Remember Pee-Wee Herman's 1988 Christmas Special? It featured an insanely long list of guest-stars, including: Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, Dinah Shore, Little Richard, Cher, Magic Johnson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Del Rubio Triplets, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, and Charo. It was a hell of a production, and as far as Christmas specials go, it's a classic.
In the special, Pee-Wee makes an absurdly long list of presents he wants from Santa (using his Conky 2000 computer); various guest stars help him decorate for the holiday; a Jewish neighbor explains Hanukkah and the dreidel; and finally, Santa arrives -- but since Pee-Wee requested so many presents, there was no room on the sleigh for presents for anyone else on the planet. How will it end?? You'll have to watch to find out.
The special is streaming online now, on Pee-Wee Herman's website. Here's how to watch the special:
- Visit PeeWee.com (link opens in new window).
- Click on the pink video player in the lower left-hand corner.
- Ignore the popup asking you to join Pee-Wee's Pen Pal club. Or don't, that's your call!
- Click "view full screen" for an immersive Pee-Wee experience. If that's your thing.
If the PeeWee.com site doesn't work for you (it's VERY Flash-heavy), you can also watch a poor-quality YouTube version dubbed from VHS (it's broken up into parts; check the Related Videos for the remainder of the videos). You can also read more about the special at a special wiki devoted to Christmas specials (yes, really). Here's some trivia from Wikipedia: "This is the only [Pee-Wee's Playhouse] episode in which the secret word is not revealed in the beginning."
And finally, some personal Pee-Wee trivia from my childhood: back in the day, I rode the bus to middle school in Sarasota, Florida with fellow blogger Ransom Riggs (who was a big Pee-Wee fan at the time). Our bus went right past the adult theater where Mr. Herman got into, ahem, some trouble. It was pretty weird. I hear it's just a parking lot now. Any Sarasota residents want to post an update on that?
(Via Pop Candy.)