Chuck E. Cheese is getting a makeover, and the actor who voices the mouse claims that he was one of the last to know he was being dumped.
The rodent had previously adorned a backward baseball hat and fingerless gloves, but it appears that he will now be taking on more of a rocker persona.
The kids-themed restaurant chain's parent, CEC Entertainment Inc. of Iving, Texas, on Tuesday posted images on its Facebook page of a silhouetted mouse playing a guitar along with the line, "You've never seen Chuck E. Cheese rock like this!"
Jaret Reddick, lead singer of the band Bowling for Soup, from the Dallas suburb of Denton, will voice the mascot, according to the Associated Press. Full details are expected to be announced Thursday.
But that news came as a shock to Duncan Brannan, a Dallas-based voice actor who has lent his talents to Chuck E. Cheese for 19 years. In a post on his Facebook page that was reproduced on ShowbizPizza.com, the actor claims he wasn't given a heads-up about his being let go.
Brannan claims he learned about the switch when he listened to "Chuck's Hot New Single" and realized it "was clearly not my voice." He writes that he had been asking CEC execs for months if he was being pushed out as he noticed that the mascot's image was changing and he was being requested for new work less often. But he claims that they told him he had nothing to worry about.
When he realized what was happening, he said it came as "a complete surprise" and that it was "hurtful that CEC Inc. chose not to communicate with me about it."
Still, he says he actually isn't mad at the company for letting him go, even though he questions the manner in which it was handled.
"Why CEC, Inc. chose to do this, or do it in this manner, one can only speculate and that is not my place," he said. "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."
He also goes on to cite his religion as being a big part of his ability to stay calm about it.
"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," he said. "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."
CEC isn't commenting.