All posts tagged: Pee-Wee Herman

I Know You Are But What Am I? Pee-Wee and Me

(Collage: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) When I was five, I accidentally watched every terrifying, adult, weird moment of The Pee-wee Herman Show. PHS was a 1980 nightclub show — captured on HBO — that predated Pee-Wee’s Playhouse by five years. As my parents were busy hosting a party, no one noticed that I was absorbing some of the more adult themes. After witnessing the scene with a hypnotized woman who shed her clothes under Pee-Wee’s command, I was terrified for years that I could be hypnotized into public nudity. From the opening song to the final cut of Pee-Wee magically flying over the stage, scenes from the show have been in my subconscious ever since. There was the hypnotized lady, for sure, but also the evocative set design and costumes. The characters were slightly scary as well. Phil Hartman as a gruff Captain Carl was on the menacing side of surly, Miss Yvonne’s outfits and hair were so over the top it became near spectacle. Pee-Wee showed me an exciting, creative world I hadn’t even imagined …