It’s the 30th anniversary of my first movie, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure!!

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It’s been 30 years!!

Hello everyone, Big news! Today marks the 30th anniversary of my first film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure!

It began principal photography on January 8, 1985 and ended shooting on March 15, 1985. July 26, 1985 was the day the film was released, which was 30 years ago today!

The movie was written by me, Phil Hartman, and Michael Varhol, and directed by Tim Burton making his feature film directorial debut! Danny Elfman’s score, Tim’s direction, great performances by so many funny actors– I’m still very proud of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. I think it still holds up.

These days, I am working in post-production to complete the new Pee-wee movie, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday. The new movie was directed by John Lee and features a score by Mark Mothersbaugh. It’s also a road trip and is informed in many ways by the first film.

I have received so many compliments from fans of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, felt so much love and support from so many people over the last 30 years, it has truly been amazing and wonderfully overwhelming! To any fan reading this: THANK YOU!!!

Your pal,
Pee-wee Herman

p.s. Just for fun, here are some never-before-public photos from behind the scenes of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. 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!!


Director Tim Burton (holding snakes from the pet store fire scene) and me


Me, first assistant director Rob Cohen, Tim Burton, and E.G. Daily (“Dottie”)


The writers of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure: Phil Hartman, me, and  Michael Varhol


Robert Cohen, Phil Hartman, Michael Varhol, me, and Tim Burton


E.G. Daily looks through the camera

Tim Burton and Pee-wee Herman on PWBA

Lastly: Tim Burton and me, Pee-wee Herman

p.s.s. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, there’s a rumor that I’ll be attending the screening of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure on August 22nd, 2015 at Hollywood Forever!!

83 Responses to “It’s the 30th anniversary of my first movie, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure!!”

  1. Dickie Richards

    Amazing photos! Thanks so much for sharing them and for giving us so many laughs and fun times over the years!

  2. LostBoyPA

    Loved PWBA, and now that I’ve shared it with my son, he loves it too! Thanks, Pee-wee, for so many years of fun and laughter!

  3. hapi

    Congrats Paul! Still the best! Cannot WAIT for the new movie. Only been waiting 30 years ? Wish we were going to be there to seen it on the big screen again! ?

  4. Doug Hoffman

    Thank you for posting these, and for all you’ve done.

  5. laura valentina

    Paul I’m very proud of you! Such beautiful memories to always cherish forever! ?

  6. Jon Schneider

    Thanks for sharing the pics! We absolutely adore you, PW! Insanely excited for your Big Holiday! On practically all the sets I wind up working on throughout the year, someone finds a way to mention you, the playhouse, Big Adventure or Big Holiday AT LEAST once a week! More exclamation points!!!

  7. Rich Bell

    Just great would love to see you and Tim Burton do something again soon I’m sure it will be magical as both of you have what it takes….the magical wand !……

  8. Philectric Arts

    Thanks for sharing the photos… very cool. I can’t believe it’s been so long since the film came out, but I still remember the day that I went to see it in the theater. p.s. Interesting to see Tim Burton before he went goth.

  9. Daniel Nicolai

    I completely forgot that Phil Hartman and PWH worked together. He was a great comedian and a great guy. Glad to see these pictures and remember him.

  10. Spencer Parks

    Congrats on the momentous occasion! Pee-wee has been an important part of my life and I’m so excited for your NEW adventure. Those are some great behind the scenes photos and if I were in the LA area, I would definitely go check out the screening in August. Have fun!

  11. Enterlaughing

    Happy Anniversary – to US! 30 years of loving you and Tim Burton <3 (insert best Pee-Wee laugh here)

  12. SpecialK

    Still my favorite movie. Love these photos – Phil Hartman is still so very missed.

  13. Tina May

    The best kid’s movie of all time. A must see in my home. Thank you for sharing Peewee!

  14. Krissy Johnson

    Ahh a new pee-wee movie ahhhhhhh omg omg omg yess I’m so excited you just made my day my month my year I can’t wait … I love you Pee-wee!!!!!

  15. Caleb Glass

    The mind plays tricks on you. You play tricks back! It’s like you’re unraveling a big cable-knit sweater that someone keeps knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting…

  16. Georgia Messer Papay

    Wish i could be there :(, if your ever in S.C. look me up Pee Wee would so love to meet you!

  17. Elizabeth HB

    Just watched this with my kids (age 8 & 5) again. It’s one of their favorite movies…and ours too. They love the old Playhouses too. They all hold up! Just occurred to me I was my daughter’s age when I was enjoying these for the first time. We can’t wait for Big Holiday!

  18. disqus_mqEQdbM95F

    So many wonderful memories involved peewee Herman. As a child born in 84 I grew up watching you(movies and tv show) and there’s some parts of peewee molded me into a smart ass kid that loved jokes and still to this day this movie is great. See you at it again reminds me of all the positive things I loved from my child hood! Thank you!

