Monday, July 31, 2023

Paul Reubens Has Passed On

I remember several years ago when Double Dare host Marc Summers was interviewed on the Preston & Steve Show on 93.3 WMMR where he revealed for the first time in public that he had suffered lymphocytic leukemia for several years. "In show business, if you talk about that stuff, it's hard to get hired afterwards. My agent said, 'Well, don't talk about it.' I've sort of compressed this thing and it's made me nuts." 

Since then, other celebrities were revealed to be suffering from cancer without letting the public know for similar reasons. Some were able to overcome it like voice actor Rob Paulsen and others had sadly succumb to it like actor Chadwick Boseman. But one I would've never guessed who not only went through cancer secretly, but had succumb to it recently was actor Paul Reubens a.k.a. Pee-wee Herman.

According to his estate, the following statement was posted saying, "Last night we said farewell to Paul Reubens, an iconic American actor, comedian, writer and producer whose beloved character Pee-wee Herman delighted generations of children and adults with his positivity, whimsy and belief in the importance of kindness. Paul bravely and privately fought cancer for years with his trademark tenacity and wit," it continued. "A gifted and prolific talent, he will forever live in the comedy pantheon and in our hearts as a treasured friend and man of remarkable character and generosity of spirit."

Never would I have thought that I would hear such a heartbreaking announcement such as this! Literally, I was getting things ready for my sister's birthday when all of a sudden, this popped up on my social media outlets and I was reacted saying "What?! Are you serious?!" Over the past year, I have had people who I knew and loved pass away from cancer such as my aunt and a few acquaintances from church. Cancer is such a devastating disease that affects your entire body, mind, and emotions. You feel tired, weak, and hopeless. I hope that you or anyone you know never gets sick from cancer. It's not only devastating for you, but for those around you. Now that I think about it, it made so much sense why the Pee-wee's Big Adventure 35th anniversary tour didn't pick up after COVID-19 restrictions were gone or why there were no updates on Pee-wee's Playhouse: The Movie or the dark Pee-wee movie he had been working on for decades. He was very sick and couldn't do it. When I read more about Paul's death, I felt sadness coming into me. I was beyond crushed when people who I grew up with such as Robin Williams, Bob Hoskins, June Foray, and others had passed on. But I was introduced to Paul's work at a very young age which made this death a very hard one. Growing up in the late 80's and 90's, I knew about Pee-wee's Playhouse and Pee-wee's Big Adventure. I heard Paul's voice in many cartoons such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Chowder, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Tron: Uprising, Adventure Time, and more. When Old School Lane first started in December 2011, I posted my top 10 Pee-wee Herman moments on my tumblr page because I was thrilled he was making a comeback and that became the first post that became viral because Paul himself Tweeted it. In a way, Old School Lane wouldn't have gotten its major start in the first place if it wasn't for Pee-wee Herman. So, if you loved my blog posts, podcasts, videos, and/or livestreams we've been doing for the past 10 years, Paul is partially to be thanked for getting us started. 

There was also the time I met him in person at MegaCon 2018 waiting in line for almost an hour just to meet him. I remember talking with two women who were in their 40s wanting to meet Paul because they grew up with Pee-wee's Playhouse. The reason why it took so long was because he was talking to a little girl no older than 6 and answering all her questions. When I finally approached him, I told him thank you for his work and gave him a printout of the Tweet of my blog post. While he didn't remember it, he did sign it for me. I will be forever grateful of that. 

The last thing I want to state before I conclude the question I asked to author and pop culture enthusiast Caseen Gaines about his book Inside Pee-wee's Playhouse way back in 2012. 

Patricia- Let’s just say, heaven forbid, Paul Reubens passes away unexpectedly. Do you think that people would finally forget about his indiscretions and focus on his great achievements?

Caseen- I absolutely think so. I mean, Paul Reubens has done an amazing service in this world as Pee-wee Herman.  Not only was the character entertaining, but it was inspiring to people like Kevin and a whole slew of other creative types. He has achieved great things and I think a lot of people are being reminded of that with his recent Pee-wee appearances.

Even though Paul had done his fair share of mistakes that had stilted his reputation and career, people still have fond memories of his work and how much of a sweet, kind, and gentle person he was. Craig Bartlett, the creator of Hey Arnold!, actress E.G. Daily, Stephanie Beatriz, Rob Paulsen, Wally Wingert, Lori Alan, Ricki Lake,  artist Wayne White, actress and comedian Laraine Newman, animator Jorge Guitierrez, and more have left their condolences to Paul. Pee-wee Herman is currently trending on social media of people posting about their sadness for his passing and their fond memories of his work. Sure, there will be a few people who will always bring up his incidents to give their reasonings on why he shouldn't be easily forgiven, but many people have since moved on. Especially, since there were a slew of other celebrities who have done far, far worse. But I digress. 

In closing, I'm going to miss Paul a lot! I will miss Pee-wee a lot! He was funny, quirky, sporadic, creative, and kind. He was one of the people I wanted to have on my podcast for an interview, but now I never will. I remember hearing about one of the last things he was working on was a memoir and a documentary about his life. I look forward to seeing them. 

Let me know in the comments below about your fond memories on Paul's work. Thanks for reading and hope to see you at Old School Lane soon. 


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