I’m being very inspired these past few days by Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
For those of us who were kids in the late ’80s, this was the highlight of Saturday mornings – it wasn’t until I saw that slowly-building claymation intro that I knew the weekend had begun. Once the show was pulled from the air in 1991, weekends ceased to begin anymore and it was time to grow up.
Watching the show again on DVD, over ten years after I’d last seen it, was a little scary (what if it just kind of sucks in 2007?), but there was no need to worry. Pee-Wee is even more brilliant seen through grown-up eyes. The show won heaps of Emmys, after all, and had an amazing cast and crew.
There is so much to be said about the show, but let’s stick to the set. The set of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse is truly a study in anthropomorphic genius. Pretty much every inanimate object was made animate, including the floor, which is something I’ve never seen since. I’m having a difficult time trying to find a good photo of the set, but here is a miniature version that was apparently sold back in the Pee-Wee heyday (pretty cool in itself):
I remember that as a kid, my favorite part of the playhouse was the refrigerator. Whenever anyone opened it, we caught a glimpse of all kinds of mischievous ingredients dancing, singing, or getting married.
There’s something about claymation that is so much more enchanting than plain animation or computer-made stuff, and it’s even cooler now that it’s rarer. Also claymated in the playhouse were a family of dinosaurs and the Penny cartoons.
Also, seeing Pee-Wee’s animated ants again has inspired me to make a knitted ant farm. I can’t wait to make it.
I could go on and on, and I haven’t even gotten around to any of the main characters.
Anyway, about a year ago, Paul Rubens was saying that he had plans to make two more Pee-Wee movies, one of which was to begin production early this year. I so hope this will happen. We miss you, Pee-Wee!