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Pee Wee Herman and friends join in the holiday spirit tour de force in what
might be the greatest holiday special ever. The regulars are all there,
from Capt. Carl (the late, great Phil Hartman) to Reba the Mail lady. In
addition to the already sensational cast, numerous guests are in attendance
including (but in no particular order by any means) Frankie and Annette,
Derubial Triplets, Charro, Grace Jones, and Little Richard (and I'm
I'm forgetting a few, and I'm sorry for that [I want to say k.d. lang, but
don't quote me on that]).
Now, the special does focus its attention on Christmas, but it also brings Hanukah into light for a moment (hence my persistence on dubbing it as a 'holiday special') - and it does so both educationally and entertainingly (if that's a word).
This single episode of Pee Wee's Playhouse is forever held dear to me, not only because of the sheer amount of comedic goodness, but also because I feel it best sums up entirely the greatness of what was arguably one of the greatest shows ever!
Why isn't this available on video or DVD? Fortunately, I taped it when it aired one Christmas when my kids were toddlers. The date above says 1988 which surprises me because I was under the impression it only aired once. My youngest was born in '87 and I'm pretty certain she was older than 1 when we first saw it. The year I taped this, and every year since they have watched it over again, rewinding certain parts to see them played backwards. This was hilarious to them. The Christmas special has the same kitchy, glitzy sets and props of the Saturday morning show with all the regular characters as well as several great drop-ins. Some particular favorites of mine are k.d. lang performing a frenetic "Jingle Bell Rock" and Charo singing "Feliz Navidad". There is even a touching moment when Pee Wee explains the true meaning of Christmas with the aid of an old educational film of children performing a Nativity pageant. We just watched that original tape I made for the gazillionth time. My kids are now 15, 14, and 12 and they catch the sly camp humor that eluded them when they were younger. My copy is old and deteriorating. I can't believe this hasn't been released for purchace by now. Are people still so hung up on that minor picadillo that future audiences will be deprived of ever seeing this truly entertaining, good natured Christmas special? I surely hope not. I don't know how many more viewings my copy will endure.
This is the best christmas special I have ever seen on TV and on VHS! This christmas has handful of special guest stars who are really great people. Pee-wee was hilarious and all the other characters in the playhouse were also funny. Pee-wee Herman is the funniest guy in the world and I wish he could come back and make brand new Pee-wee movies and bring back Pee-wee's Playhouse on the air again.
Let me start by saying I have very fond memories of watching Pee Wees Playhouse when I was younger, so needless to say this has been a staple in our family since the year it came out. Staying tried and true to the quirkiness that is Pee Wees Playhouse, come join Pee Wee, Globey, Chairry, Randy and the rest of the magical objects, characters, celebrities, and musical guests as they take you through a world of imagination, love, comical quips and enjoy being a kid again through the wonder world that is Pee Wees Playhouse. Teaches kids a great lesson about the gift of Christmas. Another thing I like about this show is it has the right amount of adult humor (Nothing over the top, though) that makes it just as enjoyable to watch it as an adult as it was to watch when I was a kid. Admit it, you know you want to travel through the wonderful wacky world of Pee Wees Playhouse!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
" Merry Christmas everybody! Merry Christmas everyone!" screams PW and
'The toys 4 Tots' Marines. and the sincerity and warmth of the
sentiment are adeptly and beautifully expressed in what is probably one
of the cheeriest Christmas specials i've ever seen.
it doesn't hurt to be a PW fanatic either. i absolutely love all of PW's work. i have all the Plathouse shows on DVD and both movies as well as this wacky, but sweet and cute, Christmas special.
it pretty much seems like everybody is here. but for me what makes this special so "special" for me, is the strangely soulful and affecting musical numbers. K.D. Lang's jubilant and over the top rendition of 'Jingle Feet', Grace Jones's mysterious and awe inspiring 'Little Drummer Boy', and what i felt was surprisingly the best, was Charo's simple and touching guitar version of 'Feliz Navidad'. the only fault with these excellent musical carols, is that they are woefully too short. i know they had time limitations but these performers are so good here you can't help but wish the music was at least a couple of minutes longer since the none of the numbers lat any longer than a minute. unfortunately Cher makes an appearance and doesn't sing. probably contractual since Cher was one of the biggest names in entertainment at the time.
