‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ comes to Blu-Ray; Paul Reubens speaks


Today, Shout Factory releases the Blu-Ray set “Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series,” an astonishingly beautiful work of television art -- I am not kidding -- that has rebuilt the show, originally edited and assembled on videotape, from its original film elements. Available also in part on high-definition DVD (“Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons One and Two”), it is the series literally as you’ve never seen it.

I’ll have a feature on the set in Sunday’s Calendar, including an interview with “Playhouse” creator and star Paul Reubens, but as a teaser, and to celebrate the day, here’s an excerpt from our talk. I asked Reubens if he’d ever had occasion to meet any of the hosts of the children’s shows upon which “Playhouse” was modeled, like Bob Keeshan’s Captain Kangaroo.

Paul Reubens: Very few. I met Pinky Lee when I was doing “The Pee-wee Herman Show” [the stage precursor to “Pee-wee’s Playhouse”] at the Roxy, and I don’t really remember much about it because I really wasn’t very aware of Pinky Lee. I was more “Howdy-Doody,” “Mickey Mouse,” those shows. I never met Captain Kangaroo; I probably would have completely freaked out if I met Captain Kangaroo. In fact, when I meet people who are just beside themselves to meet me, I always think they’re reacting like I would react if I met Captain Kangaroo, I was so crazy about that television show as a child. Or like when I met Ron Howard, I could not stop from telling him a couple of stories. That’s what happens to me; people sit me down and tell me a story like, “I wasn’t close to my dad but he loved your show and I remember the times we watched it together.” I occupy this unique place in some people’s childhood where there was a point in time where I influenced them in some way. I don’t want to get corny on you, but I am kind of corny, and that’s one of the greatest things about my career, I get this incredible feedback from people all the time. When I go out now, someone will come up to me and say, “I’m an artist because of you.” I didn’t really set out to do that, but it’s enormously satisfying.


Check back Sunday for more.

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