#TBT: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse

I am visiting my family and my husband in Central Illinois and my mom pulled out a surprise from my past.


My old Pee-Wee toys!

I had been telling her that I watched the recent Pee-Wee on Broadway show (which is great, by the way) and she said she thought she might have “one or two” of my old toys. Lo and behold she found this whole box!

I loved Pee-Wee’s Playhouse as a kid.  I loved all of the living furniture, like Chairry and Globey and Magic Screen.

I loved Cowboy Curtis (Lawrence Fishburn!) and Miss Yvonne.  And I loved Pee-Wee himself.

I am uncertain today if Pee-Wee was supposed to be a little boy or if he was just a boyishly innocent adult man (a la Michael Jackson?).  As a kid I felt like he was just a little older than me, maybe like 12 or 13, and that was why he was able to build so much cool stuff.

Tim Burton’s film Pee-Wee Big Adventure (which I just read was actually a re-imagining of the Italian Neo-realism film The Bicycle Thieves?  I don’t know about that, Wikipedia…  Well I’ll be damned, the NYT agrees!) was on constantly in my house.  I think we taped it off of HBO maybe?  But the scenes with the demon clowns and the ghostly truck driver scared me too much.

I liked Big Top Pee-Wee much better for all of the silly inventions and animal friends.

But my favorite of all was Penny!

I wonder how these cartoons were made.  Did they just record a little girl making things up off of the top of her head and then animate the cartoon afterwards?  I like to think that is the case.

I am going to have to check out this book I found, Inside Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and see if they have any insight!

How about you all?  Did you watch Pee-Wee on CBS or on HBO?  Have any memories of the movies?  Looking forward to the new Pee-Wee movie that will be premiered in March at SXSW?  Tell me about it in the comments!




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