A. Cyndi Lauper
The Pee-wee Herman character was developed by Reubens into a live stage show entitled The Pee-wee Herman Show in 1980. It featured many characters that would go on to appear in Playhouse, including Captain Carl, Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Pterri the Pterodactyl and Clocky. While enjoying continuous popularity with the show, Reubens teamed with young director Tim Burton in 1985 to make the comedy film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. It became one of the year’s surprise hits.
In 1986, CBS agreed to sign Reubens to act, produce and direct his own live-action Saturday morning children’s program, Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
Reubens assembled a supporting troupe that included ex Groundlings (comedy troupe) and cast members from The Pee-wee Herman Show, including Phil Hartman, John Paragon, Lynne Marie Stewart, Laurence Fishburne and S. Epatha Merkerson (of Law & Order). Production began in New York City in the summer of 1986 in a converted loft on Broadway. then moved to Los Angeles for season two in 1987, resulting in a new set and a more relaxed work atmosphere
The music for the show was provided by a diverse set of musicians, including Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo), The Residents, Todd Rundgren, Danny Elfman (who provided the score for both of the Pee-wee movies), Mitchell Froom (record producer), Van Dyke Parks, George S. Clinton and Dweezil Zappa.
The opening prelude theme is an interpretation of Les Baxter’s “Quiet Village”. The theme song, which originally followed the prelude, was performed by Cyndi Lauper (credited as “Ellen Shaw”), imitating Betty Boop.
MORE TRIVIA ABOUT PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE…
Many now-well-known TV and film actors appeared on the show, including Sandra Bernhard, Laurence Fishburne, Phil Hartman, Natasha Lyonne, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jimmy Smits, and Lynne Stewart. Future heavy metal musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie was also a production assistant and future filmmaker John Singleton was also a security guard.
Season 3 (which consisted of only 3 episodes) included an all-star Christmas special featuring the regular cast, with appearances by Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Magic Johnson,Dinah Shore, Joan Rivers, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Little Richard, Cher, Charo, k.d. lang, the Del Rubio triplets and Grace Jones.
lol, Cyndi lobster?….my life is complete now