Why don’t you take a picture, it’ll last longer!

Late last night one of my all-time favorite movies was on, and about 45 minutes in I decided to start taking screen caps with my iPhone. I wish I’d started at the beginning! I can’t even say that these are my favorite scenes, because really? EVERY scene in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is the best scene. It’s like a completely perfect movie. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve seen it upwards of 100 times…and yet, it’s still not enough.

The first time I saw Pee-wee’s Big Adventure was in 1985, when it first came out. My brother Gordy was home from college, and he could not stop talking about it. He took me and our mother to see it at Upstate Films, the local independent theater (remember, Pee-wee’s TV show didn’t start until a year later, so at that point he was mainly an underground/cult phenomenon—and nobody knew who Tim Burton was yet, either). I screamed when large Marge did her thing, of course, and choked with laughter during Pee-wee’s big shoe dance. A lifelong love of Pee-wee (and of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman, too, though I didn’t realize it until a few years later when Beetlejuice came out) was born that night.

I strive to be a little bit (or maybe a lot bit) like Pee-wee, and I still wish every day that my mornings could be like this. Yes, the décor and everything (Nerd-alert: Pee-wee has an Eames DKR chair in his kitchen next to his stove—check out its cameo at the 4:40 mark!).

Maybe I need to start keeping a roll of Scotch tape in the bathroom just in case.

72 comments
  1. Matt RoeserJun 11, 20119:00 am

    Anna, if you’ve got any room on your walls for an awesome Pee-wee’s Big Adventure print, Dan Zettwoch’s poster that he made for ArtCrank St. Louis a month ago is awesome. You can check it out here:

    http://zettwoch.blogspot.com/2011/05/artcrank-pee-wee-bike-print.html

    Matt

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Thanks Matt, that’s very cool! I wish I could figure out how to contact Dan—I don’t seen email address anywhere…

    EDIT: Never mind, I see it in the comments! Yay!

  2. Charlotte KJun 11, 20119:04 am

    I’m glad it’s a cool rainy weekend where I live ’cause I know what I’ll be watching tonight! I haven’t seen this movie in years and I forgot how it makes me laugh my head off in pure unbridled joy.

    [Reply]

  3. KatJun 11, 20119:14 am

    Go ahead and scream your head off! We’re miles from where anyone can hear you! Oh, I can’t even tell you how much I love this film, and Pee-wee. I think I’ve seen it as many times as you have, and I can also recite it. Every single second of it is pure brilliance. Thank you for sharing that link, Matt. That print is amazing and I’m asking him about an order right this second.

    [Reply]

  4. KathleenJun 11, 20119:22 am

    YES! Pee-wee was a big player on the family TV in my house growing up – also followed by a fierce Tim Burton loyalty – our favorites were Edward Scissor Hands and Beetlejuice. It’s fun to watch my nephews now, decades later, become Pee-wee fans too.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Pee-wee is timeless!!

  5. JeanneJun 11, 201111:44 am

    Love Pee Wee! I have only seen this movie a few times, but every year after we decorate the Christmas tree at my Nana’s I watch his Christmas Special.

    [Reply]

  6. Lori E.Jun 11, 20111:12 pm

    I have the original PeeWee movie poster somewhere in this house… I think it is rolled up with my James Dean and U2 posters. :)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Unroll, frame, and hang! (Or, alternatively, put in tube and mail to Anna…)

    Lori E. /

    I just might do that… ;)

  7. stephJun 11, 20112:34 pm

    I agree, it’s perfect movie! One of my all time favorites. “I don’t make monkeys, I just train ‘em”.

    [Reply]

  8. CallistaJun 11, 20113:16 pm

    Hilarious. A few weeks ago, they were showing Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at one of the local pubs/theaters here in Portland. It included a costume contest beforehand. I desperately wanted to go, but had other obligations that evening.

    I also didn’t realize the movie came before the show. That’s very interesting. I guess you learn something new every day.

    [Reply]

    sarah j /

    I got to take my son to the Sunday matinee. Now he nows why Mom dances like that when “Tequila” comes over the grocery store loudspeakers.

    Anna @ D16 /

    :D

  9. Heidi WilliamsJun 11, 20113:27 pm

    Ohhh Emmmm Geee.

    Thank you for posting this – I have not seem that movie since i was a kid and it was one of my favorites. I am now compelled to find it and watch it!! I have a feeling i missed a lot of things back in the day! My dad used to say Pee Wee lines ALL the time and my mom had a collection of talking pee wee toys. Including “Chairy.”

