TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT Summer 1987

PEE-WEE HERMENEUTICS

Character is understood as a state of continual incandescence—a person being one, very intense thing.

—Susan Sontag, “Notes on ‘Camp’”

“Mr. Rockford, are you a connoisseur of art?”

“I had a painted turtle when I was a kid.”

The Rockford Files

Camp is first of all a second childhood.

—Philip Core, Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth

PEE-WEE HERMAN IS A BEACON, incandescent, illuminating. He’s a flaming star—one very, very intense thing. Pee-wee Herman casts a tall shadow for a guy named Pee-wee. He’s a movie star and a TV star. His audience is “children of all ages.” He’s the first real children’s star to emerge in many years, and then he’s the first big children’s star to cross over into the adult arena. Or maybe it was the other way around. Anyway, his show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, is the only nonanimated children’s show on television on Saturday morning. It’s a very special show. CBS has been

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