Me? A Villain? I'm shocked.

Located in Wonderland, Neverland, and Hollow Fields

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I’m just surprised and heartened by how obsessively the fans keep track. If you leave a little trail of breadcrumbs, they will follow it and then they will find breadcrumbs you didn’t even leave and demand more breadcrumbs. [Laughs.] That’s been exciting and rewarding and, also, raised the bar for me. Now that I see, “Okay, not only do they find every code, not only do they notice every callback, not only do they catch all of our hints”—a lot of the hints they don’t interpret correctly, but they catch them—they’re also coming up with new theories and noticing things we didn’t intend. I was born on June 18 so we put “618” all over the place in the show just because that’s our go-to number if we need a number. People started to pick up on this, but they weren’t content just to rest with the ones we actually put in there, they started finding hidden 618s that are imaginary, like, the shape of boats from a distance looks like a six and a pillar looks like a one and the letter b, uppercase and upside down looks like an eight. That kind of stuff. I think it’s been really encouraging. The more the fans love it, the more I want to do it. And the more I do it, the more fans want more. [Laughs.] I don’t know—season two might be this meta catastrophe. In the meantime, I’m having so much fun.

From an interview with Alex Hirsch.

Oh man, this makes me so happy. I’m personally a huge fan of hidden easter eggs and lot’s of continuity in shows, so Alex doing a show like Gravity Falls…well, it’s easy to understand why I’m obsessed enough to make a huge blog about it.

Also, uh, I guess he reads our blogs or something? XDDD HUGE FAN MR. HIRSCH. You’re an inspiration! :D

Doubtful he’s actually ever going to read that but I can dream, right?

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The REAL Inspiration Behind the Hoo-Hoo Animatronic Band


Contrary to what many people may be thinking, the animatronic band featured in this week’s episode (“Soos and the Real Girl”) is NOT a nod to the popular indie PC horror game, Five Nights at Freddy’s.

The episode would have already been written and at least recorded before season one of Gravity Falls even finished airing on television, and thus long before Five Nights at Freddy’s came onto the internet scene.

The theme of children’s restaurant animatronics gone bad has been a trope for quite a while (remember Chubby Cheese’s from Dexter’s Laboratory?  Or Bloaty’s Pizza Hog?  The Capicola Gang?), and was first inspired by the most notable animatronic animal band, The Rock-afire Explosion.  It was the first to feature life-size characters, and was created by an inventor named Aaron Fechter.

Long before Chuck E. Cheese’s merged and took over, absorbed, and renamed all restaurants, the popular destination for kids having birthday parties was known as Showbiz Pizza.  Fechter and his company, Creative Engineering Inc., created and operated in-house animatronic bands for various Showbiz Pizza outlets, beginning in 1980.

The Rock-afire Explosion was comprised of three stages:


The stage to the left is that of the character of Rolfe deWolfe, and his puppet, Earl Schemerle.  They performed before, and between, each stage show.  This was likely part of the inspiration for the badger character from tonight’s episode-


-which was then combined with the way Chuck E. Cheese’s redesigned their “Chuck E." mascot to be more appealing to the target demographic of children in the mid 1990’s:


The hillbilly bear animatronic was based on Billy Bob Brockali, who took up the right side stage of the Rock-afire Explosion:


He is also the very obvious inspiration behind the unnerving “Bear-O” puppet that Mabel owns.


[Image source]

The female robot possessed by Giffany was inspired by Mitzi Mozzarella, who was the lone female animatronic in the center stage of the Rock-afire Explosion:



The large-clawed rats wearing stumps are not a nod to the surprise “Foxy” character in Five Nights at Freddy’s, but are instead inspired by baby Choo-Choo the bear, who was part of the center stage diorama, and would dance along to the songs:


Beginning in 1990, all Showbiz Pizza locations were converted into Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants after the unification of both companies.  This was due in smaller part to the North American Video Game Crash of 1983, but mostly because both venues were seeing a dramatic decrease in profits:  Particularly on Showbiz Pizza’s behalf, as they opened far more restaurants than the company could afford to maintain.

After the unification, the Rock-afire Explosion characters were retired, and the animatronics were redressed as the Chuck E. Cheese band, Munch’s Make Believe Band (which were greatly lacking in build quality, as well as overall character).  With their larger, circular eyes, less-complicated construction/operation, and more lifeless expressions, it is far more likely that the Five Nights at Freddy’s characters were based on the newer Chuck E. Cheese band than the original Rock-afire Explosion.


So, to recap:

The animatronic band in “Soos and the Real Girl” was inspired by THESE guys:


NOT by THESE guys:


And the Five Nights at Freddy’s band was more than likely inspired by THESE guys:



EDIT:  For anyone that wishes to know more about the history behind the Rock-afire Explosion, the 2008 documentary, The Rock-afire Explosion, can be viewed for free on Hulu (many thanks to iammister86 for pointing this out!).

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