ShowBiz Pizza Campground

The ShowBiz Pizza Campground stage was used at ShowBiz in the late 1980s. It was a replacement for the original Smitty's Super Service Station backdrops on Billy Bob's Stage. It was a ShowBiz-exclusive setup, designed to make their Rock-afires unique.

The Stage

The stage conversion was a relatively simple one. The Smitty's garage backdrop was removed, and the trees from center stage were relocated behind Billy Bob giving his stage the appearance of a forest. The campfire was left on the stage, but the still and wire tubing were removed. Also Looney Bird's barrel was painted solid green, masking the old oil barrel appearance. The only new prop was the sign which used the newer "ShowBiz Pizza" updated logo.

Design / Concept Development

Updating Billy Bob's stage to become the "ShowBiz Pizza Campground" was a rather cheap and bland manner of changing the Rock-afire's appearance. It definitely made Billy Bob's stage a lot more simplistic and basic, and also cheapened the appearance of the center stage. Often times, from an angle, you could see the black bar holding up the Rock-afire sign, since the tree line was no longer there to hide it. Some stores also had tree branches painted on Billy Bob's stage background (originally poking out from behind Smitty's), which now jutted out from seemingly nowhere.

But the stage conversion was done for a very specific reason. When ShowBiz Pizza Place bought out Pizza Time Theatre in 1985 and was reorganized to become ShowBiz Pizza Time Inc, the company had changed considerably. Difficult financial times had struck and production at Creative Engineering had come to a halt as no new stores were opening and no new shows were needed. During the reorganization, SPT and CEI made new agreements, canceling the original 'Manufacturing, Sales and Licensing Agreement' and composed a new 'Settlement and License Agreement' which was looser than the original, and gave CEI full rights regarding the destiny and future of the Rock-afire Explosion.

The long and short of the story was that ShowBiz wanted exclusive rights to use the Rock-afire Explosion, but was unable to guarantee purchases. The current agreements between the companies allowed Creative Engineering to sell the show to outside entities, which began to happen, one of the first major competitors being Pistol Pete's Pizza.

This was where the Campground stage originated. ShowBiz needed a way of making their Rock-afire show different from the one across town - which is probably a big reason why the "ShowBiz Pizza" logo was placed on the only custom prop used during the stage conversion. Ultimately the Campground stage saw only limited use, most noticeable in the SPP Cyberstar videotapes. Concept Unification occurred a few years later, removing the Rock-afire completely from ShowBiz, so this stage was used for only a couple of years, and possibly not at all in certain regional markets.