We will never forget where we were or how we felt on Tuesday, Nov. 17 — the day the music died.
Major Magic and the Rock n' Roll Rebellion are no more. Of course, we're referring to the choppy animatronic band and namesake of Major Magic's, the beloved family-focused midwest pizza and entertainment chain.
In February, after the years-long restoration of the animatronic band members — Sgt. Pepperoni the Walrus, Rock the Krock, Ludwig Von Drum, Barbara Stringband the Fox, and Major himself — Major Magic's re-opened its doors, marking the kitschy pizza arcade's return to southeast Michigan, not too far from its last Michigan location on Gratiot Avenue, which opened in 1982 and shuttered in the early 2000s. Major Magic's final resting place, however, was in Sylvania, Ohio, which closed in 2013.
“We are bringing it back to life,” franchisee Dennis McDonnell told The Macomb Daily in January. “This is not the old Major Magic's All-Star Pizza Review. This is a new century of family entertainment.”
McDonnell acquired the animatronics after the Sylvania location closed. He says it took persistence to get his hands on all of the memorabilia, which he believes would have ended up in the Dumpster if not for him.
“I think some people might think it's weird in a way, but ... some people don't get it,” McDonnell told Toledo's Fox 36 in 2017, teasing a possible Major Magic resurrection. “I always saw these guys as a cartoon character that came to life, I always just loved it. It resonated with me.”
McDonnell and his team, which included some former Major Magic's production managers, as well as the folks at Sparks Pinball Museum, teased the return of Major Magic's for three years before announcing it's grand reopening — a month before the coronavirus pandemic struck Michigan.
Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders, most businesses, including arcades, were forced to close in mid-March. In October, they were permitted to re-open under strict safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus, which they did on Oct. 31.
However, with COVID-19 cases surging statewide, effective Wednesday, arcades are among those businesses that must once again close, joining movie theaters, bowling alleys, and casinos.
“It is with great regret to inform you that we are shutting down our operations effective immediately,” a dejected Facebook post reads. “We gave Major Magic a new heart but sadly it has stopped. We are selling everything. The show characters, kitchen equipment, games, tables, and chairs etc.”
It is with great regret to inform you that we are shutting down our operations effective immediately. We gave Major...Posted by Major Magic on Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Most of the hundreds of comments under the post expressed condolences. Others confessed regret for not having visited during the limited time it was open, and some offered to buy the entire lot.
“It takes a real dedication and love to create what you guys created there,” one comment reads. “Thank you for bringing it back even for a moment so we could travel back in time, one more time. 'We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.' — Willy Wanka [sic]”
“I’ve been following the restoration for YEARS now,” another comment claims. “You can’t just keep them as a personal collection? Don’t have the room, or are you just trying to get rid of some of the debt? Either way, it’s a huge tragedy, and I’m so sorry that this happened to y’all.”
Owners posted again on Wednesday to inform the interested public to visit the Clinton Township location to check out the characters, kitchen equipment, and arcade games, all of which are for purchase. Passionate commenters insist that there must be a creative way to save the business, including a GoFundMe campaign, promoting Major Magic's on TikTok, or holding out for a pandemic stimulus.
Saturday's open house, however, does not appear to be about saving the business.
“Items will be for sale to the public or just stop by and see your old character friends,” the post reads.
Here's to hoping the Rock n' Roll Rebellion rises once again.
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