I was surprised and impressed by the outpouring of grief on the loss of Paul Reubens, the creator and performer of the beloved Pee-wee Herman.
I really shouldn’t be, though: we absolutely loved that character, his silliness and wit and devotion to keeping us amused and in touch with our childlike selves.
And as we got to know him in recent years—as he did more press as himself—we loved Reubens too.
So predictably the YouTube algorithm started throwing up more Pee-Wee/Paul videos for me...and I got the sense I’ve barely scratched the surface in the amount of footage there is of Pee-wee over the years. (I mainly knew him from his two 1980s movies.)
Here’s a video on the evolution of the character. I didn’t realize he was originally more shy and hesitant, like a nervous kid on stage, not the force of nature he soon became:
Here is a massive collection of all his appearances on Letterman, the original era show:
A video of Reubens in 2019 telling the story of how he found Tim Burton to direct Pee-wee’s Big Adventure:
And here’s a treat: a 1985 press interview, as Pee-wee, before the aforementioned film is released.
There’s tons more online.
Bless you, Pee-wee!
Oh, and here’s a new article about the real-life house from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure that is not too far away from us here in the greater Los Angeles area.