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.