    Just hearing that theme music brings back so many memories!

    [Reply]

  10. Kelly@TearingUpHousesJun 11, 20114:03 pm

    i loooved that movie (and television show)! my brother used to tape up his face and would laugh and laugh and laugh…

    kelly

    [Reply]

  11. SarahJun 11, 20114:42 pm

    you’re awesome. i so need to watch it with my kids. i hope they get it.

    [Reply]

  12. Vicki @ Piccolo Takes AllJun 11, 20115:02 pm

    I had a poster of Pee Wee in my locker in middle school, and at the time, thought I did a pretty spot-on impression of his voice… I also had thick-soled shoes that I loved to do the “Tequila dance” in… More recently, one of my prouder moments was hearing my friends’ elementary-aged kids (trained by moi) recite, “I pity the poor fool who don’t eat my cereal!!!” Haha! :D

    [Reply]

  13. MelissaJun 11, 20117:27 pm

    Hi,

    maybe a month ago I wrote some comments on one of your other posts asking about this subject in particular; then you said I couldn’t post that comment on a post about something else, and eventually you deleted my comments. Now, when I see that you have made a post about a movie with lots of pictures, I ask again. Don’t you need permission to put up screenshots of movies? I have looked around, and most of the people in the business say that I can not put up pictures that I have taken myself, and since you said the last time that you do not use pictures of movies etc, only from your own life, I got curious. You have taken some nice pictures though, no doubt about that. I hope this time I have not offended you by asking a question. Have a nice day!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hi Melissa, actually, what I said back then is that if you want to play by the letter of the law (de jure), you cannot post pictures from movies (or even movie posters!) without obtaining permission from the studio first. The de facto “rule”, though, is quite a bit different—I would be absolutely SHOCKED if a blogger were asked to take down low-resolution (i.e. too small to be reproduced or used for monetary gain in any way) screen captures of a movie, particularly if those images are being presented in conjunction with commentary about the film. Furthermore, there is a distinction between making actual screen captures directly from a digital film print and with doing what I’ve done here (taking cropped, stylized, edited photographs of a television screen while a movie is being broadcast).

    I’m not comfortable acting as a legal authority for your blog content, though, so you need to do your own research and act in a way that you feel is right for your own situation.

    I never said that I don’t use any photos or images that I didn’t create (obviously if you look through my posts you’ll see that’s not the case!), either—what I said is that because the majority of my content is original and created by me, I don’t worry too much about whether I have time to contact the creator of an image (I’m not talking about commercial product shots—those are fine to use) to obtain permission beforehand, simply because it doesn’t come up very often. I’ve never had anyone say no when I’ve asked, either, so again…it’s moot point.

    The reason I removed the comments you left previously was not because I was offended by them, but because they were left in duplicates in multiple posts, and did not relate to the content of the posts at hand. At the time, I referred you to this post on Design*Sponge, and I will again suggest reading the section on crediting if you haven’t already. This is not an area in which I am able to provide you with any kind of personal, legal or ethical guidance.

  14. AmyJun 11, 20118:36 pm

    I love this movie! The opening with him waking up and eating breakfast is my favorite part!

    [Reply]

  15. kelly wJun 11, 20119:37 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!!! I have loved Pee-wee since the beginning, too. Saw The Pee-wee Herman Show in Los Angeles last year when it opened (before it went to Broadway) and got to stay for a Q&A with PW after the show. He was gracious, funny, humble, and looked absolutely amazing in person– almost ageless.

    And these photos are fantastic, Anna. Thank you for sharing them!

    [Reply]

  16. SarahJun 11, 201110:59 pm

    What a great movie. Last year while I was in LA I took a trip out to the dinosaurs. You can still go inside them, which is pretty awesome, and the diner is also still there (did not see any Large Marge shrines). I got a bit of a surprise though, because the place is under different ownership and is now used to promote creationism.

    [Reply]

  17. DebbieJun 11, 201111:48 pm

    PeeWee’s Playhouse was one of the most clever shows! We still have a “Globey” at our house.
    “I know you are, but what am I?”

    [Reply]

  18. AdamJun 11, 201111:49 pm

    Love this movie so much!! I love the last screen cap you posted on here!

