The Pee-wee Herman Show is a stage show developed by Paul Reubens in 1980. It marks the first significant appearance of his comedic fictional character, Pee-wee Herman, five years before Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and six years before Pee-wee's Playhouse. The show initially debuted as a midnight show February 1981 at the Groundlings theater, and was later moved to Los Angeles' The Roxy Theatre, where the HBO cable network taped one of the shows and aired it as a special that year. This TV special was released on DVD by Image Entertainment July 18, 2006. This nightclub show had more adult humor than the later children's TV series.
The roots of that stage show were in 1980 when Reubens was one of 22 finalists to be chosen as a regular on Saturday Night Live (the infamous first season of an all-new cast, and one of five seasons without Lorne Michaels as a producer). Reubens lost to actor Gilbert Gottfried and thought his career was over. According to Reubens, he was about to return home when he came up with the idea of a stage show featuring the character he premiered back in 1977, Pee-wee Herman. That year, the character had made his first appearance to a national (but mostly adult) audience when he made a cameo in Cheech & Chong's Next Movie. With $3,000 (mostly money wired from his parents), and help from 60 people working for him (including his fellow Groundling Phil Hartman), Reubens created the show.
At home in his Puppetland playhouse, Pee-wee entertains his audience of "boys & girls" in an homage to low budget 1950s TV kiddie-shows such as Howdy Doody and Pinky Lee.
Pee-wee spends the day with his friends and fellow citizens of Puppetland (including Pterri the pterodactyl, Mr. Knucklehead, Captain Carl, Miss Yvonne, Jambi the genie in a box, Clockey the USA wall-map/clock, Randy the Rascal, Mailman Mike, Hammy and his sister Susan, Hermit Hattie, and the singing next door neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Jelly Do-nut).
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Official Site: Paul Reubens
Links: Wikipedia IMDB: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure Pee Wee's Playhouse