Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

Paul Reubens’ Pee-wee’s Playhouse Blu-Ray Release in October

If you never had the opportunity to enjoy one of the greatest novelty television shows in history, now’s your chance.

Paul Reubens

Fans of the classic 1980s comedy series Paul Reubens’ Pee-wee’s Playhouse will love the 45 episodes of the show in a new, eight-disc Blu-Ray box set, including special features, coming out October 21.

The release comes a year after Reubens gave the rights for the show to Shout! Factory. The company has spent the last year digitally re-mastering the show, to ensure that its iconic, bright colors and visual effects can be experienced as they were intended.

Pee-wee’s Playhouse ran for four years, from 1986 to 1990, on Saturday mornings on the CBS television network. It was a children’s show, but like the Muppets had an appeal to adults as well.

The program was a spoof of 1950s children’s shows like Howdy Doody, and took place in Pee-wee’s home, Puppetland playhouse, in front of an audience of boys and girls. Pee-wee’s home was filled with toys, gadgets, and talking furniture. There was also Jambi the Genie, a genie’s head which lived in a jeweled box.

Anything could happen there. Pee-wee had a secret word, entertained friends like Cowboy Curtis and Ms. Yvonne, and showed animated films presented by the King of Cartoons and the stories of the claymation girl, Penny.

There were also lots of puppets.

Natasha Lyonne, Laurence Fishburne and S. Epatha Merkerson all appeared on numerous episodes.

The show was first produced in a small converted loft on Broadway in Manhattan. In its second year, the production moved to real studios in Los Angeles.

The program evolved out of a stage show that Reubens developed and produced in 1980 in Los Angeles, for The Groundlings comedy troupe. Reubens developed the character, who was originally supposed to be an insecure and inept standup comic, with fellow Groundling Phil Hartman.

That show was made into an HBO special in 1981, called The Pee-wee Herman Show. The special also marked Reubens’ breakout as a celebrity.

Then came the 1985 motion picture, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, directed by Tim Burton. it was followed by a sequel, Big Top Pee-wee, in 1988.

Born Paul Rubenfeld, in Peekskill New York in 1952, Paul Reubens grew up in Florida. His father, Milton Rubenfeld, was a World War II veteran who flew for both the British and American air forces. After the war he went to Israel, where he became one of the founding pilots of the Israeli air force.


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