Tag Archives: Pee Wee Herman

From the Archives: The Pee-wee Herman Muppet Magazine edition…

It’s been awhile since I’ve waded into my personal archive of old magazine back issues and yesterday while moving something in the closet I saw a stack of them piled high and decided to scan through a few.  Next thing I knew I was organizing a hundred misc issues in stacks all around the office, flipping through every other one looking for fun stuff that I hadn’t seen in years.  I knew that if I completely gave into the urge I’d be sitting amongst them all night, so I decided to pick a stack and find something to write about.  At least then I’d feel like I did something productive with the time.  The stack I ended up choosing contained my entire collection of old Muppet Magazine issues, a publication that I’ve written about in the past (when they covered Weird Al, breakdancing, and Mr. T)  and one that I love dearly.

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While looking through the various issues, the one that kept going back to was the Winter 1987 issue that featured Pee-wee Herman.  Pee-wee’s been on my brain lately since he’s been filming his new Netflix film and I’ve been dying to see some footage cut together from it.  I’m really curious to see if he and the crew can recapture the magic of his 80s and 90s era flick.  I’ll probably love it regardless, I mean hell, I’m one of those fans that unironically loves Big Top Pee-wee, but it’s so rare for studios and performers to rekindle that magic when there are so many years between projects (for me Tron: Legacy and Mad Max Fury Road were some of the only ones that managed to do it successfully.)  I know that Rebuens has had a really great run with his Broadway revival of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, but I’ve yet to see it.

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Anyway, though I’m gonna take a deeper look at the Pee-wee interview in the Winter 1987 issue, it wasn’t the first time the magazine featured him, well kind of.  The previous Fall ’87issue had a pin-up of Kermit…er….Ker-mee Herman…

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I love that they did these parody poster pin-ups in the latter issues of the publication (I have a Kermit as He-Man, with full mullet, that I adore.)  Is it weird that I can totally hear Kermit doing a Pee-wee impression while singing Tequila and laughing in my head?  Also, seconds before this Miss Piggy stepped up to him in biker leathers and said: “I say you give him to me first!”  Anyway, back to the issue at hand…

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Though I want to concentrate on the Pee-wee interview, there’s a lot of fun stuff in this issue (I mean holy heck, there’s a Johnathan “Weekend At Bernie’s” Silverman interview for crying out loud.)  Here’s a couple of ads that stood out for me….

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Before he won out hearts as the cocksure Buck in The Great Outdoors, Chris Young was a pitchman for Kool-Aid Koolers.  So it wasn’t just the Jett’s pimping the Kool-Aid branded juice boxes back in the day.  Someone should have told him that only Cosby can pull off sweaters like that, and NO ONE can pull off Kool-Aid colored pants.  No one.  The other ad I wanted to highlight is awesome because of the great action-packed painted artwork for one of my favorite cartoons from the 80s, the Silverhawks…

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There were actually two variations of the same ad in the magazine, this one announcing the show coming to TV and another with the same art announcing the release of the first arc of episodes on VHS.  Guess this was one of those series that they had a marketing blitz ready to go!

Anyway, getting back to Pee-wee, the main feature in this issue is a 1987 interview by Kermit the Frog (or, um, Fred Newman)…

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I love that they chose to frame this article in a way where Pee-wee is living in the playhouse even when not filming, and very much in the spirit of the Muppets, the puppet characters from the show are all included in the interview.  I’m sure this can be cynically viewed as pandering to kids, but I see it as preserving the magic of the world these shows exist in.  Much in the same way that I don’t care for the hipster jokes about Muppets breaking the 4th wall to realize that they’re puppets (imagine the plethora of “art” pieces featuring x-ray images of Kermit with a human arm bone inside of him), I think there’s something to be respected about keeping the magic of a show like Pee-wee’s playhouse alive.

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Even though there’s nothing Earth-shattering in this interview, I love the thought of Kermit hanging out in the playhouse and talking about Christmas parties with Pee-wee.  Also, I imagine that the secret word of the day on Kermit’s visit was: “Yaaaayyyyyyy”.  So every time something said “Yaaaayyyyyy” everyone else would have to yell “Yaaaayyyyyy”.  It would be insane….

