I never watched Pee-wee’s Playhouse, but I couldn’t help knowing about it, because when I was in grad school studying popular culture, everyone wanted to write about it. It seemed rich in meta-text and symbolism, much like today’s Adventure Time.
Now Shout! Factory, home of great cult favorites, has announced that they will be releasing all 45 episodes, remastered, plus Pee-wee’s Christmas Special, “to the home entertainment marketplace and a variety of digital entertainment platforms”, including a Complete Series Blu-ray set in 2014.
Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer, and Garson Foos were quoted, “We could not be more excited to collaborate with Paul Reubens on this fantastic venture. Pee-wee’s Playhouse is a cultural touchstone for a generation, and its visually dynamic design and offbeat sense of humor were a genuine phenomenon.” Typical of Shout!, they’re also planning yet-unspecified behind-the-scenes bonus material.
The show ran for five years, beginning in 1986 and featured “beloved regulars Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne), Reba the Mail Lady (S. Epatha Merkerson), Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart), Captain Carl (Phil Hartman), The King of Cartoons (William Marshall), Jambi the Genie (John Paragon), Ricardo (Vic Trevino), and Mrs. Rene (Suzanne Kent).” It won 15 daytime Emmys in such categories as art design, makeup, hairstyling, editing, and graphics.