Showbiz Pizza was one of those chain restaurants that came and went in the 1980's. This new restaurant was located in a small shopping center on Broadway between Providence Rd. and Stadium and it would be unlike any other pizza place in Columbia. With a large arcade of games and animatronic characters performing on stage, it was like a little Disneyland in the Midwest. You could sit around the stage to watch and listen as the animatronic animals did their thing and I believe there may have been some interaction between the audience and the characters which added to the attraction.
At the time I was working at Woodhaven Learning Center which took care of mentally and/or physically handicapped children and young adults. In those early days the state of Missouri gave the clients enough money so we could sometimes take a group there to eat and enjoy the shows. It was a blast watching the expressions on their faces as the animatronic animals performed and sing funny songs. Taking those kids out was always a high point in my life because they knew how to have fun and not worry about what other people thought. Unfortunately the state started cutting funds so we had to quit going out. I regret not going to Showbiz on my own because it closed for a while and reopened under a new name, perhaps Piccadilly's, but I am not sure on that detail. Soon that place closed and another pizza place bit the dust. I checked on the Internet and Showbiz has several fan websites with photos of the various characters and personal stories of people who enjoyed the experience. And I believe Chucky Cheese took over the Showbiz Pizza company and they have opened a small location here in Columbia.