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Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (7) | Director Cameo (1) | Director Trademark (1)
Jan Hooks improvised the dialogue for her scenes as the Alamo tour guide.
Approximately 10 to 12 bicycles were built for the movie by the Pedal Pusher Bike Shop in Newport Beach CA; a shop that specialized in vintage and classic bicycles and parts. They were offered $10,000 and no screen credit or screen credit only. The shop chose the money. The bike shop had an autographed 8x10 glossy of Paul Reubens that said "To Mike at Pedal Pusher: 'Arrrrgggg!' From Pee-wee Herman."
Tim Burton and Paul Reubens brought on Danny Elfman as composer after Burton had attended concerts by Oingo Boingo, of which Elfman was lead singer and songwriter. Elfman was originally apprehensive, having no formal music training, but he was assisted by Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek as orchestrator. Elfman later said that hearing his music performed by an orchestra for the first time was one of the most thrilling experiences of his life.
During the entire time Large Marge tells her story, she never blinks.
The dinosaurs in the film are an actual tourist attraction located at the Wheel Inn Restaurant in Cabazon, CA (near Palm Springs). They also appear in Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs (1985) and The Wizard (1989).
This was Tim Burton's directorial feature debut. He had previously directed some short films.
Paul Reubens mentions on the commentary that during the scene in the movie where he is wheeled out of the bike shop on a gurney, Elizabeth Daily's face went completely white. After filming the scene, he asked her what was wrong. Apparently, she was having flashbacks of her boyfriend Jon-Erik Hexum being wheeled off of a set on a gurney. He accidentally shot himself whilst filming Cover Up (1984)).
The Drive-in sequence was filmed at the Studio Drive In, formerly located in Culver City CA. The Studio was built in the 1930s, and was the first Drive-in Theatre constructed in California. It served as a set for several films, including Grease (1978). It was closed in 1993 and demolished in 1998. No trace of this Drive-in remains.
Inside the magic shop by the front entrance is a picture of Elvira played by Cassandra Peterson who later plays Biker Mama in the film.
Paul Reubens was very sick from the flu when he filmed the return to the bike shop after his bike is stolen, where Pee-wee falls on the bikes. This is mentioned in the commentary.
Many of the actors in this film also appeared with Paul Reubens in Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986), albeit in very different roles from the ones they play here.
This was actually the second screenplay Reubens wrote for a feature film adaptation. The first had Pee-Wee's Playhouse friends (from his HBO special) on a road trip. Even though this was a completely different script, it also used the title "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure". In interviews, Reubens refers to the 1985 movie as "The bicycle movie."
When Pee-wee first steals back his bike, around one corner, he finds himself face to face with two elephants, a red one and a blue one. Originally, there was going to be a third elephant, but it got stuck in traffic the day that scene was being shot.
During the magic shop scene, Mario shows Pee-wee heads of different sizes. The largest head that he shows Pee-wee last is actually Aleister Crowley.
The rock band whose video shoot Pee Wee rides his bike through is Twisted Sister.
On the DVD Commentary, Paul Reubens said that he based Pee Wee dressed in drag after his real life sister.
When Pee Wee turns around while looking for his bike and there are wheels spinning behind his head, is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock.
When Pee-wee is hitchhiking to the Alamo, the Texas-shaped sign he holds up has a big star indicating his destination. The star isn't over San Antonio, home of the real-life Alamo; it's over Bracketville, home of the Alamo facade used in many western and period movies.
During the "Large Marge" sequence in the diner, her memorial, with a death date of January 11, 1974, is briefly visible on the wall. The actors say that she died exactly 10 years ago, so the story told in the movie takes place in January 1984.
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When Pee-wee weighs in at the beginning of the movie, he is literally a 98-pound weakling.
On the DVD Commentary, Paul Reubens said that he told Alice Nunn, no matter what the film made in the cinema, her character would be the one remembered. He said he met her shortly before her death, and told him that she was glad Paul told her, because she would have been completely shocked otherwise.
The Mr. T cereal eaten by Pee-Wee actually existed. It was not something made up for the film.
This is not the first time the Warner Bros. backlot was used extensively in a comedy film - this was also done in Blazing Saddles (1974), over a decade earlier.
According to her sign, Madam Ruby not only performs tarot card readings and fortune telling, but income tax preparation as well.
