Thirty-five years after his breakthrough film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” and 29 years after that notorious incident in a Florida adult movie theater, Paul Reubens is back.
The comedian known as Pee-wee Herman is embarking on 25-city, two-month tour that will take him across the country. Each performance on the tour will be followed by a screening of “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.”
But get ready for even more of everyone’s favorite innocent man-child bedecked in a suit two sizes too small, with the signature red bow tie and Schwinn bike: Other possible Pee-wee projects are in the works.
The Hollywood Reporter wrote last week Reuben, 67, is working on a radio project “something akin to a Pee-wee podcast” and is in negotiations for an animated series “centering on Pee-wee and the puppets from his old TV show’s Puppetland.”
“Most intriguing of all, he’s been pitching studios on ‘The Pee-wee Herman Story,’ a very un-Pee-wee-sounding screenplay that takes his puckish TV persona into dark and unexpected territory (Pee-wee gets sent to a mental hospital for shock treatment for his alcoholism, no joke),” the Reporter wrote.
The latter part of that could be inspired by Reuben’s real life darkness, which includes two arrests — in 1991 for public indecency and in 2002 for owning child pornography.
Reubens did not contest the public indecency charge for masturbating in an adult movie theater.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obscenity charge in the latter case and the child pornography charge was dropped.
He was fined $100, received three years’ probation and agreed to be registered as a sex offender during that period. Reubens claimed the images found in his Los Angeles home were part of his vintage and antique erotica art collection.
While he had some celeb defenders — including Bill Cosby — the arrest essentially ended his career. Reubens made occasional public appearances, but became more of a cult figure.
Reubens — whose father Milton Rubenfeld was one of the founding members of the Israeli Air Force — reprised the Pee-wee character in a 2016 Netflix film.
“People have argued I have done everything consciously or unconsciously to destroy [the character], but it’s a brand that won’t die,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.