  19. disqus_mqEQdbM95F

    A follow up, a wife’s friend who’s younger never heard of peewee Herman. I couldn’t believe it…. seriously an age difference of 8 years? It was 9:30am and I said befor you go home you are watching this movie. And I made her watch it. It probably could’ve been considered kidnapping since it was a little against her will but at the end she was cultured.just Doing my part for the future.(; next up for her is back to the future. These damn kids.

  20. Willie Soto

    Happy Anniversary Pee Wee I love the movies and the shows. Hope th see Pee Wee’s Big Holiday soon!!

  21. Harry Klimek

    WOW, 30 years already. It was and still is a great movie. My kids grew up on Pee Wee movies and shows and I am sure so will their kids some day.

  22. Mike Wormser

    Hey Paul your first film “pee wee’s big adventure “& pee wee’s playhouse ” on Netflix are favorites in my house my 4 yr old absolutely loves em! I love to send you a pic of a younger generation enjoying your work. Where could I send it tho?

  23. LiL

    I have your original playhouse toy…with all the figures…I will never get rid of it…originally bought for my son who is going to be 30 on Halloween….mine now…lol. We love you PR aka PWH !

  24. Wik

    Am I the only one who’s ever thought Pee-wee is incredibly handsome? I mean, like husband-hot! Cute. And fun. He’s the perfect man (if he likes another man, of course. Hey Pee-wee! Let’s marry! – – he surely did avoid Dottie…) Esp back then, but even today. Still very cute! 😀

  25. A Doug's Life

    Congratulations on hitting the big 3-0! Jan Hooks’ Alamo scene was another very memorable part of this film. Like Phil Hartman, her face and talents are also very missed.

  26. Outbreak Survivor

    Pee Wee congrats on the 30th anniversary of Big Adventure! One of my all time faves and imo one of the funniest and greatest films ever made!

  27. Helen Gircko

    Wow, great day ! Thank you …. and all those who participated in the creation of this brilliant and insane movie !!!! Yes, thirty years have passed , but the absolute masterpieces are not age !! ( In a secret place to store these precious photos ? )

  28. Michael Sheldon

    Happy Anniversary to the One, The ONLY PeeWee!!!!<3 <3 <3

  29. Mary Anderson Syron

    I find myself, “Listening to reason” all the time!!! 🙂 Could watch this over and over!!

  30. Grace Lennon

    My all time favorite movie!!! Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures Pee-wee!!!

  31. JerseyGirl

    Thanks for sharing these great pics, Pee-Wee!! If I lived in Cali, I’d definitely go to the screening of your movie for sure! 🙂

  32. mach5motorsport

    Has it really been 30 years?! Time for the second big adventure!

  33. jack lehr

    So glad to see Pee Wee back in the groove. A great entertainer who our whole family loved – no violence, no malice, just goofy fun.

  34. tjkinsella1111

    I was the perfect age to enjoy Pee Wee. I first saw the The Pee Wee Herman show when they would run it after school on HBO when I was in 2nd grade. My Dad took me and my younger brother to see the movie in the theater when it came out. I’ll never forget how scary Large Marge was the first time I saw her. I’m a huge comedy nerd and my whole family still loves Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Thank you PW!

  35. Tina

    I love this movie so much as do my 16 year old daughter and my 7 and 8 year old sons! Thank you, Pee-wee! We’re so looking forward to your next one!

  36. Kath Gilliam

    Thanks for sharing the photos! I agree, PWBA hold’s up through the years. I introduced my youngest to it last year when she was 14, and even though it was so uncool, she giggled and groaned through it. 🙂

  37. Jeff F.

    I was lucky enough to see a test screening of Big Adventure in Austin. We filled out survey cards afterward. Even in it’s rough form, we knew this movie was special. Thank you Pee Wee.

  38. KMS

    This and Ed Wood remain my favorite Tim Burton films. I’ve always been a huge fan and proponent of this movie. Absolutely love it, and have seen it more times than almost any other movie.

  39. Wendilynn Kerezman

    I have never forgotten Large Marge or “There’s no basement in the Alamo.” lol Such a funny movie.

  40. Mallory Cook

    fun to look at and remember the movie.. so much fun! Still love ya’

  41. Guest

    Congratulations, Pee-wee. It’s still one of my favorite movies. I wish I could be there on 8/22! But I’m sure you’ll have one or two fans there…. 😉

    regards, Alice Kottmyer

  42. Lisa

    I dont think a week goes by that we don’t say a line from this movie!

  43. Marilyn Wilcox Grant

    Thanks for sharing these!! This movie was amazing. I’d never seen anything like it.

  44. Corinne Escobar

    Thank you for continuing to inspire me after all these years, Pee-wee! I love you so much! 🙂

  45. Allison D

    Is this something you can share with the rest of us,
    Amazing Larry???

  46. Matthew Deery

    I remember when came out in videocassette I watched and absolutely loved it.Then of course it was the sequel and the tv series.My all time favorite role is from the early 1990’s as the vampire in Buffy The Vampire Slayer the Movie.