    [Reply]

  19. RebeccaNYCJun 11, 201111:50 pm

    Hey Anna! I am in Japan for work right now, and went to Tokyo Disney (my first visit to any Disney park ever…). I know you love Disney, and Michael Jackson, so I thought of you while I was watching the 3D film MJ made for the Disney parks in the 80’s. Captain EO! It was recently re-released at great expense, I assume in response to his untimely death. I am the same age MJ would have been, and it is very nostalgic for me to see films of him from his (and my!) past. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you….

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hi Rebecca! I was actually lucky enough to see Captain EO during its first run at Disneyland, but I’d love to go and see it again. I haven’t been out to California in ages, but I kind of feel like its worth it to make the trip just for that. ;)

  20. ATJun 12, 201112:22 am

    i need to get me one of those breakfast machines/contraptions/grade 10 science experiment ASAP, how can your day not start off great with one of those!

    *LOVE*

    [Reply]

  21. NellJun 12, 20113:08 am

    Hehe! I was pissing myself at your series of tweets about Pee Wees Big Adventure – I love this movie!!! I’m in Australia & we didn’t get Pee Wees playhouse on tv here when I was little – I’m gonna have chase some up now. Isn’t there an official Pee Wee day?
    Ps: love your blog thanks for the inspiration!

    [Reply]

  22. Tina@FlyingHouseJun 12, 20117:35 am

    I absolutely LOVED this movie as a kid! My brother and I would sit and watch it and laugh our heads off. I think we had at least half the movie memorized!

    [Reply]

  23. CarolineJun 12, 20119:07 am

    Hm, I’ve not seen this film. (I’m a Brit, so not as inconceivable as it might sound if I were an American!) Seems like I need to see it immediately, loving the aesthetic you’ve captured here!

    [Reply]

  24. novaJun 12, 201110:14 am

    Paging Mister Herman! hahahaha DAMN I love that movie. Except large Marge, she’s too scary.

    [Reply]

  25. jennieJun 12, 201110:34 am

    I have the exact same stove as Pee-Wee! So funny, I never see it anywhere!

    [Reply]

  26. Jeanne ChilcoteJun 12, 201111:27 am

    FRAN-SISSS! One of my all-time favorite movies as well. As was already an adult when it came out (if you could call it that, ha) and probably watched the movie 100s of times and knew every line. I had a mini-poster hanging in my office at work for years.

    My first introduction to “Pee Wee” was on a John Paragon HBO special (The Paragon of Comedy) back in the early 80s. Pee Wee did one of the skits (as well as Paul Reubens doing other skits with Paragon). Paragon played Jambi and also collaborated with “Elvira” on her film. Well, you probably know all of this…I could go on…haha…

    Such a classic! Thanks for posting!

    [Reply]

  27. FloraJun 12, 20112:01 pm

    Hi Anna, I am a huge fan of Tim Burton but have not seen this one yet… I read from your post that it was quite unknown when it came out, well in France it’s even worse, I wonder who knows about it apart from bigger fans? Now I want to watch it!
    And, thank you for being so passionate about what you like, this is very inspiring. I like the way you stand up for your ideas and opinions, and take the time to explain.
    And last but not least, your last haircut is just so sweet! It’s a great fit. Although I don’t comment often I follow your blog regularly. Have a beautiful Sunday :)

    [Reply]

  28. My Friend's HouseJun 12, 20114:10 pm

    There’s no basement at the Alamo.
    Love this film! You’re so right about it being perfect. I’d love a fireman’s pole that gets you dressed as you slide down it.

    [Reply]

  29. MelissaJun 12, 20114:48 pm

    Thanks for answering Anna, now I see why you answered like you did.
    Well, I have done some research and I was given a no when I asked about posting screenshots, therefore I was wondering what the difference between my screenshopts and yours was, that’s all. I read the post you redirected me to, so that helped. I absolutely understand that you don’t want me to take what you say as a “legal advice”, and i am not stupid enough to only just ask you and not other people with more knowledge than me, I simply wanted to ask you because I love your blog and wanted to get in touch with you.
    I took screenshots directly from a movie on youtube, and wanted to write about it since it is my favourite one, but I got a no. If I was to take several photos in a movie theater, that would be ok, like you did? Well, maybe I am that stupid after all, because I don’t get the difference! haha
    Loved this post though, it was brilliant :-)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Melissa, I don’t think I have any more information available to me than you do, sorry! You really just need to use your best judgement here.

  30. MelissaJun 12, 20115:28 pm

    OK Anna :-) May I just say that I admire you? You have the best blog in my opinion, it’s so full of life and personallity – I wish you all the best! Evan is one lucky guy! I will use my common sense and listen to what people from the business have adviced me to do, thanks for being one of them! Again, I apologize for the inconvenience!