Paul Reubens and Diane Salinger both had cameos in Batman Returns, as Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot's parents.
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When Pee Wee goes down the pole in his house, he goes from his pajamas to his signature grey outfit and red bow-tie. That was written as an obvious nod to the Batman (1966) TV series, in which James Brolin and Monte Landis played guest roles. When Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson goes down the poles into the Batcave beneath Wayne Manor, they arrive as Batman and Robin. Tim Burton would go on to direct two Batman films, and James Brolin appears in the movie-within-a-movie at the Drive In as "PW".
Paul Reubens appears in Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992) and the Batman prequel series Gotham (2014). In each, he plays different versions of Penguin's father
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Pee-wee's phone number in the movie is 354-8567, in a departure from filmdom's "555" custom.
There is a theory stating that Pee-Wee makes his money by selling his own designs for Rube Goldberg machines.
The Large Marge sequence is based, close to verbatim, on the story in "Phantom 309" by country singer/songwriter Red Sovine. Pee-Wee's Big Holiday also has a scene based on a country song.
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The car that Pee-wee gets picked up in by Mickey is a 1959 Edsel Corsair convertible.
The Batmobile from TV's Batman (1966) (in which James Brolin and Monte Landis played guest roles) can be seen driving through the Warner Bros studio lot. Tim Burton would go onto direct Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).
Unusually for a Tim Burton film, nothing bad happens to the dog (Speck) in this movie.
Elizabeth Daily (Dottie) would later go on to provide famous cartoon voices such as Tommy Pickles in Rugrats (1990) and its movies.
Pee Wee's house was filmed just 0.6 miles (1Km) from the Carrow's restaurant (as Big Jeff's restaurant) where Sarah Connor worked in The Terminator (1984).
Early on, at Chuck's shop, Pee-wee mentions "James Bond stuff." Later on, James Brolin's character introduces himself as "Herman, P.W. Herman," in the style of "Bond, James Bond." James Brolin had tried out for the role of James Bond in Octopussy (1983) just two years earlier.
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James Brolin's character often gets phone calls from the US President. At the time of this film, that office was held by Ronald Reagan, who was later portrayed by James Brolin in The Reagans (2003).
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The film was released the same year as another Warner Bros. feature film about a man who sets out to recover his stolen vehicle, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985).
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The script is a nod to the Italian 1948 Classic Ladri di Biciclette in that the main characters prized bicycle is stolen, and the police dont take the crime seriously, nor do his friends offer much help and as a last resort consults a dubious fortune teller.
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All three writers of Pee Wees Big Adventure appear somewhere in the film. ( Phil Hartman appears as one of the reporters, Michael Varhol appears as the photographer, and Paul Ruebans, of course, plays Pee Wee.)
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Pee-Wee's female disguise was influenced by Olive-Oyl from the Popeye cartoons.
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The map in Pee Wee's basement is of San Francisco.
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The bike chase in the Warner Bros. studio sequence could had been one of the influences behind the Grand Theft Auto (1997) video game franchise.
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James Brolin screen tested for James Bond.
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Cameo 

Cassandra Peterson: (a.k.a. Elvira) Biker Mama at the Biker Bar.
John Paragon: man dressed in red armor with a high voice, was "Jambi" and "Pterri" in Pee Wee's TV shows.
Tom Berenger: Patron that turns around in the diner after the Large Marge sequence.
Phil Hartman: reporter interviewing Francis at the drive-in is "Captain Carl" from Pee Wee's TV shows.
Lynne Marie Stewart: impatient "mother superior" in Kevin Morton's movie is "Miss Yvonne" from Pee Wee's TV shows.
Professor Toru Tanaka: Francis's butler.
James Brolin, Morgan Fairchild: as "PW" and "Dottie" in the film-within-a-film that purports to be based on Pee Wee's experience. As a gag, Brolin's character is only called PW Herman because it would make little sense to have a big strong man called Pee Wee.

Director Cameo 

Tim Burton: the thug who accosts Pee-wee just before he enters the fortune teller's studio.

Director Trademark 

Tim Burton: [distorted female face] Large Marge's shocked expression.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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