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I want to commission people but I have TOO MANY CHARACTERS and I don’t know who they should draw…..
You're so cute and funny and I miss you and I'm sorry and I wish I had a better way of saying it. <3
Uhh thanks, but I’m pretty sure this is the second time you’ve given me an anonymous compliment-apology note? Unless there are two of you….
Today one of my coworkers asked me if I had ever seen “those pictures of dogs that have text on them that say stuff like ‘wow’ and ‘many bubbles’”, and then continued to say ‘much indexing’ and ‘very paperwork’ for the rest of the day.
Alright, Five Nights at Freddy’s fandom, ready for a real life animatronic horror story? Here’s a little look into The Rock-afire Explosion, an animatronic band that played at Showbiz Pizza between 1980 and 1992, before Showbiz bought out the rights to Chuck E. Cheese and began using those characters.
The band was created by Aaron Fechter, the creator of Whack-A-Mole and so many other advancements in modern animatronics. He doesn’t get much recognition for this, as he’s been overshadowed by Walt Disney on so many things, so not many know all that much about him. The information I have is all based on both personal experience and an interview with a woman who worked at at Showbiz Pizza through her college years.
The characters of Rock-Afire explosion were less child-friendly than the Chuck E. Cheese characters were. They made adult-centered jokes, swore from time to time, and weren’t designed in the same cutesy way the Chuck E. Cheese characters were. This was the 80’s, so folks didn’t care nearly as much, but the designs were enough to cause quite a few meltdowns in children.
Fatz Geronimo, the gorilla and keyboard player to the band, has always had demonic red eyes, where the others all had standard black pupils. Fatz in general was always terrifying, but Fechter refused to change the design due to brand recognition. It’s said by Showbiz Pizza that Fatz was the most popular character, but the worker I interviewed stated that he’d caused children to cry, break down, and hide away from the stage at least once every other day at the location where she worked. She had even said that when she did night cleaning, his eyes would appear to almost glow, and follow her around. There has also been talk of other characters that had the same red, glowing eyes that Fatz did, but were later removed and replaced with standard black pupils. It’s incredibly hard to find footage of these.
However, there was one large-scale character completely removed, without replacement. Uncle Klunk. Uncle Klunk was Fechter’s latest and most advanced creation, with twice as many movements as the others, and the ability to pick up objects. Since he was a prototype of a new kind of animatronic, he was only added to a few locations. Unfortunately, his initial model received awful feedback, from both Showbiz, and the customers. It got such horrible feedback, there was a show recorded in which he was referred to as an abomination by the other characters. There were even moments where they would vaguely mention the fact that he ‘wasn’t going to be around long’, and he was ‘moving on to other things’, in such a way that it seemed like they were plotting something. These recordings are incredibly hard to find, but you can see a small portion of one here.
There were also a few mini-characters that were also changed or removed due to how much they scared children. Since removal of a small character that wasn’t a big part of the show was simple, and they weren’t on any merchandise, it was much easier to have them removed or added to shows, with the exception of the Sun and Moon, who were permanent characters. The mini-characters were interchangeable, some shows had them all, others only had a few. From what I’ve understood, it was as simple as taking out any scenes and songs with them in it. These characters were essentially disposable.
A good example of one of these would be Antioch the birthday spider, one of the characters that would only come out during birthday related scenes and songs. He’s still used in Fechter’s private show (which I will be bringing up quite a bit), but he wasn’t seen in many Showbiz locations. Unlike some other mini-characters, he once had a speaking voice, that was “a low, quiet, garbled gibberish”, and the other characters would speak to him as if they could understand him perfectly…but segments with him never made any sense, since the characters would never repeat what he said or give any clue as to what he was speaking about. His model was a bit goofier than Fatz, but he was still known to scare children. This is the only audio of him speaking that I could find.
The other was Bad Frog, a frog that sat on a log, with giant, protruding fangs. It never spoke, and it was never mentioned. We have no idea why it ever existed, but it was removed. Photos of it are also notoriously hard to find.
After Showbiz transitioned to Chuck E. Cheese, Creative Engineering no longer worked with them for animatronics, which not only gave Fechter time to work on new things, it gave him complete freedom to do whatever he wanted with the Rock-afire Explosion, since he was no longer under contract. That being said, he used this freedom, and made the popular Arcade Fire cover video, in which he purposefully glitched out the animatronics so that their eyes would twitch and their bodies would twitch, and used frightening imagery like explosions and syringes in their arms and eyes. This was an official production from Fechter himself. Link here.
He also began research on a new type of fuel to power animatronics in 2010. These fuels were Hydrillium and Carbohydrillium, both highly experimental fuels that he was inventing to burn cleaner than propane. He had been studying fuel efficiency as far back as 1972, and since he was no longer working with Showbiz, he had more time to research. The side effects of longtime exposure to these fuels were unknown.
In 2013, there was a gas leak from one of the animatronics powered with this fuel, which lead to the explosion of his workshop. The animatronics, including their fur and clothing, were all completely unharmed…
That’s all the lore I have for this segment! Up next, Disney animatronics!
Sometimes I feel bad about how poorly I speak of the last office I worked at, and I think maybe I just have bad memories about it because the commute was exhausting and that it was just my first temp experience so I didn’t know what to expect.
…But then I remember that the woman who worked next to me went to a Beyonce concert with her daughter and was convinced that Beyonce and Jay-Z were using ‘devil magic’ to jam her cellphone.
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