The Rock-Afire Explosion

Lucas I.

When most people think of animatronics, they immediately jump to Chuck E. Cheese’s pandering modern shows, or the atrocious Five Nights at Freddy’s and its terrible animatronic stereotypes. But if you look past that and do a tiny bit of research, you will discover possibly the greatest animatronic show every created-

The Rock-Afire Explosion.

First, let’s start with the basics. The Rock-Afire Explosion was created by Aaron Fechter, founder of Creative Engineering for the 80’s restaurant, Showbiz Pizza. The band was mostly a mix between his two previous bands, the Hard Luck Bears and the Wolf Pack Five. The band, consisting of Billy Bob, Looney Bird, Dook LaRue, Beach Bear, Rolfe DeWolfe and his hand puppet Earl, Mitzi Mozzarella and Fatz Geronimo. They would play all kinds of music, from The Beatles to Michael Jackson. Each character had over 20 movements each, blowing CEC’s animation out of the water (back in the 80s and still today!) The question is, where did Showbiz Pizza go? Surprisingly enough, nowhere. While you can no longer visit a Showbiz Pizza today, the company still exists- as Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Showbiz never actually owned the Rock-Afire; they merely bought the shows from Creative Engineering. In the late 80’s, they asked them for the character rights, but Fechter refused! (good decision on their part, seeing what the Chuck E Cheese band looks like today)  So Showbiz decided to use the characters they could use, which were CEC’s (whom they bought out after their 1984 bankruptcy). Fortunately, Aaron and his band are still playing on today, through his youtube channel and the CEI tours in Orlando. Be sure to check out some online shows and enjoy some of the greatest animatronic entertainment ever.