Monday, September 04, 2006

Mekka-lekka-hi, mekka hiney ho

Pee Wee's Playhouse inspired me from the moment I laid eyes on it. I loved it, and not just for its wacky what are they on? schtick, but for the how did they get this on? chutzpah and ever more simply, for the zany love of it all. What a total kid's pleasuredome, it truly made me feel like a goofy child, in a good way. A few years later, when I co-owned this store called Wonderama in downtown San Diego (before gentrification set in) we made purty pennies selling Pee Wee toys. Seriously, they were our most popular items (the Archie McPhee boxing nuns were oddly a close second.) A few years after that, I actually got face to face meetings with MTV and Nickelodeon and pitched a Playhouse meets "2 Hip 4 TV" (remember that?!) type TV show. They were right not to give it to me. (Not that I would have starred, jeez, I freeze up when anyone looks at me twice. ) Still, it was a fabulous idea, but I don't know that I had the real guts to pull it off. But I think of that period of my life as Pee Wee time. (Either that or Ahmet time.) Now they're out on DVD and re-running on Cartoon Network and I'm still wondering, how the hell did they get this on the air?

EW ran a 20th anniversary article and I love how show writer John Paragon who was Jambi the Genie thinks he got his catch phrase from listening to so much Zappa. And besides, as he says, "heiney is just a funny word."

The theme song was Mark Mothersbaugh-penned with Cyndi Lauper singing.

Cyndi Lauper, "Pee Wee's Playhouse Theme"
Pee Wee Herman,
"Surfin' Bird"

Back to this now. Does anyone remember 2 Hip 4 TV? Seriously. Red Hot Chili Peppers played in a bowling alley. El Vez. The Del Rubio Triplets. A pre-teen Ahmet Zappa? Pre-Remote Control Colin Quinn. Saturday morning variety show aimed at teens (although what teens were listening to the Del Rubio Triplets?) Like 1988, I believe. Freaking genius show. I can find pretty much next to nothing on this show. I can find no one who has actually seen it. I still dream of it... if it weren't for a brief Wikipedia entry, I'd think I did dream it.


heather said...

My hubby's favorite movie is STILL Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. It makes me laugh, the sheer joy he derives from watching it and the lines he can quote. Buying him that on DVD was probably the best gift I ever got him in his eyes.

deb in sf said...

Max's school shows them Pee Wee's Playhouse on rainy day's when they can't have outdoor recess. I was so psyched when I heard this! Public school rocks. I don't know how the heck we got a school that's not scared out of it's wits to show the kids PeeWee. Gotta LOVE San Francisco, man/woman/transgender.

chris said...

PWPlayhouse was (and still is) my favorite television show of all times. I was overjoyed when it started running on Comedy Central this summer. 20 years after it began airing, and it is still better than any other show out there. I TiVo it and my 3 year old daughter and I watch it a couple of times a week. Nothing makes me prouder than to say that it is also HER favorite show too!