90's). Longtime CEC fan and mascot performer Richard Concepcion (1957-2017) was hired to be a walkaround performer in 1994 and was all-day Chuck at Union in monthly rotation. They also had Helen and Jasper 90's walkarounds that would often make appearances throughout the day alongside Chuck E.

They remodeled to get the Phase 3 game package in the early 2000's. This remodel included relocating skill games (skee-ball, basketball, etc.) that were previously next to the showroom entrance next to the stage to the bigger game room and replacing it with the kiddie games area. In addition, they also received new wall art and Phase 3 decor around the restaurant, new speakers and bigger screens to the left and right of the stage, and painted the area surrounding the 2-Stage (that was previously painted black throughout the 90's) white.

In November 2003, corporate bought out the store after nearly 20 years of it being under AFR ownership and was now officially known as store #542. This would also mean no more walkarounds other than Chuck E. and limit the guests seeing the walkaround Chuck since he would not come out as often under new management. In Early 2005, the store would also undergo the 2005 Update to the 2003 "Cool Chuck" Reconfiguration / Major Remodel Initiative remodel removing the 2-Stage for a Studio C Beta, removing showroom walls, balcony, and replacing wall art with new CEC wall art as well as keeping some early 2000's posters. They also relocated the ordering and prize area to the front of the restaurant where the Sky Tubes originally were and relocated the showroom to where the balcony area originally was which added more gameroom space where the 2-Stage and tables used to be. The exterior was changed to the "Cool Chuck" logo design by Peeler Rose and a street sign with the purple sweater thumb chuck. Union was one of the first (if not the first) stores to receive the full 2005 Update of the 2003 "Cool Chuck" Reconfiguration / Major Remodel Initiative with the kid posters and "Cool Chuck" exterior. The Studio C bot wore the Cool Chuck outfit and curtains were operational when the Studio C was installed in March 2005. Curtains were disabled likely over the summer of the year it was installed and enabled again in Summer 2008.

Over the years, Chuck received the Avenger shirt in Summer 2008, green shorts in Early 2010, and cap in late 2013 just a couple weeks before all hats were removed for the new Rockstar look. The ticket blaster was put in place of the blue screen camera in September 2014. The curtains stopped being operational and were removed in Early 2017. The three screens and lighting above were replaced with flat screens in 2018 and the blue screen was also removed around the same time.

In Late 2018, plans started to emerge regarding the redevelopment of the area where the closed Garden State Motel next door stood and the Chuck E. Cheese due to the impending lease expiration. In April 2019, it was announced that both the Garden State Motel AND CEC would be torn down for a new Wawa gas station and convenience store, fast food chain restaurant, and a new storage facility. However, being a high volume profitable store and the closest to a lot of major North Jersey cities, CEC decided they would relocate the store sometime in the future and close their current location when the lease expired at the end of the year. The Union Chuck E. Cheese closed on November 17, 2019 after 35 years of operation. The building that occupied the Union Chuck E. Cheese was demolished in July 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and CEC falling into bankruptcy in 2020, talks on opening a new CEC in Union were put to pause. Construction of a new location down the highway started in 2022. The new Union, NJ CEC had its soft opening on May 15, 2023 and grand opening on June 22.

Stages

Union opened with a Balcony Stage and The Beagles. Many recall "The King" also being at this location. They received Chuck E.'s House Facade stage around 1989 and switched to a 2-Stage in 1992. After undergoing the 2005 Update of the 2003 "Cool Chuck" Reconfiguration / Major Remodel Initiative, they installed a Studio C Beta removing the animatronics that performed at the location for 20 years since opening. The Beta was saved by private collectors following the store's closure in November 2019.

Stage Installed Removed Notes
Balcony Stage August 1984 1989 One of three Balcony Stages installed in New Jersey.
Chuck E.'s House Facade 1989 1992 Only Chuck E.'s House Facade installed in New Jersey.
2-Stage 1992 Early 2005 One of three 2-Stages installed in New Jersey.
Studio C Beta, 16M Early 2005 November 2019 One of three 16m Betas installed in New Jersey. One of four Betas installed in New Jersey (Mays Landing is a 32m).

