Pee-Wee Wannabe, New Orleans, LA, 1957
A man posing between a beautiful bongo drum and colorful display of plastic wrapped jazz albums predicts the Pee-Wee Herman look. Strike a pose there is nothing to it! That gray glen plaid suit over a white shirt finished with a red bow tie is in no uncertain terms an AMERICANA classic of the highest order. And so is Pee-Wee.
Speaking of…I went to see his new live “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” show here in LA the other night. When the curtain opened and I saw the Playhouse set it didn’t take me long to figure out that this had to be the most incredible set I’ve ever seen on a stage. Whatta thrill it was to see Pee-Wee walk out on that stage. The audience went wild. He looks great! It was quite the flashback-to-the-80s thrill to spend an hour and half in the Playhouse with him and the whole gang. The “secret word” was ‘FUN’ and it was! My imagination was inspired and spirit soared!
Actually I never did see the beloved Pee-Wee’s Playhouse show when it originally aired on CBS Saturday mornings for five seasons beginning in 1986. Which reminds me of the time I was with Paul- Pee-Wee-Herman-Rueben’s several years ago on a trip to the Adirondacks in beautiful upstate NY. We were both guests, along with several others, at a mutual friends’ family camp on a beautiful lake. One morning while everyone was deciding what to do that day I said, “does anyone want to go with me to Enchanted Forrest, the all original, 1956 children’s fairy tale theme park?” It was just up the road and I really wanted to see it. Everyone said, “no thanks,” but Paul.
The next thing I knew I was the passenger in the front seat of his big Buick rent-a-car and we were speeding thru the woods on our way. We got there and the place was even better than I had hoped. He had no shortage of fans gawking even with his baseball-cap-and-sunglasses disguise. The whole time I’m saying to myself, I just can’t believe I’m at the Enchanted Garden with Pee-Wee Herman! The most memorable moment of our excursion came on the ride back to camp when I told him that I had never seen even one episode of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Immediately he pulled over the car to the side of the road and said “Get out of the car!” I still laugh about that.
Here’s to Pee-Wee, his playhouse, big adventure, the wannabe and YOU!
Los Angeles, CA
February 3, 2010