There are a handful of TV shows in pop culture that arguably define each decade. All in the Family for the 1970’s. The Cosby Show for the 1980’s. Seinfeld for the 1990’s. One of the other shows that really defined the 1980s for many people was a television show that spawned a cult following and made a pop culture icon out of one comedian. The show was Pee Wee’s Playhouse and it is now available in its entirety from Shout Factory.
Comedian Paul Reubens first created the character of Pee Wee for a stage show, which led to a feature film directed by Tim Burton called Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985. The movie became a surprise hit and CBS greenlit a Saturday morning kids show called Pee Wee’s Playhouse based on Rueben’s stage show. Along with fellow cast members including Phil Hartman, John Paragon, Lynne Marie Stewart, Laurence Fishburne and S. Epatha Merkerson, the show was an instant hit and was not only popular with kids but with adults who loved the quirky and offbeat style of Reubens humor and its constant references to children’s shows of the past like The Mickey Mouse Club and Howdy Doody. Pee Wee quickly became a cultural icon with his image everywhere in merchandising and appearances and was praised for its embracing of the themes of acceptance and individuality. The show ended up running five seasons and garnering 15 Emmy awards.
This week sees the release of the entire series on Blu-ray for the very first time. Included with the entire run of episodes are tons of special features to keep fans happy for a very long time. Among the special features are an hour long doc on the genesis of the show and its unique production design, a doc on the writing, and a great look at the different people who have been on the show including a touching tribute to Phil Hartman. The transfer onto Blu-ray is beautiful; the show looks like it was made yesterday. Shout Factory has done an outstanding job bringing Pee Wee’s Playhouse to Blu-ray to preserve it for generations of kids and adults to enjoy.
Available now on Blu-ray.