A Pee-Wee Herman Christmas

December 17th, 2013 by Max Allan Collins
Pee Wee Herman Wreath

For me, Christmas begins when I receive my yearly Christmas card from Paul Reubens. Sometimes Paul writes a personal note. The cards are always charming and even hilarious, and we have easily two dozen of them. This year Barb made a wreath out of some our favorites.

I went crazy over Pee-Wee with his HBO Special, THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW in 1981. I was doing the DICK TRACY strip at the time, and I put Pee-Wee in the strip – he was on television saying, “My name’s Pee-Wee – what’s yours?” And a TV-obsessed villain of mine replied, “Splitscreen!”

Paul Reubens phoned me shortly after that, delighted by the TRACY appearance, and we chatted. Shortly after that, taking time out from a San Diego con, Terry Beatty and I visited Paul in LA – he was in a small one-story brick house filled with funky toys and oddball memorabilia. We watched a version of THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW that the cast had looped with blue improv material. The Pee-Wee Herman suit was on a coat tree. I asked Paul how many of those he had, and he said, “Just the one.” Then, noting my surprised reaction, he added, “Sometimes Pee-Wee doesn’t smell so good up close.”

Paul knew that I was a movie buff, and he was working on getting a Pee-Wee film going. Late at night, we would talk on the phone and (at his request) I would send him Betamax copies of offbeat films like Eddie Cantor’s ROMAN SCANDALS and Russ Meyer’s FASTER PUSSYCAT, KILL KILL! He called once every month or two for a couple of years, sometimes when he was off shooting a movie. (One was a MEATBALLS sequel, and I asked him what it was about. He said, “A virgin sees her first dick.” I thought he was kidding till I saw the movie.) Barb and I (and sometimes Terry) would go to live shows of Paul’s, and we’d see him after – we did this in New York and Chicago.

When the Pee-Wee movies and TV show kicked in, Paul changed his phone number and I haven’t heard from him since…except at Christmas. Always a wonderful card, and sometimes a warm personal note. I still love Pee-Wee Herman, and it’s been a nice perk of my minor celebrity that I got to know Paul Reubens a little. It’s very thoughtful and generous of him to send me these fantastic cards every year.

* * *

That great writer and blogger extra ordinaire Bill Crider has posted a lovely review of THE WRONG QUARRY.

Here’s a nice write-up about THE CONSUMMATA, my Spillane collaboration about Morgan the Raider. If you read the Hammers by Mickey and me, you really need to pick this one up, too.

COMPLEX 90 didn’t make this best five books list, but got a very nice mention.

Last week I sent out 14 advance copies of THE WRONG QUARRY. I am cleaned out. I had promised 12 here, planning to keep a couple for myself, but wound up sending them all. I apologize to those I had to turn down. They went the first day.

I do thank those of you who are writing Amazon and other reviews. It’s very important for me and every writer whose work you enjoy.

M.A.C.

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One Response to “A Pee-Wee Herman Christmas”

  1. Terry Beatty says:

    I like to think I don’t get Christmas cards from Paul anymore because I changed addresses too many times!

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