Crusty was one of the original Pizza Time Players and was present at the original store in San Jose, CA. He was described as the "Cat's Meow" in singing and joke telling, and was Chuck E. Cheese's straight man. He was dressed in a baseball uniform with the name "Wingers" and the number 13 on the front. His caricature in the 1977 Pizza Time Theatre Program also shows him wearing a baseball hat and mitt1.
Early promotional material projected Crusty to be a high-profile character, even though he ultimately ended up as a footnote in the Pizza Time Players history. The 1977 PTT Program shows a special pizza on the menu titled "Crusty's Vegetarian Delight"1. Early newspaper advertisements produced for the grand opening of the 1st PTT feature often featured Crusty - and in some cases featured him solely2. Early copyright records also mention a Crusty costume, leaving the possibility open that he might also have been a walkaround character3.
Crusty appeared in the first two showtapes for the original store. The first featured Crusty along with the other 'nitwits' and no special guest. The second introduced the Pizza Time Theatre’s very first guest star Madame Oink. The original demo reel was entirely voiced by the same person, John Widelock, however later versions of Crusty were voiced by a yet unknown actor (or possibly two)4.
In the end, Crusty ended up being the first Pizza Time Player to face retirement, being replaced by Mr. Munch. Crusty’s voice lived on for several more years as heard in the “Tribute to Uncle Sam skit” that continued to appear on showtapes up until 1982. The original skit contained only Crusty, Chuck E., Jasper and The Warblettes but was later re-edited to include Pasqually and Mr. Munch. Due to Crusty having a similar Jersey accent to the Big C himself, one of Crusty’s lines was left in the show and assigned to Chuck. A close listen reveals that Chuck E.’s voice changes slightly during that line of the skit. Several other original skits from the first two showtapes originally featuring Crusty continued to be used in the early years of Pizza Time Theatre. Most of Crusty’s lines were re-done by Mr. Munch and were often slightly re-edited to better fit Munch's personality.
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1 - 1977 Pizza Time Theatre Program
2 - SP.com correspondence with Gene Landrum
3 - US Copyright Records
4 - SP.com correspondence with John Widelock