there is so much here that is sweet and adorable like the 'Dradel Song' and so on, and there is a co-starring role for my favorite media sweethearts Frankie and Annette. but rather than hear about it everyone should just see it. it truly has the spirit of the season in over flowing abundance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's Christmas at the Playhouse and all of Pee-Wee's friends are ready for the holiday. There's Conky, Chairry, Magic Screen, Pterri, Jambi, and more! Pee Wee had written a giant letter to Santa Claus and his friends drop by. He gives them really neat gifts and all they give him are fruitcakes. Pee Wee plays in Magic Screen and meets her cousin, Magic Johnson. He even commissions Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello to make Christmas cards. He goes ice skating with Little Richard and skates a perfect figure 8. It was done by his skating double, though. Dinah Shore even calls him up and sings a long verion of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Cowboy Curtis and Ricardo show up and give Pee Wee fruitcakes. Mrs. Renae even shows up to teach us about Hanukkah and gives Pee Wee a dradel, which spins into the Dinosaur family's hole. The Dinosaurs are also Jewish.
Soon, night falls. Randy learns the true meaning of Christmas and wishes Pee Wee a merry Christmas by giving him a fruitcake.
Pee Wee found a practical use for all his fruitcakes: he's making a room entirely made of fruitcakes. They sing carols until Santa Claus comes!! He announces that Pee Wee's list was so long that he didn't have enough gifts for all the children of the world, so he requests for all of Pee Wee's gifts and Pee Wee's aid in delivering them all. So it does turn out to be a merry Christmas. But what will Pee-Wee decide? Will he give up his gifts and help out Big Red? Perhaps.
I like this and I do recommend it. This was made back when Pee-Wee's Playhouse was big and before Paul Reuben's, you know, little incident.
You've gotta hand it to a holiday special from the late '80s to make
all this stale Christmas material fun again; one that at least gives it
just that weird spin to freshen things up. "Christmas at Pee Wee's
Playhouse" packs in the guest stars, musical numbers and unwanted
fruitcakes - it's got duds, sure, the Del Rubio sisters and KD Lang
don't really fit. But get a look at Pee Wee in his (awesome) snow suit.
My kid lives to see him spaz it up (we both kinda bond over this), and
that alone makes this a fun special.
The damn thing even comes with a message, and it's one that doesn't ruin the fun. Nice job.
Pee-wee Herman and pals are celebrating Christmas in the Playhouse in
their own creative ways: Pee-wee makes a list for Santa Claus 1 1/2
miles long, teaches Little Richard how to ice skate, goes for a sleigh
ride with Magic Johnson, commands Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello
to make Christmas cards, receives a long phone call from Dinah Shore,
even has more musical fun with k.d. lang, the Del Rubio Triplettes and
Charo! I understand some people may find Pee-wee annoying, and if that
is the case, there is not much you are going to like about this. But if
you like him, you will love this Christmas special. A crazy amount of
guests, many who are abruptly cut off (which I find hilarious)... and
even a little bit of that subversive humor sneaking in.
It is still hard to believe all the people who got heir start off of Pee-wee Herman. Even just in this special, we see Laurence Fishbourne in his silly Cowboy Curtis persona which he probably would not do anymore.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ever wondered what Pee-wee Herman does for Christmas? Wonder no more,
thanks to this special Christmas Special. Pee-wee's got himself an all-
star cast, as well as some famous people you might know, to help make
the season bright. It begins with Pee-wee making out his list for Santa
Claus. It ends up running a couple of miles long, and apparently this
is one of TWO Christmas lists he's made, because later he tells Reba
the Mail Lady to add this one to his other one. Miss Yvonne stops by,
showing off a Christmasy dress and hair 'do, complete with a hanging
sprig of mistletoe. She gives Pee-wee a gift, the ol' fruitcake. No,
I'm not calling HIM a fruitcake. That's what she actually gave him. In
return, he gives Miss Yvonne his own special brand of perfume. After
that, Whoopi Goldberg calls to see if she can be on the Christmas
special, but Pee-wee informs her that he's booked solid for the next
two years, but suggests she try again then. Oh, the irony. Then it's
virtual fun with the Magic Screen, featuring her cousin, Magic Johnson.
When Pee-wee gets back, he realizes he doesn't have any decorations for
the playhouse. He wishes for some from Jambi and requests an extra wish
for later. Jambi reluctantly grants his request and first wish. Now the
Playhouse looks mighty festive. Reba stops by so Pee-wee can give her
his second list for Santa, as well as her present: press-on toenails.
