In 1977, Nolan Bushnell created the first Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre in San Jose, California which combined single-user, token-operated rides designed for small children, redemption games, a robotic animatronic show, and that staple of every Stateside kid's diet-pizza-into one-stop centers. Then in 1979 Bob Brock, an entrepreneur who owned several Holiday Inn hotel chains. started his own chain of similar restaurants called Showbiz Pizza Place.
In 1984, Bob Brock purchased the Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre chain after they filed for Chapter IX Bankruptcy reorganization and merged it into Showbiz Pizza Time, Inc. The two concepts were are operated under their separate brand identities until 1992 when all the stores are remodeled as Showbiz Pizza and the existing Rock-afire Explosion shows in the old Showbiz Pizza Place stores were replaced with new Chuck E Cheese character shows. Finally in 1993 Showbiz Pizza Time changed the name of all their restaurants to Chuck E Cheese's Pizza and in 1998, changed their corporate name to CEC Entertainment, Inc.