    [Reply]

  31. bettymodJun 12, 20119:37 pm

    This is Pedro and his wife, Inez! She is holding a clay pot she is very proud of.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Say it with me…A-DO-BE!

    kelly w /

    A-DO-BE!

  32. CherylJun 13, 20119:29 am

    I grew up watching Pee-Wee’s TV show. My mom called me Miss Yvonne. But my favorite movie is Pee-Wee’s Big Top. I love when he dances on the high wire with the farm animals!

    [Reply]

  33. AmandaJun 13, 201112:46 pm

    LOVE Pee-Wee! I need to go rent that movie again!

    [Reply]

  34. ShannonJun 13, 201112:52 pm

    One of my fav movies for sure. I just recommended this to a friend who is currently visiting San Antonio, even though the parts in SA are short haha. Last time I went to San Antonio I had my friend ask one of the tour guides in the Alamo where the basement was. The guide didn’t get it, but my friend and I thought it was just hilarious.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    What! How could the guide not get that joke?! If I had to guess I’d imagine there’s at LEAST one person in every tour group asking the same thing, hahah!!! Maybe I just overestimate the longevity of Pee-wee’s social relevance. :D

  35. julia wheelerJun 13, 20111:41 pm

    YES! i love this! i just went to texas last week and posted a clip from peewee on my blog… because how else are you supposed to prove to someone that you’re in texas other than to sing “the stars at night…” from a phone booth?!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Exactly! I kind of want to go to Texas just so I can do that. Except there probably aren’t any phone booths left…

  36. MaureenJun 13, 20114:07 pm

    Yes!! This has been a favorite since childhood! My dad and I STILL do impersonations of Tina’s Alamo tour. Classic. I need to just buy the dvd. Thanks for the memories!

    [Reply]

  37. FritzJun 13, 20117:37 pm

    Taaaaaquilaaaa

    [Reply]

  38. JessicaJun 14, 201110:07 am

    Somewhat unrelated to your post…but regarding the title. That was what Madonna (to me like your MJ or Prince) said to me one sunny day in Miami. I was at a park near her then home and she jogged by with her trainer. I had fantasized about seeing/meeting her since I was 6 or so and there she was. But instead of being cool or having something nice to say (or better yet, just smile), I burst into a montage of songs. Spouting out her greatest hits. She slowed down and said “Why don’t you take a picture, it will last longer.” I died. To me, the then 13 year old, it was perfect!!!! I think I squealed and squeaked and went home to call all my friends. hahahaha

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hahaha!! I love it. I’ll be sure to share this story with my Madonna-loving friends. :D

    Mamma Biscuit /

    LOLOLOL Jessica, I seriously need for you to rattle off a track list of your impromptu street performance/celebrity greeting LOL afterall, her catalog of greatest hits are extensive!!

    What year did this all go down? and was she jogging with Carlos Leon? I’m giddy just envisioning you on the side of the street transitioning from “Vogue” to rolling on the floor and gyrating while squealing the words to “Like a Virgin” in front of a sweaty Madonna in sneakers and a ball cap on her head!

    Thank you for sharing this amazingly embarrassing Madonna moment! In my opinion, what would have made this story even better (or worse depending on who you ask) is if you sang her b-sides instead of greatest hits—like if you started with “Gambler” to “Dear Jessie” to “Over and Over” and ended with “Act of Contrition” LOL that would have pissed her off even more!

    :-)

  39. SuzanneJun 14, 201110:25 am

    Growing up, the house next door was used as “Pee Wee’s House” in the film. Very wacky experience to come home from 7th grade to see the neighbor’s house painted bright red with gigantic animal figurines in the yard, about 50 identical Pee-Wee bicycles in our in own yard, and a dude in a too-small grey suit reciting a scene over and over again, “I know you are but what am I? I know you are but what am I?” I still have Pee Wee’s autograph to me around somewhere… Ah, childhood in L.A.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Suzanne, that is WILD!!! Oh my goodness, I’m SO envious. Do you have any photos? (And did you meet Tim Burton?!)

    Suzanne /

    I do have photos… somewhere. I’ll dig around for them. I didn’t go up to Tim Burton– I was too shy. I still love to quote my prim-and-proper mom’s first reaction to seeing the director, though: “Now, I wonder why in the world they are letting that homeless man wander around in there and play with the cameras?”

