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Intelligencer: September 12-19, 2005

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Chuck E. Cheese Wants You
Is the military targeting the birthday- party set?
Last week, members of the Park Slope Parents Association were alerted to a new threat: Republicans bearing pizza. The mother of a 3-year-old reported that she was shocked to see “promo films for military recruitment” playing at her local Chuck E. Cheese’s. The 500 franchises of the amusement-park-like pizzeria were screening a two-minute montage of smiling soldiers handing out toys and candy to Iraqi kids (set to “America the Beautiful”). According to Chuck E. Cheese’s VP of marketing Dick Huston, this segment, created from footage donated by the Defense Department, began showing at the chain around July 4. “There was no firing of weapons,” notes Huston. “It was meant to honor our troops and the humanness of what is occurring. It is a nice, innocent piece. It’s pretty warm.” Still, customers complained that this was inappropriate for a child’s birthday party. “I guess people could interpret it as prowar, but we support what our troops are doing over there—helping kids.” So is Chuck Republican? “We don’t know what he is.”
—Shana Liebman


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