Regardless of whether your favorite character on Pee-wee’s Playhouse was Pteri the Pterodactyl, Cowboy Curtis, Miss Yvonne or the grey-suit-clad host himself (I’ve always been partial to Jambi the Genie, personally), we all have a reason to rejoice, as reruns of the show are officially returning to Saturday morning TV.
The show, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1986-1990 (with reruns through 1991) was originally part of Saturday morning TV on CBS. Pee-wee’s Playhouse was an interesting series in that while it was a children’s television show, adults loved to watch it as well. The series also featured a bevy of actors who went on to become huge stars, including Phil Hartman, Laurence Fishburne, Natasha Lyonne and S. Epatha Merkerson.
Thanksgiving Day in the United States will see cable channel IFC air a 24-hour marathon of the Paul Reubens-starring series, along with the cult-favorite 1988 holiday special Christmas at Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which features guest spots from Annette Funicello, Whoopi Goldberg, Charo, Magic Johnson, Grace Jones, Little Richard, Joan Rivers and Oprah Winfrey.
Following the marathon on Nov. 22, IFC will begin airing episodes of Pee-wee’s Playhouse as part of Saturday morning TV starting Nov. 24.
Pee-wee’s Playhouse actually began as a live stage show at the Groundlings Theatre and then The Roxy in Los Angeles, and while it featured many of the same characters that eventually appeared on Saturday morning TV, the show was very much not for kids. Much of its humor was sexual and for adults, though it was always an homage to kids’ shows of the 1950s like Captain Kangaroo and Howdy Doody.
In 1985, after Reubens teamed up with Tim Burton to create the 1985 comedy Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, CBS approached Reubens about a live-action kids’ show, which he acted in, produced and directed.
In 2010, Pee-wee returned to the L.A. stage for a revamped The Pee-wee Herman Show (which also aired as an HBO special), and in 2016 a new Pee-wee Herman movie, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, was produced for Netflix.