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P.J. Pizzazz was a chain of American family entertainment centers operated by Sega Enterprises, Inc. A combination of arcade and casual restaurant modeled on the earlier Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre, the first venue opened in June 1980, and billed itself as "The Family Fun Restaurant".
In 1977, Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell opened the first Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre, a chain of family-oriented restaurants which combine video games and casual eating. Initially launched to moderate commercial success, the idea was critically well-received and was awarded with a great amount of publicity, eventually spawning a number of competitors. Sega, with its various experiences in running arcades and related venues, soon became such a competitor.
The first P.J. Pizzazz was opened in West Covina, California's Eastland Center shopping mall in June 1980. Each venue contained pinball machines, Skee-Ball, and "Hit City", an area where customers could play the latest upright arcade machines. For one token, children could play in a ball pit or bounce in an inflatable bounce house. Pizza was made and served in the restaurant area of the venue, and Dixieland bands, cartoonists and magicians would perform regularly. Also featured were giant television screens for sporting events, films and announcements. The chain also had a mascot, a simple animatronic robot character named "P.J." who mingled with guests and delivered them personalized messages during their visit.
Sega ultimately never managed to franchise P.J. Pizzazz (despite wanting to), though was able to open a second venue in Garden Grove, California in January 1982. A third located in Puente Hills was opened a month later At a press conference held after the opening of Gremlin's new facilities in May 1982, David Rosen claimed Sega were "re-evaluating" P.J. Pizzazz in May 1982, with the conclusion assumed to be not to expand further.
List of venues
P.J. Pizzazz Eastland Center (Eastland Center, West Covina, California) (1980)
P.J. Pizzazz Garden Grove (Garden Grove, California) (1982)
P.J. Pizzazz Puente Hills Mall (Puente Hills Mall, Puente Hills, California) (198x)
- Brides of Chuck E. - Pizza Time Theatre's Forgotten Imitators article by Keith Smith at The Golden Age Arcade Historian
- ↑ File:PJPizzazz trademark US73271177.pdf, page 2
- ↑ https://citydocs.cityoforange.org/WebLink/DocView.aspx?id=244214106
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Cash Box, "July 11, 1981" (US; 1981-07-11), page 44
- ↑ Cash Box, "July 4, 1981 (Part 2 of 2)" (US; 1981-07-04), page 58
- ↑ Cash Box, "January 23, 1982" (US; 1982-01-23), page 43
- ↑ Cash Box, "December 26, 1981" (US; 1981-12-26), page 84
- ↑ Cash Box, "May 29, 1982" (US; 1982-05-29), page 37