The 3-Stage is an animatronic stage format found at some Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants. The format is found in locations that originated as ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurants. In most cases, the animatronics on the 3-Stage are manufactured by Creative Engineering.
Center stage is decorated to resemble a rooftop. The backdrop is designed to resemble a cityscape, and a large lit sign that reads "Munch's Make Believe Band" is located behind the characters. Center stage contains the following characters:
- Jasper T. Jowls
- Mr. Munch
- Helen Henny
- Moon (sometimes)
- Building (sometimes)
- Munch Jr. (formerly)
- Chuck E. Cheese (Darien/Chicago, IL only)
Stage right contains a black rain curtain backdrop, a neon sign, a star that lights up in certain songs, and a television. This stage contains Chuck E. Cheese.
Additionally, the Wink, a sign containing an image of Chuck E. Cheese with an animated winking eye, is located on the valence over center stage. Some locations have a Wink that is colored. Some Winks also contain the slogan "In Pizza We Trust", but most are painted over with red and white stripes.
The 3-Stage format was originally designed for ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurants to house The Rock-afire Explosion animatronic show, which operated on three stages.
Due to changing relations with Creative Engineering, which owned The Rock-afire Explosion, ShowBiz Pizza Time moved to replace The Rock-afire Explosion with a different stage show. To that end, ShowBiz test marketed the use of licensed characters, ultimately deciding to test Hanna-Barbera's Yogi Bear and Boo Boo at three ShowBiz locations for a one-year period.
The Rock-afire Explosion was ultimately removed from ShowBiz Pizza Place restaurants via a process called Concept Unification, which replaced the Rock-afire characters with Chuck E. Cheese's characters as Munch's Make Believe Band (Munch's Party Time Band in the prototype versions). This was accomplished by replacing the cosmetics on the existing animatronics, changing the locations of animatronics on the stage, changing stage backdrops, and upgrading equipment. All of the former Rock-afire animatronics were reused, with the exception of Billy Bob and Earl Schmerle, which were completely removed. As with all other unused items, locations were ordered to destroy them; even so, some managed to survive and were either saved from the trash, or sold to collectors.
According to Jul Kamen (designer of the CU Prototype), after the Concept Unification Prototype, it was decided that Dave Thomas of Diversified Design, a former employee of Creative Engineering, would take a crack at redesigning the show. Dave went on to "Mitzify" Helen, and placed Munch on the keyboard due to his similar character-design to Fatz. A few tweaks and changes later, Munch's Make Believe Band was born.
The first Munch's Make Believe Band 3-Stages were installed at the Dallas “Montfort”, Texas location and in CEC Department 18 in November 1989. From there on out, a handful of other test stages were installed in 1990. They included several differences (most notably the building backdrops and Pasqually’s brick wall) compared to the finalized 3-Stage shows in 1991.
During Concept Unification, the animatronics were fitted with latex masks, similar to the masks on Rock-afire Explosion characters prior to Concept Unification. Beginning in November 1999, in a cost-cutting measure, the latex masks on the animatronics would begin to be replaced with ones made of plastic at all locations .
In the early 2010s, three of the 3-Stage locations were converted to the CU 1-Stage format, which utilizes the Creative Engineering animatronics on a single stage with "Chuck E's Make Believe Band" wording on the valence, and a new backdrop behind the characters. Only Chuck E. Cheese, Helen Henny, Mr. Munch, Jasper T. Jowls, and Pasqually are used in this new format.
As of May 2022, 21 3-Stages remain in operation in the United States (24 if counting Lynnwood, WA, Darien, and Chicago "Kedzie", IL, or 27 counting the CU-1 Stages, which utilize 3-Stage animatronics on an updated stage.) .
Removed CharactersThe Pizzacam and Munch Jr. animatronics have been removed from most restaurants since the 1990s. Some restaurants have also removed their Building or their Moon, and sometimes all four of the aforementioned characters are removed.
- The 3-Stage in Wilmington, North Carolina was the last known 3-Stage to have had both Munch Jr. and a white helicopter light. However, this particular 3-Stage also lacked the "Munch's Make Believe Band" sign and had a Helen with ginger hair instead of black and white. This location also had Pizzacam, but, strangely, with a fedora. Pasqually and Munch also had latex right shoes, and plastic left shoes. Munch also had his cap, and Chuck E. had his rockstar shirt and jeans, making this and Department 18 the only 3-Stages to have had them both. This location closed on October 21st, 2020.