Arcade Machines

Gameroom

  • Hungry Chickens
  • Raptor's Revenge
  • Raging Ape
  • Barrel of Monkeys
  • Frogger
  • Made Wave Motion Theater
  • Pink Panther Jewel Heist
  • Doodle Jump
  • Super Alpine Racer
  • Galaga Assault
  • Jumpin' Fantasy
  • Chuck E's Marathon Runner
  • Ice Age: Ice Breaker
  • Sharky's Treasure
  • Street Hoops
  • 2 Minute Drill
  • Milk Jug Toss
  • Strike Zone
  • Water Blast
  • Alley Roller
  • Hammer 2
  • Pump Jump
  • Aliens Extermination Deluxe
  • Popcorn
  • Brave Firefighters
  • Buster Bubbles
  • Chuck E. Cheese's Sketch Book
  • Spider-Bot
  • Tippin' Bloks
  • High Five!
  • Spider Web
  • The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift
  • Ford Racing: Full Blown
  • Grand Piano Keys
  • Harpoon Lagoon
  • Let's Go Jungle!
  • Penalty Shot Chuck E. Cheese's

Kiddie Area

Animatronics

Character Manufacturing Date Serial Number Status
Chuck E. Cheese (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Used for Parts / Destroyed
Guest Star / Helen Henny (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Used for Parts / Destroyed, head frame owned by a Private Collector
Mr. Munch (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Used for Parts / Destroyed
Jasper T. Jowls (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Used for Parts / Destroyed, head frame owned by a Private Collector
Pasqually (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Used for Parts / Destroyed, arms owned by a Private Collector
Wink (Cyberamic) 1992? Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
Warblettes (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
Waving Flags (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
Applause Board (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
Drum Board (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
Singing Flowers (Cyberamic) Unknown Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
The King (Lounge) Unknown Unknown Unknown / Destroyed
Chuck E. Cheese 16m (Animatronic) 2004? 7-32 Owned by a Private Collector.
Pizza Time Clock (Animatronic) 2004? N/A Owned by a Private Collector.

Gallery

Union's Grand Opening in 1984

Videos

Link Description Date
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4JhRtbBMu4&t=385s Only known footage of Union when it was a Pizza Time Theatre as of June 2023. 1986
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3ZJh_EQ6pI&t=8s First known footage of the 2-Stage. Interesting to note, Munch and Pasqually still have their hands clapping and haven't received new arm mechs. 1993
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr34l-rihzw YMCA Live '94 performed by Richard Concepcion. Munch has a new mask and both him and Pasqually have new arm mechs since the last footage. The Jasper walkaround also makes an appearance in this video. December 1994
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Igv5LH98hLw The 2-Stage performing Destination Imagination in 1995. Briefly shows Helen and Chuck walkarounds. 1995
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0mkGdmhZyo&list=RDMMR0mkGdmhZyo&start_radio=1 Strike it Up Live Show performed by Chuck E. and Rapid T. Rabbit. The helicopter light was replaced with a gemini and the center stage now has lift curtains. Fun fact: they did not receive lift curtains for Chuck E's stage and was likely the only store to have two different kinds of curtains on different stages. January 1997
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7SaGWo-NSU Lean on Me Live performed by Chuck E. and Rapid T. Rabbit. Last 90's footage of Union and before the early 2000's remodel (and last footage Richard has from Union as far as we know) Q1 1999
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HOnwZWMrSU Union following their final remodel before the 2-Stage was replaced. The area around the stage is now white and there are new bigger screens and speakers next to the stage. This is the last known video of Union's 2-Stage as of December 2023. June 29, 2002
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kDgYKAX_PM&t=185s Footage of the April 2012 Show with their Studio C Beta. Chuck wore his avenger outfit and red cool chuck cap from Q1 2010 until September 2013. May 1, 2012
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHkYSWUumUw Store tour showing how Union looked in its last few years May 27, 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDDZeY8I6R4 The last video taken of Union's show on the day it closed November 17, 2019