  47. Deverie Rudd

    Paul, thank you for decades of quality entertainment. You are and have been a much needed injection of outside of the box whimsy and humor in an industry suffering from uncreative, mainstream, regurgitated fodder. I wish you the best on your upcoming project…you got my ticket dollars!

    Sharing my PWBA story:
    LOVE this movie! When it was in theaters in 1985, my friend Reba and I
    saw it multiple times, so many that we knew a great deal of the
    dialogue. On one particularly memorable viewing we were sitting behind
    three 11-year old boys (one must also imagine us with our leather
    jackets, spiked hair and wristbands for dramatic effect). We were saying the dialogue along with the movie which was starting to annoy the boys. One finally turned around and pleaded,
    “would you guys stop?? you’re ruining it.” We thought it was funny that this kid had the balls to say anything to us so we let up a little bit but…had to get one last ruiner in.

    When PW’s bike is moving behind him on the truck, one of the boys said
    aloud, “I wonder if he’s gonna see it?” We “whispered” very loudly,
    “Noooooooo.” “Ahhh man, stop it you guys!!” lol

    Another tidbit, my ex husband knew Mark Holton from NSU.

    I’ve been a member of the Pee Wee Herman fan club since 1982. In fact, I just hung
    my autographed PW photo on the wall last night…weird. Although, I must say, I never did receive my giant pair of underwear. Reubens, I’m lookin’ at you! LoL!

    Congratulations on your 30th anniversary of one of the funniest movies to grace the big screen!

  48. Stephen Miller

    Feels like yesterday. You had a dream team there.

  49. Brooke Elizabeth Hundley

    One of my all-time favorite movies ever, right along with Big Top! SUPER excited for this new movie! SO many cool things coming out of 2016!

  50. Bill Thomas

    Nice trip down memory lane. Still one of my favorite movies! Congrats, Paul!

  51. Torre Siana

    Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is still one of my favorite movies!

  52. Michael Sculnick

    It’s hard to believe PWH was not hired onto SNL,their loss.

  53. Geoff Aucoin

    One of my all time favourite movies, maybe soon for my kids too!

  54. Eric Stephens

    Excellent pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  55. King Swahilli

    Did you ever see the deleted scene which kind of explains the whole “Amazing Larry” thing? It’s on YouTube, at least it was…..check it out 🙂

  56. King Swahilli

    Corn has thousands of uses, all of which I’ll tell you about right now!

  57. Bill

    My buddy and I went to 6th grade camp and recited the entire movie word for word from memory one night. The rest of the kids in our bunk house laughed and laughed. I probably can’t do PWBA word for word anymore but darn close. So many great scenes and dialogue. Still holds up 30 years later. Cheers!

  58. Jim Fath

    I saw this on VHS when I was 10 in 1986. I know I was just a kid but I still have never, in my life, laughed as hard at anything since. Specifically the scene where Tim Burton makes a cameo. I rewound that over and over. My older sister and I still quote this movie to this day… Thanks Paul!

  59. Vixen

    “Everyone I know has a big but.” Thanks for 30-plus years of fun. I’m an always and forever fan!

  60. Todd Temperly

    Last week for my 50th birthday party, we rented a movie theatre and showed Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Adventure and introduced a new generation of fans. There was a lot of laughter during the interaction between Pee-Wee and Francis. 2 adults acting like kids.

  61. Blue Folio

    You *think* it holds up well?


    Well, I’ll tell you it holds up extremely well. I watch it every couple of years, and each time it’s just as funny as the last, if not more so. I laugh harder at the jokes – both the verbal and physical – now than I did as a kid, that’s for sure. The emoting was an incredible combination of absurd and subtle.

  62. Meg

    so cool- didn’t know yesterday was the anniversary & i just bought a copy of Big Adventure earlier today! something told me i should finally own it myself 🙂 what a way to celebrate

  63. Brooke Elizabeth Hundley

    This is one of my all-time favorite movies, right along with Big Top!

  64. Jerry Galerkin

    Victor Kemper, an extraordinarily talented and gentlemanly DP!

  65. Rob Kuzmicki

    My wife is pretty amazing,and this morning booked a trip to celebrate our very first wedding anniversary at the screening. I cannot even tell you how important this movie was for me growing up and to this very day. I know every line of dialogue, and have seen it hundreds of times. One time while visiting Palm Springs, I stopped by The Wheel Inn for lunch . I told them “my wallet was gone”, and they let me wash some dishes to “just about work off that tuna platter and milk shake”. If the rumor is true, and you will be there, I would give anything to grab a quick photo with you. It would be like Simone making it to France. 🙂

  66. Videonitekatt

    Wow, in modern terms that’s a short window from start of production (But i’m guessing you guys had a few months pre production) to release! One of the best fun comedies of the 1980’s!

  67. Christy Moses

    A favorite of mine for 30 years. I just Netflixed it yesterday!! Love always!! xxx

  68. salgadoets

    OMG! I have the same actual birthday as this movie. The stars align! Always loved Pee-wee Herman! Cheers buddy!

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