My childhood was filled with strange and wonderful television shows. Most memorable was the character “Pee-Wee Herman”.
I first saw him on Superchannel when I lived in Edmonton. It was 1981 or 1982, I was around five or six at the time. It was Paul Reubens’ first TV special devoted to his character, Pee-Wee Herman. Most of the adult jokes went over my head, but it was so much fun for me to see a grown man in a suit acting as a child. All the adults at that time in my life appeared super serious and well in control of reality. Then Pee-Wee showed up on my television. Quirky, strange, and wishing to fly. My little mind was shaken up: Adults have dreams?
Years later, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” came out. I was ten years old when I saw it on video. I rented the film numerous times from our local video store. I could probably quote to you nearly every scene. I also became a huge Tim Burton fan. Later in my life, I even dressed up as Mr. Herman for Halloween.
“Exhibit A: A photograph of the victims…”
“Exhibit B: Another photograph. What’s missing from this picture? It’s just me. WITHOUT MY BIKE!”
“Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” became my regular Saturday morning routine from ’85-’90. I watched and sang along to the theme song every week. After watching each show, my friends and I would try and make each other say the secret word of the day.
The secret word of the day is “Cool”.
Fast forward from the early 90’s to 2011. “Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway” was released. My memories came rushing back. I showed this gem to my children (It allowed me to explain the safe way to use our deep-fat fryer through visual effects). Paul Reubens was back. I started following him on Facebook and Twitter. A fun and crazy world opened up in the virtual world. My childish humor came back; I can joke with my children, and they joke back. Then Netflix did something crazy. They announced a new Pee-Wee Herman film. I was excited. Soon after, a release date was announced. The perfect gift for my 40th birthday. Unfortunately, I was going to be in a hotel when it was released, hoping for a strong enough wi-fi. A few days on the open road is worth a lifetime… I waited up until 00:01 March 18, 2016 to be one of the first to watch “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday”.
Best 40th Birthday Gift Ever! How’d they know my name was Joe?
Something strange and special about the film resonated with me. It was quirky, unrealistic, laughable, and fun. I could never expect anything less. Father Time has been exceptionally kind to Paul Reubens: he still looks and acts like an oversized, naïve child stuck in an adult body. Thank you Pee-Wee Herman. You haven’t changed a bit.
“You look really busy. Let me let you let me run.” ~Pee-Wee Herman