Reba gives him a fruitcake, as well as a giant crate originally meant
for the White House. Inside it is Grace Jones, who sings a swinging
rendition of The Little Drummer Boy.
Pee-wee next commissions Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello to make him 1,000 Christmas cards. My, but Pee-wee has suddenly become quite the slavedriver. Then, Cher stops by to find out the secret word, which is "year", and then His Royal Majesty, the King of Cartoons visits to play for us a cartoon. From 1936, "Christmas Comes But Once a Year." Grampy, that lovable old Mr. fix-it stops by an orphanage where a group of sad children are stuck playing with broken toys for Christmas. Grampy quickly sets to right that wrong by making new toys out of household objects! So after Billy Baloney tries unsuccessfully to hijack the special, it starts to snow! Pee-wee goes outside to play. Cowboy Curtis stops by and he and Pee-wee build a snowman, then Pee-wee's ice skating double helps Little Richard on the ice. Back inside, an obviously drunk k.d. lang sings Jingle Bell Rock. I'm not trying to be mean, just look at her. Probably had a few too many glasses of egg nog before her song. And by the way, both King and Curtis give Pee-wee fruitcakes too. Then Dinah Shore calls up and sings the 5,000 Days of Christmas, so Pee-wee ducks out of the call just in time for a visit from Ricardo, who brings him a fruitcake and a Pinata. Charo sings Feliz Navidad as Pee-wee busts that sucker open. Man, what more could one ask for in a Christmas special? Songs, cartoons, guest stars, and I know what some people are thinking: some people don't celebrate Christmas. Why focus on just one denomination? Well for those who feel that way, Mrs. Renae visits Pee- wee and gives him 8 fruitcakes, because she's Jewish and celebrates Hanukkah. So for all the Hebrews in the audience, they give a little tribute to the Festival of Lights with a Dreidel song. So as night falls upon the Playhouse, Pee-wee and the gang eagerly await the arrival of jolly ol' Saint Nick. It's then that Pee- wee reveals what he's doing with all the fruitcakes his fans give him-- as somebody just flat out asks him--he's building a Fruitcake Room, made out of fruitcakes. How sweet. The gang pitches in to teach Randy the true meaning of Christmas by reminding him of the birth of Jesus Christ in the manger on that silent night many centuries ago... and now Santa Claus shows up in the Playhouse. Pee-wee presents him a mountain of cookies and asks about his gifts. Santa informs him that because his list was so big, he didn't have enough gifts for all the other children of the world. Great preparation there, Santa. So he requests Pee-wee give up ALL of them...yes, ALL of them...and in return, Santa invites him to help deliver them around the world. Pee-wee gets a heavy dose of Christmas spirit, remembering what he earlier said about what we can do for others, and agrees to Santa's offer. He bids all his friends a Merry Christmas and takes off with Santa in his sleigh.
A very fun Christmas special, both for kids and adults. In fact, I think this special in particular may have been more aimed at the adults in the audience, as they're the only ones who will recognize the guest stars and some of the humor I think the adults would find funnier. And by adult humor, I don't mean anything dirty. I mean those types of jokes that family shows USED to have: the kids would mildly chuckle while their parents laugh themselves silly. Namely the fruitcake running gag. Of course, kids will really enjoy this special too. Plus, I think this special does its job very well. It includes a short mention of Hanukkah and it also mentions the true meaning of Christmas. It doesn't leave anything out, it's not JUST Santa Claus. I don't believe he would make Pee-wee give up ALL his gifts. I think he was just testing him, and probably at the end of the night, he gave Pee-wee a choice of ANY *one* gift he wanted. Anyway, if you grew up with Pee-wee and you saw this special once before, see it again. Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! Aaahh!
Pee Wee Herman, many of the Playhouse regulars and a load of
celebrities celebrate the holidays in a grand and glorious way. Among
the many funny skits is an interminable rendering of 'The Twelve Days
of Christmas' by Dinah Shore on Pee Wee's multi-media phone device.
The celebrities are too numerous to mention, and all are very good sports. In the end, Pee Wee (and the viewers) learn a wonderful lesson about selflessness and sharing.
Regardless of his press in recent years, Pee Wee is a comic genius who tickles the funny bones of children as well as adults. Well worth viewing.
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