Paul Reubens will be reprising his famous Pee-Wee Herman persona for a rebooted version of The Pee-Wee Herman Show, the adult stage show originally created by Reubens in the early 80s, which catapulted his alter ego Pee-Wee Herman into fame and inspired the 1985 Tim Burton classic, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (which was co-written by the late Phil Hartman?) and a year later, the equally-classic children's television series, Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
Well, Reubens is going back to the source: his retooled version of The Pee-Wee Herman Show is getting a limited engagement run this November in L.A. and tickets are on sale if you are one of those people just aching to be reunited with the randy version of Pee-Wee Herman you worried you might never see again.
Talk about a head trip: right now I feel like one of those mixed up characters from a time travel flick. In my version of history Pee-Wee Herman was always a kid-friendly character; Pee-Wee's Playhouse was the vehicle that launched him to fame; and Burton's film (didn't even know it was a Burton film until right now - let alone that Phil Hartman was involved with it) came AFTER Playhouse had already made Pee-Wee Herman a household name.
Just another fine example of the illusionary existence called childhood that we all experience, if only for awhile.
Reubens has been trying to make a Pee-Wee comeback for some time since he was *cough* rubbed out of the limelight in the early 90s by an indecent scandal. The actor has been vocal about his plans for not one but two movie projects - Pee-Wee's Playhouse: The Movie for the kids and a separate Pee-Wee film for the grownups - but nothing has materialized yet on that front. Maybe this upcoming stage show will fan those flames?
The retooled Pee-Wee Herman Show - while toned along the adult-oriented themes of the original stage production - will bring back characters from the Playhouse era, including Chairry the talking chair, Mailman Mike, Cowboy Curtis (no longer played by Laurence Fishburne most likely), Jambi the Genie, Pterri the pterodactyl, Miss Yvonne, robot Conky, Magic Screen, Randy, as well as others. Many of the original artists of the original stage show are back for this retooled version as well.
Here's what Reubens had to say (via press release) about his return to the stage as Herman:
“It’s time...My Pee-Wee suit and red bow tie are at the ready - and this is proof that white shoes are cool past Labor Day.”
Pee-Wee's Playhouse certainly had an impact on our national culture, arguably inspiring the more surreal and zany (read: crazy) string of slightly-adult kids shows that would follow, including Ren & Stimpy and more recently, SpoongeBob SquarePants. When Cartoon Network re-aired old episodes of Playhouse in 2006, people turned out in considerable numbers to watch. The Pee-Wee Herman magic is definitely still potent.
I guess it's good that Reubens is bringing back the adult-version of the character, as his most loyal audience (i.e., people like me who grew up watching Playhouse) has now grown to adult age. We'll at last be able to connect with the original version of Pee-Wee - the one we were too young (and innocent) to understand back in the 80s.
For more information on where and when you can catch Paul Reuben's retooled version of The Pee-Wee Herman Show, you can go here. Tickets went on sale August 11th, so don't wait too long to snag a couple if you're interested!
And if you want to be reminded of what the adult-oriented Pee-Wee was all about, check out these clips.