If you've ever been serenaded by an animatronic mouse while eating terrible pepperoni pizza and fending off hordes of screaming 5-year-olds, you know Duncan Brannan. For the past 19 years, the Dallas-area voice actor has been the nasal whine behind Chuck E. Cheese, the whiskered face of the eponymous, Irving-based child-enticing pizza empire.
During that time, Chuck was transformed "from a joke-telling, sometimes off-color New Jersey rat to a lovable, mainstream mouse who could sing," in Brannan's word. That apparently wasn't good enough for CEC Inc., which has unceremoniously dropped Brannan as part of a wholesale makeover of its primary mascot.
This all came to light when Brannan listened to "Chuck's Hot New Single," which "was clearly not my voice," he wrote in a letter posted to his Facebook page and reproduced on showbizpizza.com. He had been asking CEC for months whether he was being pushed out as he noticed the mascot's changing image and as new work for Chuck E. Cheese slowed to a trickle, but he was assured he was still the voice. That changed when he called a friend at the company after hearing the fresh-cut track.
"That is when he finally confirmed with me that I have been replaced -- completely -- on all fronts," Brannan writes.
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That's a pretty cold way to end a two-decade-long relationship, enough to make the average human being pretty pissed. Brannan, however, is turning the other cheek.
Why CEC, Inc. chose to do this, or do it in this manner, one can only speculate and that is not my place. The fact is I am grateful for the time I have had to do this, to be "Chuck E." -- grateful to God for the appointment and grateful to the people at CEC, Inc. for the opportunity.
But, more than all of that, here's what I know: I am a Christian, and that is all that matters. I am one who believes that salvation (from sin, God's judgment, and hell) is found in no other name under heaven but the risen Lord and Savior and returning King, Jesus Christ. And, if being the voice of Chuck E. Cheese for any length of time has meant anything to me, it was never about a paycheck because God will always provide for His children in one way or another. No. What it was about, what my sincere hope is that you -- you Fans, you parents, and all you kids who have loved Chuck E. Cheese over the years -- have seen, heard, or experienced Jesus Christ in and through my life in some way. For He is all that matters, now and for all eternity. I hope that you have seen Christ in me. I hope that He touched your life through mine in some special way and, if that happened, then I was doing my one true real job, which is sharing Him with all of you.
Regardless then of how all this has transpired, God is faithful and worth of praise. He knows the good plans he has for this man and His people everywhere. And, I'm just a little teeny spec in that big, beautiful picture! I trust Him, rejoice in Him, and will continue looking to Him for His guidance, provision, and everything else, and I want to encourage all of you to do the same because He will never fail or forsake you. I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store and will continue to press toward the mark of His high calling. To God alone be the glory and honor and praise forever through His Son, the only Lord and Savior, the only true hope for mankind, Jesus Christ!
Former Voice of Chuck E. Cheese Forever Child of God through Christ Jesus
I have a call in to both Chuck E. Cheese and Brannan for additional comment. Nothing yet. Update at 2:55 p.m.: CEC, Inc.'s, PR company declined to comment.