  40. Suzy8trackJun 14, 201110:38 am

    I just adore PeeWee! Before Pee Wee! My friends and I would tune into Pee Wee;s Playhouse every Saturday morning…even though we were in college at the time! The idea for the show originated back in 1981 on an HBO Special that I managed to catch when I was in highschool, and loved it. You should also check out “Pandemonium” from 1982 (although its a difficult film to find, but worth the effort) he is hilarious in that!

    [Reply]

  41. janaJun 14, 201111:20 am

    Ha! Thanks so much, Anna! I love anything by Tim Burton, but haven´t heard of this (I guess it´s not very popular here). But last night I decided I have to see it, after reading your post, and I loved it :). My favourite part is probably when he carries the snakes out of the pet shop… and when he plays the hotel receptionist at the end and looks straight in the camera :). Love it.

    [Reply]

  42. SwanJun 14, 20118:22 pm

    I was just watching him in Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams. He is so different from his PeeWee self in that film and I love it.

    [Reply]

  43. SarahJun 14, 20118:32 pm

    Wow, I thought I was the only girl who secretly wished my life was like PeeWee Herman’s. Not, in that gross glory hole kinda way, in the making funny faces with scotch tape in the bathroom and eating Mr. T’s cereal kinda way. It’s nice when you find out you’re not alone in this world. Thanks, Anna!

    [Reply]

  44. KaraJun 14, 201111:41 pm

    I know you only wear black, but I have a feeling you’ll love this shirt anyway:

    http://www.threadless.com/product/625/In_The_Basement_Of_The_Alamo/tab,girls/style,shirt

    I smile and think about the movie every time I see it.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I only wear black? Well, that’s definitely not true! But also definitely don’t wear crew-neck t-shirts. ;)

    Cute shirt, though. Maybe Evan would like it…

  45. NinaJun 15, 201111:14 am

    When I grew up in Germany the movie wasn’t popular so I never watched it. Your and everyone else’s enthusiastic review makes me want to watch it now :)

    My boss’s brother was in one of the movies or the show, totally forgot which one it was…

    [Reply]

  46. Amy L.Jun 15, 20112:52 pm

    Too funny! A few years ago I had a surgery and had to stay home for a week or two. This was one of the movies I rented. I’m going to have to watch it again now that you’ve reminded me of it. I plan to make my husband watch too- he’s never seen it!

    [Reply]

  47. MeaganJun 15, 20113:02 pm

    Holy crap I LOVE Pee Wee! And the drive-in!

    [Reply]

  48. KyalityJun 23, 201112:04 am

    Easily one of my top 10 films of all time. You can seriously turn the volume all the way on this movie and just watch the expressions on Pee-Wee’s face and you’ll still have a way awesome time.

    [Reply]

  49. MichelleJun 26, 20112:57 am

    Oh I love those screen shots! I must have seen it 100 times too. When I was 21 I went travelling around the States on my first overseas trip and I was desperate to find a PeeWee Herman Doll to take home. I went to so many toy stores looking for one and finally found one in Austen Texas during a stopover. I only had $50 left to last me a week before I hopped on the plane home – but I spent $30 on the Pee Wee doll anyway. We travelled back to LA together on the Greyhound and actually drove past the Cabazon Dinosaus! We were both so excited! Today he still sits high on a bookshelf and my kids are desperate to play with him but they’re not allowed.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hah! I love it. I have many friends who still own their Pee-wee (and Chairy!) dolls all these years later…and their kids can’t play with them, either!

  50. ChelseaJul 1, 20116:43 pm

    PeeWee was a good family friend of some very close friends of mine. Lots of PeeWee memorabilia and pics with Paul Reubens. I still love (and quote) him plenty these days!

    [Reply]

  51. Jana @ The Summer HouseJul 4, 201112:18 am

    My first date with my husband was to see the pee-wee Herman movie. He grabbed my knee during the Large Marge scene….he knew it was coming because he had already seen the movie. Thanks for the memory :)
    xo Jana

    [Reply]

  52. ChaplinnnJul 19, 20115:56 pm

    I just discovered your blog and I’m in l-o-v-e! So pretty. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is one of my favorite movies and these photos had me chuckling :)

    [Reply]

  53. stugodJul 22, 20114:37 am

    Great blog. pee wee Herman is a ever ending source of amusement to me. It’s not my sense of humour at all, But I can not help myself every time I see him. some thing about him. Briliant.

    [Reply]

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