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Trivia / Pee-wee's Big Adventure

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  • The giant bald head that the novelty shop clerk pulls out was modeled after Aleister Crowley note .
  • Breakthrough Hit: This was Tim Burton's directorial feature debut. He had previously directed some short films.
  • California Doubling: Most of the "Texas" scenes are shot in California. The Dinosaur Park is a locally famous landmark in Cabazon, while the rodeo scenes were shot at the L.A. County Fairgrounds. Scenes done inside The Alamo were shot at The Mission San Fernando Rey de España in Los Angeles but the shots of Pee-wee entering and exiting The Alamo are of the real McCoy.
  • Deleted Scene: The Amazing Larry moment and the Boomerang Bowtie were both explained in cut footage that can be found on the DVD:
    • Amazing Larry's brief, odd appearance was supposed to be a Brick Joke, but the setup was cut out, leaving it an Orphaned Reference. Earlier in the movie, Larry ran into Pee-wee at the strip mall and asked for advice on a new hairstyle to help liven up his stage magic act. The payoff of him settling on a ridiculous Mohawk is the only part that ended up in the finished film.
    • Conversely, the Boomeraning Bowtie bit leaves in the setup but cuts out the payoff: it was to be used by Pee-wee to escape a Western movie set by tossing it into one window and having it fly back out through another, with Pee-wee using the distraction to sneak away from the studio security team.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Pee-wee's snake phobia was not a put on. Paul Reubens' screams of terror as he's forced to save them from the burning pet shop were completely real.
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  • Hey, It's That Sound!: The Family Feud "clang" is heard when Pee-wee's breakfast is done.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Halfway through writing the script, Paul Reubens noticed everyone at Warner Bros. had a bike to get around the backlot, and so he requested one of his own.
  • Reality Subtext: During the scene when Pee-wee is wheeled out of the bike shop on a gurney, actress Elizabeth Daily's face went completely white. After filming the scene, Reubens asked her what was wrong and she replied to him that the scene had brought back painful memories of seeing her then-boyfriend, Jon-Erik Hexum, being wheeled off of a set on a gurney after accidentally and fatally shooting himself.
  • Star-Making Role: This was the movie that catapulted Pee-wee Herman (and by extension Paul Reubens) into becoming a household name.
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  • Throw It In!: Jan Hooks improvised the dialogue for her scenes as the Alamo tour guide.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • This was originally pitched as a loose remake of Paul Reubens' favorite film, Pollyanna. While writing the original draft, he noticed how everyone at Warner Bros. was getting around by bicycle and requested his own. He received a spiffy, heavily-accessorized one, inspiring him to overhaul the original plot and write a new story around the bike (which would eventually become a loose remake of a different film, Bicycle Thieves). Meanwhile, the Pollyanna influence would be revisited in the indirect sequel Big Top Pee-wee.
    • In exchange for Elvira playing the Biker Mama, Reubens was supposed to have repaid the favor by appearing on her weekly syndicated horror show, Movie Macabre. Coincidentally, John Paragon (the actor who played Jambi the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse) was also a regular on Movie Macabre, in which he played "The Breather," a disembodied voice who'd call Elvira during intermission and would tell bad jokes.
    • Among the actresses who were considered for the role of Dottie before it ultimately went to Elizabeth Daily were Laura Dern, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Lori Loughlin and Lea Thompson.
    • Corey Feldman was originally offered the role of Francis Buxton but turned the role down due to scheduling conflicts with The Goonies.


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