"The Time Machine" (Freedom, Basin Street Blues, Hawaiian War Chant, I'm an Old Cowhand (From The Rio
Grande), El Rancho Grande, Orange Blossom Special)
"Hits Show" (When the Going Gets Tough, Heart and Soul, Somewhere, You Belong to the City, St Elmo's Fire
(Man in Motion), Neutron Dance)
The Time Machine / Hits 1 showtape was ShowBiz Pizza's first attempt at producing a Rock-afire Explosion show without any involvement from Creative Engineering (owners of the Rock-afire and producers of all previous shows). ShowBiz had just recently merged with the former Pizza Time Theatre and this newly-reformed company began taking some interest in areas they previously weren't involved with. They were having to produce CEC material in-house, and figured it would be cost effective to produce Rock-afire material in the same fashion.
This showtape is divided into two segments. The first is the "Time Machine" in which Fatz explains how his organ (called the Time Machine in this tape) can transport you to your fondest musical dream, and most of the characters become transported to their own personal musical dreams. The second show is the "Hits Show" which is a collection of modern hits, with a minimal amount of talking. Both shows contain an unusual assortment of music and both are quite long, lasting from 14-16 minutes each.
- Fatz refers to his keyboard as the "Magical Musical Time Machine", and explains how it can make your fondest musical dreams into reality. The Time Machine in this show actually has it's own voice, which introduces each character's dream. Each character (except Dook and Mitzi) goes through and gets to have their musical dream played out. Fatz previously describes his keyboard as his Magic Piano in "Music Goes Round and Round", and beginning in 1988 it begins to become known as the "Tune Machine".
-1.5 out of 5 Tokens-
The Time Machine / Hits 1 tape is arguably the worst tape ever produced for the Rock-afire Explosion. Yes, even worse than the dreaded Rolfe and Earle
showtape that brought upon the Rock-afire Armageddon known as Concept Unification. The vocals on this particular showtape are horrible, and that's compared to the other ShowBiz fake-voices, and I'm not even gong to bother comparing them to Creative Engineering's cast.
I don't know what the problem is here, the characters all sound like their stoned or something. They all… talk... really… slowly. It's hard to tell the characters apart too - especially Mitzi, Dook, Beach Bear, Billy Bob, and Rolfe. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that all the characters were done by the same person.
The "Time Machine" show has some odd moments to be sure. Following Rolfe's musical dream of being the "star at the wildest saloon in the west" the show kinda takes a wild turn where everyone is held up by an invisible wild-west outlaw. Very strange. But it gets weirder... Fatz tells the bandit that they'll get Rolfe off the stage and everyone (in a very hypnotic fashion) begins to chant "ShowBiz Pizza Place" over and over until the dream is broken (I guess). The "Hits 1" show isn't much better unfortunately. Hearing "Mitzi" attempt to perform Barbara Streisand's song "Somewhere" is the most painful few minutes you'll even have to share with the Rock-afire. It may seem like I'm being a little overly critical here, but really… no, you know what? I'm not, this tape really sucks.
How the heck this production actually made it past the scripting stage, to the studio, and approved to go out to stores is quite the travesty. Actually considering that SPT was on the brink of bankruptcy after the merger it's not surprising to me that something like this was allowed in the stores at the time. It's odd though, because I've had the opportunity to watch this show in person, and somehow it manages to become tolerable (because listening to the show audio makes it appear as though no redeeming value is in sight). ShowBiz did do a few things right with the lighting and programming - like how all the characters put their arms in the air when the bandit was threatening Rolfe in the "Time Machine" show - and those little tricks did help to visually explain the odd script. So yeah, it could have been worse I suppose.