Pee-Wee's Playhouse

Here's to one of the greatest kids shows.
September 28, 2009
Here is to a legend of Saturday morning....

Saturday morning was always the high point of my week, as I'm sure it was for any kid. My parents went grocery shopping Friday nights generally, leaving me with knowing I was going to get to enjoy some overly sugared cereal the following morning (Cookie Crisp anyone?). Not only did I have empty calories and some riboflavin to look forward to, there was SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS!

Granted, the late 80s and early 90s had some great entertainment Saturday morning, but I looked forward to Pee Wee's Playhouse each and every week.

Pee-Wee Herman, originally a character Paul Ruebens had created for an adult oriented HBO special, proved so successful with his runaway hit "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" that CBS decided to let Pee Wee into their Saturday lineup.

Pee Wee was a man-child that wore a grey suit, a red bowtie, and white platform shoes. He would visit his playhouse, complete with a talking chair, puppets, a talking cow, etc. In retrospect, I'm sure acid was involved, but as a kid it was great.

Above: "The colors, maaannn....the colors..."

After being treated to an opening number courtesy of Ms. Cyndi Lauper, Pee Wee generally started the day by booting up the Conky 2000 and finding out today's secret word.

Was this the first iteration of Skynet? Possibly.

The secret word was great because everytime somebody said it, people had to scream really loud. It was a great way to annoy your parents for the rest of the day.

After getting the secret word, Pee Wee basically hung out, and had crazy visitors drop by. There was a talking cow, a bully puppet, the magic screen, and of course the King of Cartoons.

"Ladies and gentelmen, bow to His Highness of public domain cartoons leftover from the Great Depression!"

We'd get to view a Penny Cartoon whilePee Wee would usually do something simple, like make a sandwich, or consult the magnificent Jambi.


Each show would end by Pee Wee taking off in his rocket scooter until next week.

CHARACTERS: This show was rich in characters, some of whom went on to become pretty famous. For example, there was Cowboy Curtis.

That's right! Laurence Fishburne, before gouging his eyes out in Event Horizon, or telling Neo which pill to swallow, was a jerry-curled cowboy who hung out in Pee Wee's Playhouse.

Another face you may recognize is Captain Carl, may he rest in peace.

Yup! Phil Hartman was there as well.

Miss Yvonne stopped by a lot. She bugged me with her big hair, but she was an integral part of the show. There was one great instance where she came by because she was having problems with her pipes. Cowboy Curtis claimed he had the tool to fix Miss Yvonne's pipes and winked at the camera as he said it. Over my head as a kid, but something I very much wish I could find on YouTube nowadays.

I wonder if Curtis ever fixed her pipes?

We also had the aforementioned King of Cartoons, Randy the Bully, the Cowntess, and many others.

WHAT KILLED THIS SHOW: I really thought Pee Wee's Playhouse could've outrun the Simpsons longevity, but alas, I was wrong, for in 1991, Paul Ruebens was caught in an adult theater having a playhosue in his pants. CBS soon after yanked, no pun intended, the series.

How could Pee Wee be a bad guy? As a kid, I thought he was awesome. My faith in humanity shaken, I fell out of watching Saturday morning cartoons until Super Mario Bros 3 debuted. But now I look back at what was a great Saturday morning staple, and a great compliment to my Coooookieee Crisp.

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