Hey guys, Jana here,
Looking back at growing up in the 80’s made me realize just how surreal the whole experience really was. In remembering my childhood, there are several things that stand out more than others, Cabbage Patch Kids, Aquanet , ‘New Kids On The Block‘, cereal that had no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever besides being easy enough for a kid to serve themselves while parents slept in on Saturday mornings, and a lineup of cartoons that kept us occupied while we slowly reached sugar-induced coma levels of happiness. That’s right, Saturday morning telly was geared toward kids. I had roughly 3 channels that broadcast what came to be the soundtrack to my childhood and some of my best memories. Every remote jockey, i.e. the oldest sibling, had the channel jump down to an art form in order to ensure that we made it to the right channel at the right time to catch the personalized lineup of cartoons that took us weeks to master. I didn’t want to wake up to go to school, but you better believe I was up at 6:30am so that I wouldn’t miss the beginning of my favorite day of television.
Not every show was animated, as I got older, the lineup was amended to encompass live-action series like ‘Saved By The Bell‘ and ‘Pee -Wee’s Playhouse‘. Pee -Wee Herman is an entity separate from his series that ran from 1986 to 1991. While the program was laced with absolute absurdity, we loved it. The droll one-liners and quips that issued from Herman were fantastic to mimic, but got absolutely maddening when they were leveled at you by a younger sister you just wanted to smack on occasion, or sit on her until she peed her pants, but that’s another story.
The resplendent Pee -Wee Herman, real name Paul Reubens, wasn’t content with only entertaining kids on Saturday mornings. That was actually the second part of his success. Before we got ‘Pee Wee’s Playhouse‘ on a weekly schedule, there was a film that was paramount to playhouse even being signed. I always figured the series came first, but that wasn’t the case. An incredibly simplistic story about the search for a stolen bike was all it took for kids across the country to respond with “I know you are, but what am I?”, and the greatest comeback to any sub that took attendance in class “That’s my name, don’t wear it out!”. We were obnoxious little shits back then, I know.
I’ve got fabulous news about our favorite man-child, he’s coming to big screens again! Filming begins at the first of the new year, a full thirty years after Big Adventure was released. Judd Apatow (‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin‘) gave further info including his role as producer of a script that was penned by Reubens and Paul Ruse, although a title is still elusive. While Pee-Wee wasn’t his real name, Reubens never clearly delineated himself from the children’s entertainer he identified with. Now we all have a reason to continue calling him Pee-Wee.
‘Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure‘ was released in 1985 and was a coup for several reasons, besides just launching a character that survived decades, the film propelled another set of careers that you wouldn’t expect. The master of the weird, dark, twisted and tortured Tim Burton used this vehicle as his debut into directing. When you think of Burton’s films another name should follow closely and no, it isn’t Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter, but Danny Elfman. You read that right, one of the best composers in the film biz was plucked from his band, ‘Oingo Boingo‘ and paired with the iconic director for the first of what became an immense collection of works. If that isn’t one of the most absurd connections you’ve heard, I have an even better one for you – metal-man, filmmaker and horror movie freak, Rob Zombie was a production assistant on ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse‘…and Yes, that is Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis, he appeared for 8 episodes. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.