"Hacked" Robots from Showbiz Pizza
So what did Nolan Bushnell do with all of that money he made from starting Atari in the 1970's? He started up a chain of restaurants called Chuck E. Cheese that also had business ties with a similar business called Showbiz Pizza. Both were restaurants aimed to create a "family friendly" atmosphere for arcade games (remember that video games started out in taverns and more adult oriented locales), along with serving substandard pizza.
Any food franchise worth its MSG needs a cast of characters, and these restaurants delivered via stage shows with advanced animatronics. While many children squealed with delight, I think that just as many recoiled in fear with each pneumatic jerk timed to songs about eating pizza and having fun.
Chuck E. Cheese (let's not even dwell on the bravado of a food establishment's mascot being a rat!) took over Showbiz Pizza, so the original Showbiz robots were retired. I never thought that a whole stage full of robots would up in the hands of someone who would elaborately reprogram them to sing contemporary songs. Chris Thrash has choreographed a number of tunes that I normally wouldn't really care about, but somehow become interesting when performed via cutting edge 1978 robot technology. [Thanks engadget!)