Once they got away from doing the portrait figures, they started mass-producing steel frames and created the characters out of wood, foam and cloth, along with the mechanics. These were basically the same simple robot built over and over again, and they’d be stamped out and redressed for each character. They were called the “Ottoman” robots because it was basically like reupholstering an ottoman, but they served their purpose.
When I took my kids to Disneyland and saw the Tiki Room, I felt that that could be the solution — a mechanical, computer-operated entertainment system.
They were crap, and we were great, that’s what we believed. We were rivals. We don’t want to buy them out, we want to kill them! If they’re going to go out of business, let them go out of business. Don’t prop them up. Kill the rat! Let me plunge the sword through Chuck E. Cheese’s heart!
So I said to myself, “I got it! They have Mickey Mouse, I can do Chuck E. Cheese, it’s sounds the same, see? Mick-ey-Mouse, Chuck-E.-Cheese.” So that’s where I got it from. And Nolan had a rat costume in his office, so it worked out.
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