- The 3-Stage in Zona 9, Guatemala City, Guatemala was the last known 3-Stage to still have a latex Jasper and a latex Pasqually. It was also the only known MMBB 3-Stage outside of the United States. It was also one of the only two known 3-Stages to feature a Chuck E. Cheese light from a 2-Stage, the light of which came from their removed 2-Stage. The 3-Stages in Lynnwood, Washington and Guatemala City featured a fiber optic sign that reads "Chuck E. Cheese" in color changing lights; they are the only known 3-Stages with this feature. They also had a big wooden platform in front of the stage used for live shows, an early building backdrop on the center stage, the flashing light on the TV on Pasqually's stage, 2-Stage buildings on Pasqually's stage that, once again, came from their removed 2-Stage, a unique shirt on Chuck, a Cyberamic dress on Helen, unique clothes for Pasqually and Munch's organ was placed incorrectly during the relocation from Ave. Reforma. It was further apart from him. The location relocated in April 2016, and the 3-Stage animatronics and a few props were saved and are currently on display at the Condado Concepcion location, though Pasqually has a walkaround head over him. They are static.
- The 3-Stage in Laurel, Maryland is the last known 3-Stage to have a latex Pizzacam. It is also the only 3-Stage in state.
- The 3-Stage in Springfield, Massachusetts was the only 3-Stage in the state and the New England region. The animatronics got replaced with the Cyberamics from the now closed Burlington, Massachusetts location in September 2017. Surprisingly, Jasper's banjo was kept intact, but Munch's cap was removed; the 2-Stage buildings were put on Chuck's stage as well. This location closed in June 2020.
- Lynnwood, Washington's 3-Stage is the first and only 3-Stage to use Cyberamic characters like the 1-Stage, 2-Stage, Road Stage, and Rocker Stage. Jasper and Munch have their PTT masks, and Chuck E. has his latex feet. This stage also has a 2-Stage star for Chuck E. as well as a fiber optic sign. They also have buildings from a 2-Stage along with the normal buildings.
- The 3-Stage in Madison, Wisconsin had a blue Beach Bear guitar, instead of red. It also featured a helicopter light. Helen also had plastic Pasqually hands that were painted white, and held a Cyberamic microphone. This location got 2.0 in July 2021.
- The 3-Stage in Greensboro, North Carolina is one of four stages in the state to have the Rockstar Pants. They also have a Beach Bear guitar, and Chuck E. has walkaround shoes.
- The 3-Stage in Visalia, California is the last remaining 3-Stage in the state. Their Chuck E. Cheese animatronic has Jasper's red tennis shoes, unlike most 3-Stages. It is in a state of disrepair, and Jasper has a Beach Bear guitar as well.
- The 3-Stage in Roanoke, Virginia is one of the two 3-Stages that no longer feature The Wink. They also have a black plastic Pizzacam.
- The 3-Stage in Phoenix, Arizona is the last 3-Stage in the state. West Mesa had the second to last stage until it was removed in 1998/99/2000. It also has a helicopter light and the original unpainted Wink with the "In Pizza We Trust" slogan. This particular 3-Stage has Pasqually wearing Jasper's red tennis shoes, and also lacks a TV on Stage Right. It is the oldest existing CEC 3-Stage currently and it was converted in October 1990 as a test stage. Jasper used to have a Billy Bob guitar and Pasqually's shoes as well.
- The 3-Stage in West Des Moines, Iowa has a Munch Keyboard from a 1-Stage/2-Stage. It also no longer features The Wink, and is the last 3-Stage in the state. It is also the oldest RAE 3-Stage currently.
- The 3-Stage in Huntsville, Alabama had several cosmetic modifications made to it by the location's technician. Pizzacam now has a black plastic body and an antenna. Munch's keyboard has a personalized front with the initials "CEC" on it. Jasper's guitar was completely repainted to red, white and blue with a few extra ornamental features added. Moon also has an American flag on him. Also, as of 2020, the location has returned Helen's original green cheerleader outfit, and Helen's hair is now yellow. This is the last 3-Stage in the state as well.
- The 3-Stage in Chicago "Kedzie", Illinois was the last 3-Stage in the state. They also no longer had curtains, Chuck E. Cheese's black triangular pedestal, Jasper's Beach Bear guitar, and Chuck's flat screen TV. They still had Building and Moon, which were both fully functional. This location got the same fate as Darien, IL.
