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2 items from 2014

Review: The Mad Genius of 'Pee-wee's Playhouse' (Now on Netflix)

18 December 2014 11:33 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

To watch "Pee-wee's Playhouse," which debuted on CBS in 1986, is to find oneself tossed headlong into wonder. An amalgam of allusions, textures, and styles, creator and star Paul Reubens' cracked vision registers as both nostalgic and ahead of its time -- the bridge between the children's television of midcentury ("The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," "Captain Kangaroo," "Howdy Doody") and the new millennium ("Spongebob Squarepants," "Phineas and Ferb," "Adventure Time"). "This place is a madhouse!" the haughty, snooping Mrs. Steve (Shirley Stoler) proclaims in the series premiere, and she's right. "Pee-wee's Playhouse" asks viewers to hole up in their imaginations and throw away the key. Though I'm old enough to remember sitting on the floor in front of the television each Saturday morning, enveloped by "Playhouse," "Land of the Lost," and candlepin bowling as I sipped my »

- Matt Brennan

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Live, From New York: Sprout’s Morning Show For Kids Wants Celebrities In Mix

20 October 2014 4:30 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Some talk shows lure guests with the promise of hyping a new project. Others deliver instant fame.  And then there’s one that hopes to hook visitors with the sounds of an anthropomorphic chicken whose voice is reminiscent of a kazoo.

Chica, that clucking character, has held forth for seven years from the “Sunshine Barn,”  a set placed in converted office space in Comcast Corp.’s Philadelphia headquarters, all part of kiddie-cabler Sprout’s “Sunny Side Up Show.” Now the character and her four handlers have a new roost: a tiny studio on the sixth floor of NBCUniversal’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza complex, not far from the wardrobe racks used by the Roots, the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show.” Chica and crew will continue to celebrate viewer birthdays and do crafts projects live seven days a week. The new twist? Every once in a while, a celebrity guest or musician will join them. »

- Brian Steinberg

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2014 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2008 | 2004

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