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Paul Reuben’s ‘Big Adventure’ To Resurrect Pee-wee Herman


Throughout his roller coaster of a career, Paul Reubens has remained doing what he loves. That is to say, acting. He’s made something of a second career as a character actor appearing in movies like Blow and on TV in shows like 30 Rock. In the last few years, he’s been trying to resurrect his original claim to fame, Pee-wee Herman. He appeared as the character at Spike TV’s “Guy’s Choice Awards” in 2007 (pictured above), and mentioned in interviews at that time that he was ready to go with two different Pee-wee scripts.

Reubens described one of the ideas to MTV News:

It’s basically the story of Pee-wee Herman becoming famous as a singer. He has a hit single and gets brought out to Hollywood to make musical movies, kind of like they did with Elvis. It all kind of goes downhill from there for Pee-wee. He turns into a monster. He does everything wrong and becomes a big jerk.

While the movie deals may not have panned out (although Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Movie is curiously listed as being “in production” on IMDb), Reubens has not given up on his alter-ego just yet. He recently announced that he will finally be resurrecting Pee-wee for a series of shows in LA this November. According to the LA Times, Reubens said,

I’ve put part of him away for a long time, but part of him has always been here with me. I think it will be like riding a bike, which is not a bad analogy for Pee-wee, by the way.

The producer’s of the show, Jared Gellar and David Foster, said that they approached Reubens about the show because of the lasting cult appeal that the character has. Gellar is quoted in same article as saying,

Pee-wee appeals to such a great cross-section of ages. The character is so honest and surreal. It’s one of those things that speaks to individuals who feel they may be different from everyone else.

The show is scheduled to run at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood from November 19-29, and will be a re-imagining of the original show that he performed with The Groundlings sketch comedy troupe in 1981. The Pee Wee Herman show became an HBO special and led to the hugely successful movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, the first feature directed by Tim Burton, in 1985.

When asked if his notorious 1991 arrest for indecency at a porn theater or his 2002 legal skirmish for possessing child pornography will be addressed in the new show, Reubens answered,

I don’t think those events have an appropriate place in discussion of the new show. I’m sure people will be discussing it, but I won’t.”

He says what he’s most worried about is looking too old for the character. Referring to his age, he said,

I’m glad people will be 20 to 30 feet away from me on stage. I’m trying to work out a system where people with bad vision sit in front. I think it will work.

Posted below is a clip from the 1984 HBO special.

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