- The 3-Stage in Darien, Illinois was one of the few stages where Chuck E. Cheese was not positioned on top of a black triangular pedestal like in most other locations. Pasqually was also moved to the center of his stage after the removal of this location's Pizzacam. This stage also had the curtains removed, and was in a state of disrepair. In May 2020, they had the "In Pizza We Trust" slogan on their Wink. This stage's props and animatronics were removed for Joliet's Studio C Beta in July 2020, keeping the basic stage setup intact and only utilizing the Center Stage for the show.
- The 3-Stage in Peoria, Illinois was the last 3-Stage in the state to have curtains, and a Helicopter light. They also had a working Building and Moon. This location received 2.0 in late 2019.
- The 3-Stage in Irving, Texas at CEC's corporate offices, also has Helen with orange pigtails instead of black & white. The big screen TV next to Chuck has been removed, though the light extension on top was saved. Chuck E. also has his Rockstar outfit and walkaround shoes. The neon sign was moved to the left of Chuck. Pizzacam and Munch Jr. have been removed from the corporate stage, likely due to not having enough space and not being programmed at the time. Mr. Munch also has unique hair. The stage now more resembles a CU 1-Stage, rather than a 3-Stage.
- The 3-Stage in Billings, Montana is the only one in Montana and is the last 3-Stage to have Mr. Munch wearing his hat. Helen's legs are also fuzzy, unlike most 3-Stages. They also currently have a Flying Cheese guitar, and the original unpainted Wink with the "In Pizza We Trust" slogan. Chuck E. still has the original latex feet, and Pizzacam's speaker box is still on Pasqually's stage.
- The 3-Stage in New Orleans, Louisiana formerly had a black and green Beach Bear Guitar (currently has a Flying Cheese guitar). This is note-worthy as most 3-Stages have red and silver guitars. Pasqually's drum set and base flooring are also unique, and the stage has neon lights around the buildings, star, and the "Pasqually's" part of the brick wall.
- The 3-Stage in Omaha, Nebraska no longer had a Munch's Make Believe Band sign. They also had the Chuck E. Helen, Munch, and Jasper animatronics from the Davenport, Iowa location. It was in a state of disrepair. This is the last location and was the last 3-Stage in the state. Omaha received 2.0 and removed the stage in March 2022.
- The 3-Stage in Madison, Tennessee had the Ticket Blaster positioned next to Stage Right. It also had a black plastic Pizzacam and a repainted and colored version of the Wink. This was also the last 3-Stage in the state, before being removed for 2.0 in 2022.
- Before its closure in 2020, the 3-Stage in Memphis, Tennessee was the second to last in state, and was the only location in the world to feature a 3-Stage and Phase 5.
- The 3-Stage in Fargo, North Dakota, aside from being the only one in the state, had Jasper and Pasqually's latex masks until 2008. They still have a Beach Bear guitar as well as the original "In Pizza We Trust" Wink. It is in a state of disrepair.
- The 3-Stage in Altoona, Pennsylvania is the last 3-Stage in the state, and was the last location in the world to have a latex Helen mask, and the last location in the US to have a latex Jasper and Pasqually mask. The latex Pasqually mask was replaced in 2011, and Helen and Jasper's were replaced in 2012. The Munch's Make Believe Band sign is on Stage Right and a TV is above Munch like how York, PA had their 3-Stage before 2.0.
- The 3-Stage in Dallas "Westmoreland", Texas opened as the 100th ShowBiz Pizza. Currently, the characters have Cyberamic shoes. It is in a state of disrepair, but recently was undergoing restoration by Matt The Franchize. This is the last 3-Stage in the state.
- The 3-Stage in Springfield, Ohio is the last 3-Stage in the state. They have the Avenger outfit from the Cincinnati “Colerain”, OH location, which closed in September 2019.
- The 3-Stage in Paducah, Kentucky was the last 3-Stage in the state, and the last 3-Stage to have the original Showbiz Pizza wall paneling. This location has since removed their stage for 2.0.
- The 3-Stage in Boise, Idaho is the only one in the state. It is also the last 3-Stage to still use CRTs. They also have Pizzacam's speaker box.
- The 3-Stage in Charlotte, North Carolina (Pineville Matthews Rd) is one of four in the state. They no longer feature curtains, or Beach Bear's guitar. They still have the “In Pizza We Trust” Wink. Munch's organ has a unique front on it, similar to Huntsville, AL, with “CEC” initials and red, orange, and white stripes. In October, 2021, while the compressor was still broken, the technician put Chuck E.'s original 1990s tuxedo back on the animatronic as a Halloween costume. However, when they fixed their compressor, the tux had to be removed so it didn’t rip. In March 2022, this location’s technician made a reproduction Munch Jr. mechanism and mask, and installed it on the stage.