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Jul 10, 2014
"Livingston's (Food, Fun & Games) - A wide variety of food for the entire family. Experience an enjoyable blend of live and animatronic entertainment, food and video games. Air-conditioned for your comfort."

— from an old Kings Dominion map

Livingston's was a large restaurant, showplace and arcade located in Safari Village, in the same buildings currently occupied by Outer Hanks and backed by Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. Here's Livingston's, highlighted on an early 1980's park map:


Livingston's was an amazing place, at least to me as a kid at the park in the '80s. It was a cafeteria-style restaurant that had a game arcade located in the front and a cavernous seating area in the back. The seating area of the restaurant was notable because it featured both live and animatronic shows. I don't recall the nature of the live shows, but the animatronic shows featured music and jokes from a jungle/desert-themed cast of characters including snakes in pots an explorer dog in a big cauldron and pith-helmeted explorers a fez-wearing gorilla. The seating area was divided into different sections, each area themed to places such as Egypt, jungle and desert. I remember some of the seating being raised up on a dais around the central stage. The food was probably general park fare; I remember only fried chicken, though I remember it fondly.

I wish I had photographs of the interior of Livingston's but, thus far, I have not been able to locate any on the web or in my collection.

Another thing I remember about Livingston's is that it was cold in there— they weren't kidding about the air conditioning! Woe be to the guest who sat down in Livingston's wet from having just ridden the Haunted River or Diamond Falls...

ADDED: Please see mhwinva's excellent post below for much better, more detailed information about Livingston's, as well as a picture and video of the Livingstons animatronic characters in their earlier incarnation.
Jonquil, after this many years following this park, I thought that I pretty much knew everything. Your posts put me in my place. Please keep doing posts like this, I love it.

While I don't think I would advocate the return of Livingston's because it sounds like a tacky African chuckie cheese (which also had its prime in the 80s), I do think that the park needs another big arcade. Currently the park only has one major arcade, being the grove arcade. I would love to see a safari-village themed arcade in that area. Idea: put it inside Volcano.
An arcade is a room filled with arcade games. You put quarters in, and then you shoot things, drive a vehicle, fight some other dude/chick and when it's over there is a winner. The games at any amusement park these days spit out some crappy tickets or some stuffed animal with an I-tunes card stuffed down it's throat. They are not arcade games. There is no winner. there is no fighting. There is no line of people waiting to challenge somebody that's good.
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The map shows the color codes used to identify the type of facility/attraction.

Blue was for games, (the arcade portion of Livington's - now the main dining area of Outer Hanks ).

Green was for restaurants/food stands (The serving line/kitchen is still in the same place, just remodeled with a new theme);

Yellow was for entertainment venues (The former Livingston's dining area & show area. Alternated with live shows and the animatronic figures. They did have small singing ensembles that performed; sometimes with a small live band or sometimes with recorded music). There was a magic show performed there as well. Cast sizes ranged from a singing trio up to about 8-9 folks for shows with a live band and for the magic show. The facility could not handle more performers than that due to space limitations.

Currently, a small part of the former Livingston's dining/show area, (15%-20%), is used for the ride control mechanics for The Crypt (closest to the Outer Hanks dining area). The other 80%-85% of the rear of the building is the dark ride area for Boo Blasters. Keep in mind that is addition to the part of the building that was added to the rear of Livingston's to create the Scooby Doo / Boo Blasters attraction.

Course, the history of this building goes back further than Livingston's.

When the park first opened in 1975, the front half of the building was a covered entertainment amphitheater for live entertainment (singer/dancers and band). It was open on 3 sides with the stage up against the wall of the rest of the building. This area would eventually be enclosed to become the arcade/serving line/kitchen for Livingson's.

