After a very successful test subjection of my children of HBO’s 2011 “Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway”, I realized that I had a house full of future Paul Reubens fans on my hands. Now, the entire house is enthusiastic about the recent arrival of the “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” on home-video and in HD.
Passionately re-mastered, the Blu-ray by Shout! Factory contains all 45 original episodes from the original 1986-1991 run on CBS as well as a ton of behind the scenes/making of special features and the infamous Christmas special. Have I mentioned yet that they are now in HIGH-DEFINITION!?!?!
Pee-wee’s Playhouse wasn’t just a playground that sparked creativity and imagination in the hearts of millions of viewers, young and old, it was an educational, artistic and entertaining show that taught kids strong ‘life lessons’. It was a series that was ahead of its time with the vision and the creative freedom to experiment with new styles and techniques: combining live-action, puppetry, stop-motion and clay animation. The series was brimming with rich original characters, humor, innovative visual effects and production designs. Pee-wee Herman and Pee-wee’s Playhouse have been a staple in the pop culture zeitgeist ever since.
Click ahead for our review of this Saturday Morning hit-tv series!
When I heard that Paul Reubens (Pee-wee) had actually been on hand to supervise the restoration process of the original film, elements and other materials for this re-release, I was sold. You always knew that he genuinely loved the show he made, but to know he was instrumental in making sure the fans weren’t let down for the Blu-ray release is truly impressive.
Over the years I’ve slowly been introducing my kids to the secret-pleasures of the childhood TV shows I grew up on and have been collecting on DVD (and now Blu-ray). From A.L.F., Small Wonder, Punky Bewster, Voyagers!, Doctor Who, ‘Benji, Zax & the Alien Prince’ and in the past fews years, Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
Having kids 6 and under, the silliness at the Playhouse with all of it’s zany characters running around, shouting, laughing and imagining together, well, it’s real eye-candy! It’s amusing to take a step out of being a fan and watch as this show continually holds their attention as they probably try and deduct, who is this crazy gray-suited guy with his amazing funhouse of friends?
I think I get the greatest joy is in the fact that my kids have fallen in love with the clay-mation portions of the show. From the stop-motion fridge fruit, the dinosaur family living in the wall and their hands-down ultimate favorite; Penny! Another fun feature of that show they enjoy are the old-school black and white vintage cartoons which capture their attention as much as show’s they favor on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and The HUB.
Though I couldn’t’ get the kids to sit thru all the Special Features that delve into the Building, Opening, Writing, Cast, Puppets, Animation, Look and Music of the Playhouse, I’m sure in years to come they will. For now, over the next couple weeks, those bonus elements will certainly get my full viewing attention after the wife and kids go to bed. I’m also excited about hearing the stories from behind the scenes of making the series from the former cast-members. The Very Merry Christmas special is also included and thats been a staple of holiday viewing for the past few years right up there with Home Alone, The Grinch that Stole Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story.
VIDEO: If you thought Pee-wee’s Playhouse wasn’t colorful and vibrant enough before, just wait until now. Everything pops out of the screen with bright and vivid color palettes, and incredible detail that allow you to freeze and really see the fun little knick-nacks and set decor that for decades went hidden or surpassed with the lower resolution VHS and DVD transfers. A tip of the hat in appreciation to the set designers who to this day, created one of the most diverse, fun and interactive sets to date!
AUDIO: From Pee-wee’s laugh, to the explosion of clanging and cheers for the Secret Word, the underling score, sound effects and dialogue are all crisp and clear and just pitch perfect.
In closing, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” on Blu-ray looks better than ever for a brand new generation who now with the announcement of a new Pee-wee movie, will have the chance to get to know Pee-wee and the Playhouse friends for the first time.
For all others who, like me, screamed along to the SECRET WORD with Pee-wee Herman and found a connection with Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the mail lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and many more, then Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series is a MUST HAVE for your home-video collection!