There was a period in my life when I had aligned all my goals and ambitions so that I would grow up to be Pee-wee Herman. He had the coolest house, the coolest toys, and the coolest friends. I was like five or six at the time, but aside from the talking furniture, I’m just now realizing that I actually did kind of grow into a bastardized version of Pee-wee. Tight. So sit back and take in these Pee-wee Herman tattoos in honor of my former life coach.
Pee-wee sprung from the mind of comedian Paul Reubens in the late ‘70s. The character was developed during Reuben’s tenure in The Groundlings, LA’s premier improv troupe. Herman actually made his televised debut on The Dating Game in 1979. Reubens then developed a stage show based around the character.
Pee-wee blew up thanks to an HBO special in 1981. In 1984, the character sold out Carnegie Hall. The next year saw the release of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in which Reubens teamed with a then-unknown Tim Burton to create one of the best films of the 1980s.
The film’s success led to CBS striking a deal with Reubens for a children’s TV show based around Pee-wee. The resulting Pee-wee’s Playhouse ran for five seasons and won 15 Emmys. 1988 saw the release of a second feature length film, Pee-wee’s Big Top Adventure. It seemed like Pee-wee was on top of the world and definitely here to stay.
Many believe that Pee-wee came to an end when Reubens was arrested for masturbating in an adult theater in Sarasota in 1991. But the truth is that he had decided to retire the character before this, turning down a sixth season of Pee-wee’s Playhouse out of fear that it was in danger of becoming stale. But the arrest saw a nationwide demonization of Reubens and Pee-wee disappeared completely from TV and stores as a result.
Now, here’s our problem with what happened to Reubens. It’s really a twofold complaint. For one, he was arrested for jerking off in a porno theater… That’s what you do in those places! That’s like getting arrested for buying some cereal at the grocery store or something. Secondly, Reuben’s arrest really cemented the fact that no other famous person would ever again step foot in a pornographic theater. This means that your chances of wanking it in proximity to a celebrity immediately became nil. My uncle has a favorite story about jacking it in the same row as Paul Newman in the ‘70s, and now thanks to the Sarasota police department, I’ll never accrue a story of similar caliber.
But that’s ok! Because Pee-wee has been resurrected in recent years. Reubens brought Pee-wee back to the stage in a run of sold-out performances and released a new Pee-wee film via Netflix last year. In honor of the resurrection of my childhood idol, we’ve got all of these great Pee-wee Herman tattoos. Check em out and fondly be transported back to a world where chairs could talk and Morpheus was a cowboy.
It’s clear that Pee-wee’s legacy remains intact, despite the efforts of an entirely too conservative early ‘90s America. These Pee-wee Herman tattoos are all bold statements of support for the ideas impressed upon a generation of young minds by Pee-wee’s Playhouse and the magical ways in which he opened our imaginations.