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Awesome 80s Bedrooms: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure Edition

In my quest to search through and document all the fun junk in 80s era pop culture bedrooms there are a few films that I thought I was going to have to skip over because I figured there wouldn’t be much fun 80s stuff.  Like say, Stand By Me, which features a scene in Gordie’s room, but being set in 1959 it kind of rules itself out in terms of rad 80s stuff.  Similarly I knew that there was a super cool room in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure but honestly I didn’t remember much in the way of stuff that would make much sense to talk about here.  I mean Pee-wee, and most likely Tim Burton, is really deep into the whole kitsch movement of collecting and decorating (he was close friends with Allee Willis, the Queen of Kitsch), and a lot of that stuff hails from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  Sure, there are definitely things in the 80s that would eventually become kitsch, but I figured they’d be largely absent from his room.  Well, I stuck the film in the other night just to scope out his room anyway, and I was surprised by a handful of the items I saw laying around and figured, what the heck, lets dissect Pee-wee’s bedroom…

Pee Wees Big Adventure

Before I get into, I just want to say that I’m not documenting every single thing in the room (or house as lets be realistic here, that whole place is worthy of dissection.)  For one, there’s just too much stuff, and for another, a lot of it is pretty much beyond the scope of this site and my pop culture knowledge.  I will try and point out a couple things from the 50s and 60s I recognize, but I’m not gonna beat myself up over missing stuff…

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1). Ultraman, Godzilla and some T-Rex plastic dinosaurs…

2). Zoids Gojulas (for Godzilla-esque Zoid)

zoids gojulas

3). Howdy Doody puppet

4). Giant Stripe from LJN’s Gremlins line


So, if I’m learning anything from some of the recent rooms I’ve been studying, it’s that the Gremlins was way more popular that I remembered.  I mean stuff shows up in The Explorers (granted, directed by Joe Dante), Goonies, and now Pee-wee’s Big Adventure!  As for the rest of the stuff in this screen shot, there’s some sort of Disney Pluto statue or toy (not sure), a giant coloring book I can’t make out, some toys in boxes on the floor and a bunch of dolls hanging from the ceiling and beams around the Howdy Doody puppet.

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5). Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished portrait of George Washington


6). Giant Gumby Toy

7). Mr. Potato Head

8). Late 60′s Red Tin Batmobile

late 60s era Japanese tin Batmobile

9). Saturn Robot

Saturn Toy Robot

10). Huckleberry Hound Marionette

11). Disney Drum Set from the 70s

Disney 70s era drum set

Again, there’s a lot to process in this shot, from the evil-eyed ostrich with the African pigmy warrior on its back to the giant wooden Jack-o-lantern man sitting on the windowsill.  Looks like there’s a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica there, a weird UFO diorama, there’s a toy train around the fireman’s pole, multiple fire truck toys, and a little wooden alligator pull toy.  Again, lots to take in…

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12). Bambi rug

I’ll be honest, I never noticed what was on this rug because I was always transfixed by the utter cuteness of Pee-wee putting on the bunny slippers and having them go after that weird anthropomorphic carrot!  So, that’s the bulk of the stuff in his room, but I’m going to go ahead and look at a few more rooms just because there is so much fun stuff…

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13). Mister Action Scuba Diver (though it might be a MA Scuba outfit on another doll, not sure if these came in all sorts of varieties, with/without beard, etc.)

Mister Action Scuba Diver

14). Bugs Bunny Electric Toothbrush Set

Bugs Bunny elestric toothbrush set

Is, uh, Bugs giving me the finger?  I think he’s giving me the finger.  “Eh, brush up, Doc!” indeed…

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15). Planters Cheez Curls can

Planters Cheese Curls

16). E.T. metal lunchbox

ET Lunchbox

So, I wanted to point out the can of Planters Cheez Curls because, one, I miss the ever living crap out of them and used to eat them all the time, and also because I still think it’s weird to see non-nut products from Planters.  Seriously though, I prefer the Planters Cheez Curls and Balls over Cheetos any day.

So last, but certainly not least, I felt it was only appropriate to point to the super fun sprinkler system outside…

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17). Whammo Willy Water Bug

Whamo Willy Water Bug

So, anything I missed, or anything from a an earlier decade that you feel deserves a mention?  Oh, and I’m well aware that I left out the Mr. T cereal ’cause that one’s pretty obvious…

Other Awesome Bedrooms I’ve covered…

Sara’s Room from Adventures in Babysitting

Eugene’s Room from The Monster Squad

Mikey’s room from the Goonies

David’s room from Flight of the Navigator

Robbie’s room from Poltergeist

Ben’s room from The Explorers

Elliot’s room from E.T.

Fred Savage’s room from The Princess Bride

Josh’s room from Big