Aaron Fechter (born 1954) is an engineering entrepreneur who owns and operates Creative Engineering, Inc. He invented the Whac-A-Mole and the animatronic characters featured at Showbiz Pizza Place (Later Chuck E Cheese's); The Rock-afire Explosion.
Fechter founded Creative Engineering in 1974. Their first product was the Jutta, a fuel-efficient car that ran like a lawn mower. Fechter created The Leaf Eater, a swimming pool cleaning device. In 1978, Fechter created the "Wolf Pack 5", his first animatronic success, and it was showcased at the IAAPA show."The Hard Luck Bears", another animatronic show, came out in 1979. By 1980, The Rock-afire Explosion went mainstream.
Showbiz Pizza Place:
In 1980, Aaron opened Showbiz Pizza Place, a Chuck E Cheese-type restaurant with games, pizza, and animation entertainment (The Rock-afire Explosion) in conjunction with Robert L. Brock of Brock Hotel (largest franchisee of Holiday Inns at the time). Creative would own 20% of the company (owning all the rights to the characters, animation and shows) while brock owned the other 80% until 1984 when ShowBiz bought Chuck E. Cheese's (then known as Pizza Time Theatre), with Aaron still owning the rights to the Rock-afire. The first Showbiz opened its doors in Kansas City, Missouri in 1980, located in The Antioch Shopping Center. Oddly enough, this store did not contain the RAE, but instead the Wolf Pack 5, which was also produced by CEI. The RAE was in development at the time, and could not be brought out yet. Queenie the Fox (of The WP5) was replaced by "Mini Mozzarella" (a precursor to Mitzi of The RAE) per SPP's request for a mouse character.
After a few years of CEI and ShowBiz Pizza Place feuding over the rights to the Rock-afire, The Rock-afire Explosion was stripped from Showbiz Pizzas from 1990 to 1992 in a process called "Concept Unification", which included removal of cosmetics, rearranging of characters, and replacement of shows. Although he was given the chance to do new animatronics, Aaron Fechter hated Chuck E. Cheeses and denied to do new animatronics, so The Rock Afire Explosion turned into Chuck E. Cheeses band.
Post Showbiz CEI:
Even during Showbiz's span, CEI began to pursue other interests animatronic shows. Starting in 1982, CEI began the production and research of The Anti-Gravity Freedom Machine (AGFM), a device that can send messages through a phone line, like E-mail. In 1985, a miniature animatronic doll of Billy Bob was produced. Much like Teddy Ruxpin, which came out the same year. It was able to "read stories and communicate" with children. According to the Release Manual, It could be plugged into a computer, as demonstrated with an Apple II, and be programmed to "sing". On the drawing board, it could sing with characters on video. There were also plans to make Mini Fatz & Mini Mitzi, but never saw the light of day. Prototypes of Mini BB Still are owned by CEI, and even to the extent of being staged with "Props, Drapes, & Spotlights". In 1992, The New Rock-afire Explosion was made as a 'New, Fun, & Exciting Feature to CEI'S Electronimation Lineup". In 1996, animation from the New RAE was used in a karaoke game shown at the IAAPA. In 1997, Looney Bird's was a new resaturant that housed the classic RAE. In 2000, CEI developed "The Mezmerizer" arcade game, which morphed into ICE's Wheel of Fortune. 2003 arrived with a new game, The Starlauncher. The Starlauncher was described as "An American Idol Kiosk" by Fechter in the 2008 RAE Documentary, and has yet to be seen publicly. The RockAfire Explosion resurgence came in 2005, followed by The Rock-afire Explosion Documentary in 2008. In 2010, Research began on Hydrillium alternative fuel source, a safer way to cook cleaner than Propane.
Carbohydrillium explosion at Creative Engineering in 2013:
On September 26, 2013, an explosion occurred at the headquarters warehouse of Creative Engineering. Fechter had been developing a system to manufacture an alternative fuel derived from water and graphite called "Carbohydrillium" in partnership with a paid mentor, William Richardson. A high pressure bottle ruptured and released its contents, causing an explosion. It was later discovered that Richardson had had a very similar explosion in his own warehouse in 2001 when he was developing his systems for making this gas in a company he called Aqualux. The Carbohydrillium reactor is controlled by The Anti Gravity Freedom Machine (AGFM), Fechter's own OS.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license