Dad of Divas' Reviews: DVD Review - Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series

Monday, October 13, 2014

DVD Review - Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series

Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Complete Series

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About the Show
Experience Pee-wee’s Playhouse like never before! All 45 wacky episodes, plus the Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, have been meticulously remastered from the original film elements — and now you can see this ground-breaking series for the first time in beautiful high-definition!

Scream along to the secret word with Pee-wee Herman and his pals: Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the mail lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and all the rest. Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series Blu-ray box set, with special bonus content, debuts on home entertainment shelves October 21, 2014 from Shout! Factory. Also available to own on the same day is Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons One and Two in a high-definition 4-DVD set. Mecka-lecka hi, Mecka-hiney ho!

Winner of an amazing 22 Emmy® Awards, 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. Whether reliving childhood memories or introducing this beloved series to a new generation, the newly re-mastered Pee-wee’s Playhouse will take you back to being a kid. This is an essential Blu-ray collection for loyal fans and collectors.

TV Guide named Pee-wee’s Playhouse #10 on their list of THE TOP 25 CULT TELEVISION SHOWS EVER! For over 25 years, the enormously popular Pee-wee Herman and innovative television series Pee-wee’s Playhouse, created by, and starring Paul Reubens, has captured a special place in the hearts of millions of viewers, young and old. Since its initial premiere on CBS in 1986, this highly acclaimed children’s program became Saturday morning appointment viewing for kids in the ‘80s and ‘90s and has been a staple in the pop culture zeitgeist ever since.

Pee-wee’s Playhouse is an educational, artistic and entertaining show that teaches kids strong ‘life lessons.’ With its innovative production design and Reubens’ rich original characters and humor, Pee-wee’s Playhouse is a magical place that sparks creativity and imagination—and brings joy to children and adults alike. Parents and grown-ups have always enjoyed the show’s many double entendres. The series features 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). And of course, Chairry, Pterri, Conky, Magic Screen, Clocky, Cool Cat, Dirty Dog, Chicky Baby, Penny, the Dinosaur family, and the rest of the gang!

Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series Blu-ray box set contains OVER 4 HOURS of brand-new interviews with the cast and crew, plus never-seen, behind-the-scenes footage—all part of TEN FEATURETTES, including:
  • Building the Playhouse
  • Opening the Playhouse
  • Writing for the Playhouse
  • The Look of the Playhouse 
  • Music of the Playhouse
  • The Cast of the Playhouse
  • Puppets of the Playhouse
  • Animating the Playhouse
  • A Very Merry Christmas Special
  • Fans and Memorabilia of the Playhouse
These featurettes include interviews with actors Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis), S. Epatha Merkerson (Reba the mail lady), Lynne Marie Stewart (Miss Yvonne) and John Paragon (Jambi the genie). Mark Mothersbaugh and Danny Elfman explain the music of the show and the Emmy® award-winning production design team of Gary Panter, Wayne White and Ric Heitzman explain how the sets and puppets were imagined and produced. Animation Supervisor of all 5 seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Prudence Fenton (Liquid Television) talks about all the types of animation used in the program and animators Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Gromit) discuss their contributions. Ve Neill, the multi-Oscar® winning make-up artist talks about designing the make-up ‘looks’. Two of the shows writers talk about how the scripts were created. Other cast and crew explain, in fascinating detail, stories from the production ofPee-wee’s Playhouse. If that weren’t enough, many of the shows puppeteers and voice artists are interviewed about how the puppet characters were brought to life.

My Take on the DVD
I grew up knowing this series with all it quirks and eccentricities. While this series was definitely cutting edge and something that always brought a smile on my face, my kids had never heard of this series at all. With that in mind we sat down to watch this and at first I think my girls did not know what to think of Pee Wee, but as the show continued they were laughing continuously. There is something unique about what Paul Reubens did with this character and this is why he became such a favorite of so many. In watching this again the one thing that I was struck by were the number of people that got their start on this show as I just did not remember this from before. SOme of the people that I saw included people like: S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurence Fishburne, Natasha Lyonne, the late Phil Hartman, Jimmy Smits, Sandra Bernhard, Dweezil Zappa (wrote the music for one of the episodes), John Singleton (PA), Rob Zombie (PA) and it had musicians like: Mark Mothersbaugh, Todd Rundgren, Herbie Hancock, Danny Elfman, George Clinton and more.

The show was also forward thinking and had a number of technological marvels of the day that were not even thought of back then. Things like the Magic Screen which is equivalent of a giant tablet or today’s smart TV; Picturephone which is equivalent to video conferencing today, etc.

This show was and is a show that will last a long time in the cultural history of our nation and I am glad that I was able to share this with my kids too!

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