After the show, you could go into the building and watch the 70mm film "Virginia: the Pursuit of Happiness". The film only ran a couple seasons before being replaced with the animatronic figures called "The Wolfpack 5". These were animals representing music stars from the 1950's and 1960's. The gorilla on piano was "Fat's Domino"; The male wolf was "Wolfman Jack"; there was a female wolf but, I don't remember who she represented, (50's bobby-socker?). There was a Beagle dog who, I thought, represented Ringo from the Beatles. I believe the 5th character was a bear and he represented the Beach Boys. Anyway, it was a 15-20 minute music revue of music from that era.

I thought this show ran for 2-3 seasons. I believe Livingston's opened in 1980. The indoor theater portion was turned into the themed show/dining area described in the previous post above. The animatronic figures were re-purposed for a new themed show. The gorilla was turned into some sort of Moroccan character with a fez hat. The male and female wolves were turned into the Egyptian Pharaoh and his wife the "Pharaoh-weeny". The dog character was turned into the English explorer Livingston and he resided in a big cannibal cooking pot. I am not sure what the bear ended up being.

Anyway, the live shows and animatronic shows alternated in this facility until Paramount took over. I am not sure when the shows stopped. I do know they were gone before LivingSton's was converted to a Forrest Gump food location.
OK, I have found a picture of the "Wolfpack 5" animatronic band. This photo is NOT from Kings Dominion. It appears to be some sort of traveling fairground attraction. Maybe the company that manufactured these figures had "off the shelf" animatronic groups of figures with the shows/music already programmed and ready to go. But, this is EXACTLY what was in the former theater, including the costumes worn and instruments played!



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Thank you so much for the information and the awesome picture, mwhinva! I never thought I'd see these characters again!
Here's the entrance to Livingston's. The show playing when this image was taken was apparently named "The Harem Honeys":


Another thing I've remembered about Livingston's was that there was a waterfall curtain of some sort right as you entered the dining/show area. My memory of the details of this feature is very foggy, so if anyone has any information about the nature of this "curtain" (or if I'm perhaps imagining it), please post a comment.
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KD Golden Year's recently posted a photo taken in what appears to be the 1974-1975 off season. This would lead to the park Grand Opening in May of 1975. Anyway, the photo shows a nice view of the Safari theater / Livingston's building in its original form.

As you can see, the front third was a covered amphitheater (open on the 3 sides, with the stage up against the rest of the building).

Middle portion of the building was the green room / changing rooms for the show performers. I think this also contained the projection room for the original film.

When the live show was over, the attendants opened doors on either side of the show stage and you walked down a short hallway to the theater to initially see the movie and, later the Wolf Pack Five Animatronic show.

Also, notice the new Safari monorail train setting in the parking lot. Course you can see the monrail station to the right of the Safari theater.



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I've been trying to recall all of the songs used in the show.  I know I'm missing a couple, but here's what I recall:
"Magic to Do" from Pippin - This was used at the beginning and end of the show, sung by the gorilla with a fez and a magic lamp in a tent on the left of the theater.
"Octopus Song" from Fanny - sung by a snake in a pot, near the gorilla.
"Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Big Joe Turner - sung by skeletons on spikes, on the right side of the theater.
"King Tut" by Steve Martin - Sung by the pharoah/wolf on the left of the main stage.
"Midnight at the Oasis" by Maria Muldaur - Sung by the queen/fox on the right of the main stage.

I can't for the life of me remember what the dog in the cauldron sang (He was located on a raised platform to the right of the theater entrance), and I seem to remember a giraffe beside the gorilla, but that might be my faulty memory.  Most of the animatronics were hidden before the show, and made their appearance when their part began.  The gorilla was behind a curtain, the snake was down in his pot, the dog was down in his cauldron, and the pharoah and queen were behind moving pillars. The skeletons were not hidden, nor was the giraffe (If he existed! Stupid memory!)  

