Chuck E. Cheese Has A Horrifying Origin Story: He's An Orphan

by Christina Marfice
Originally Published: 
Phillip Faraone/Getty

Chuck E. Cheese celebrates all those birthdays because he never had one of his own — this story is dark

Whether he’s the subject of your fond, pizza-filled childhood memories, or your animatronic animal nightmares, we all know Chuck E. Cheese, the mouse mascot of the pizza/entertainment center chain of the same name. But, um, did you know how Chuck came to be the host of thousands upon thousands of children’s birthday parties? It turns out the company has an entire backstory for this, and it’s shockingly dark.

Warning: Don’t read on if Chuck E. Cheese-related tragedy might ruin your entire childhood.

A viral tweet from someone who discovered the Chuck E. Cheese Wikipedia page alerted the internet to this, and from there, there was no going back.

According to the page, Chuck E. Cheese was an orphan raised in St. Marinara’s orphanage. His birth certificate was lost, and because of that, he never had a birthday party of his own. That’s why he’s always been so fixated on other kids’ birthdays. We warned you that this is dark.

But that’s Wikipedia, and anyone can write anything they want in those entries, right? Yes, but we can confirm the lore surrounding Chuck E. Cheese and his tragic beginnings is 100 percent true. The company, at one time, produced a picture book all about it, and it’s even darker than the Wikipedia entry.

In the book, little Chuck E. Cheese turns to playing music to help him cope with life at the orphanage. When he wins $50 in a Pong tournament, he runs away to New York, hoping to escape his tragic life. There, he finds a home in the kitchen of a pizza restaurant, where it’s warm and smells like cheese and the pizza chef, Pasqually, sings all day, providing ol’ Chuck with plenty of music to feed his sad, sad soul. That is, until Pasqually discovers the mouse in his kitchen and corners him with a rolling pin. That’s right, kids. Chuck E. Cheese comes within a mouse’s whisker of death in this story.

In a last-ditch effort to save himself, Chuck starts to sing, and Pasqually is amazed.

“A mouse that can sing? My restaurant is saved!” he exclaims, adding in a very stereotype Italian accent, “I’m a-gonna make you a star!”

So Pasqually puts Chuck onstage, where he proceeds to completely bomb. Yep, just when you thought this mouse might get a happy ending, the tragedy continues. The poor little guy, who’s used music as his escape all his life gets booed off the stage at his first performance.

Eventually, though, he sings his favorite song, “Happy Birthday,” and fans are finally impressed. They return to the restaurant and Chuck E. Cheese and Pasqually move to California to start the pizza chain we know and love today. It’s a happy ending, but oof, what a slog of tears it took to get there.

The internet is understandably shook at this news.

But also, WTF. This whole story is full of shocking revelations, TBH.

So now you know the dark truth and if that ball pit was already giving you pause, this horrifyingly sad origin tale is just another layer on the crazy cake that is Chuck E. Cheese.

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