About Christmas TV History

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

1980s Christmas: Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

The 1980s also offered 1988's Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special. In perhaps the most fabulous, star-studded Christmas Special ever created, Pee-Wee has some holiday fun for just about everyone. There are the series’ regular attractions: Jambi grants a wish, the secret word (’year,’) a Penny cartoon, and magic screen connecting the dots. The regular guests stop by as well, like the King of Cartoons, Miss Yvonne, Ricardo, Reba and Cowboy Curtis.

Cher knows what to do when someone says the word of the day: scream real loud!

But the most fun is watching Pee-Wee with all the celebrities that want to participate in the Playhouse holiday fun: Little Richard wearing a pillow while ice skating on the frozen pond; Dinah Shore annoyingly prattles off an endless “Twelve Days of Christmas” over the videophone while a bored Pee-Wee places her on hold to walk away; and Frankie & Annette forced into slave labor handmaking Pee-Wee’s Christmas cards.

Don’t forget Grace Jones’ shocking performance of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Other celebrity performances include: kd lang sings “Jingle Bell Rock;” Charo sings “Feliz Navidad;” and the Del Rubio Triplets sing “Winter Wonderland.” Pee Wee collects all the fruitcakes he’s received in order to build a new wing onto the Playhouse. All the fun comes to an end when Pee Wee leaves in order to assist Santa in delivering his toys.

Pee-Wee: "Feliz Navi Blah"

Special guests include: kd lang; Oprah Winfrey; Grace Jones; Annette Funicello; Frankie Avalon; Whoopi Goldberg; Magic Johnson; Cher; Joan Rivers; Del Rubio Triplets; Little Richard; Zsa Zsa Gabor; Dinah Shore; Charo; and, the UCLA Men’s Glee Club.

Ever wondered which holiday animated classic the King of Cartoons brings in this Christmas Special? It’s “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” a 1936 cartoon from the Fleischer Studios, featuring the elderly inventor Grampy, a recurring character originally introduced in a Betty Boop cartoon.

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