And Jonquil, the water feature you remember was located on both sides of the theater/dining room entrance.  It was one of those deals that had strings with water running down them.  I always thought it was cool when I was a kid.
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The animatronic show was a Wolfpack 5/Showbiz Pizza Rock-a-Fire Explosion from (I was told) the rebranded Showbiz Pizza-->Chuck E Cheese on the Midlothian Turnpike. Beach Bear and Mitzi were dressed as an Egyptian King and Queen at the end, and there was a snake popping out of a large vase (looney bird). I know the Wolfpack 5 was sold to theme parks in the 70's, and Looney bird wasn't part of the Wolfpack 5. That's where I'm confused which set we actually had, because we had a Looney Bird. Anyway.

Beach Bear caught fire one night and lost his face. Mitzi was also burned because they were positioned together. They were both retired to the storage room in the basement of the Kingswood Amphitheater to die a slow horror movie death with pneumatic guts and metal skeletal features partially exposed, in a moldy poorly lit corner half-covered in a black plastic tarp under a flickering fluorescent lamp. Sort of hated those things, but they were also creepy cool. They were finally tossed into the coaster graveyard in the old giraffe paddock around 2001. No idea what happened to Rolfe or Dook. I feel like I remember someone saying they sold Rolfe (wolfman), because that one was the only one still worth anything.

Far as I know there may still be a Fatz Geronimo up in the catwalks above the dining area in a shiny suit and fez. The metal framework of Looney Bird was there still popped up and shoved in a corner, his snake suit resurfaced occasionally behind the scenes as a gag prop. Livingston's theater was a food and beverage storage area behind Bubba Gump last time I was in there.
Someone on another forum went to this person's house and they had a Wolfman (Rolfe) standing there. They also had some bear cosmetics too. Could this be the Wolfman that was at Kings Dominion. Go to post 15 and you will find the animatronic.
Does anyone know what became of this venue in the 90s? I seem to remember there was a show in this venue in 1998 called "Lava Jive" and I loved it. It was 2 lounge singers - kind of like the Sweeney Sisters on SNL - and they were named Ashley and Florence (but shortened to Ash and Flo - get it!) And they sang songs like "I feel the Earth Move" and "Steam Heat". This venue was opposite/close to where the Volcano roller coaster was going to (finally) open. The theming of the show was all about the Volcano close by and how it was going to erupt at any moment. Anyone remember if this was in the former Livingston's? It may have been called the "Livingston's Adventure Cafe"?
Reading this thread brought back so many memories of Livingston's. I was part of the original opening crew in 1982. It was built to take advantage of the huge success of the Chuck E. Cheeses popping up everywhere. We were the only other restaurant to have beer AND wine in the park other than the sit-down Mexican restaurant on International Street. We had fried chicken, hibachi vegetables (cooked to order on a Teppanyaki grill), beef Souvlaki (the search for the recipe landed me on this site), fried rice, and a few other things I can't remember. The manager was hand-picked from 1981 season's Deutsch Treats' managment staff and he brought a few of us that worked with him along with him. Since it was a new concept, we were brought in before the park opened and cleaned, set up, and learned the recipes. During our breaks, we jumped into the lagoon in front of Smurf Mountain and collected all the quarters, dimes, and nickels. We had to scoop fast, though, because we had to avoid security.

There was a live show - Scooby as King Tut, with Steve Martin's song as the soundtrack. Afterwards, Scooby would walk around the restaurant a bit before he went back behind the stage. The animatronic animals would move and say something every now and then. The arcade was a huge pain in the butt because King's Dominion never staffed it with enough people to take care of game errors and people needing quarters.

It was a LOT of hard work keeping everything running, clean, and stocked, but we had a blast anyway!
Reading this thread brought back so many memories of Livingston's. I was part of the original opening crew in 1982...

It was a LOT of hard work keeping everything running, clean, and stocked, but we had a blast anyway!
Well thanks to YOU and your efforts to keep things running smoothly, and bringing back memories for me too. I remember taking my young sons (who are now 36 and 33, the older one is in my icon pic with Jabber Jaw around 1991) to Livingston's as we were already at Chuck E Cheese's every couple months for someone's birthday party so this was fun for them too.
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