Pee-wee Herman’s first film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, turns 30 on Sunday and to celebrate, Herman released some never-before-seen photos from the iconic film.
“Just for fun, here are some never-before-public photos from behind the scenes of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” Herman, whose real name is Paul Reubens, wrote on his blog. “They were included in a yearbook wrap gift I gave after filming ended. Prior to now, they had only been seen by the people who received the yearbook!! Enjoy!!”
The photos feature a young director Tim Burton nervously giggling while holding snakes for the movie’s pet store fire scene, Reubens reading a script while propped on a stool, and actress E.G. Daly peering through a camera.
The film, a cult classic borrowing liberally from the 1948 Italian film The Bicycle Thief, follows a man-child, played by Herman, whose bike is stolen, leading him on a chase to reclaim it across the United States. The film itself was an extension of a popular 1980 stage show, The Pee-wee Herman Show, following the comic escapades of Herman, and led into Reubens starring in the television show Pee-wee’s Playhouse.
The film also launched the careers of Burton, who cemented his signature, quirky directing style, and music composer Danny Elfman, who went on to work with Burton on many projects.
The film quickly became a hit, furthering Reubens’ odd character sketch as a man with a childish inquisitiveness and propensity for falling into silly situations. Reubens’ characteristic, trilly laugh and his standard comeback—”I know you are, but what am I?”—quickly became pop culture staples.
Herman’s blog post also alerted fans to an upcoming Pee-wee adventure, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, to be released on Netflix in March 2016.
Correction: The original version of this story misstated the participants in the forthcoming Pee-Wee Herman project for Netflix. The film will star Reubens and be directed by John Lee.
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