Retracing the Steps of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Retracing the Steps of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

On July 26, 1985, actor and comedian Paul Reubens made a splash in movie theaters when he brought his childlike, red bowtie–wearing character Pee-wee Herman to the big screen in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Reubens and director Tim Burton – at the time a relatively unknown, 26-year-old filmmaker stepping into his feature debut – would take us on one of the wildest cross-country road trips ever put on film, and they did it by barely leaving Southern California. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, L.A. Weekly recently spoke with the film’s production designer, David L. Snyder, and retraced Pee-wee’s steps to just about all of the film’s locations as he stopped at nothing to reclaim his favorite thing in the whole world – his bike.


All script excerpts from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure by Paul Reubens, Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol. Special thanks to Warner Bros. Studios and the Writers Guild Foundation Shavelson-Webb Library. Please keep in mind that some of these locations are on private property. Do not trespass or disturb the owners (or you might just get picked up by Large Marge). All photos by Jared Cowan. Follow him on Twitter at @JaredCowan1


On July 26, 1985, actor and comedian Paul Reubens made a splash in movie theaters when he brought his childlike, red bowtie–wearing character Pee-wee Herman to the big screen in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Reubens and director Tim Burton – at the time a relatively unknown, 26-year-old filmmaker stepping into his feature debut – would take us on one of the wildest cross-country road trips ever put on film, and they did it by barely leaving Southern California. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, L.A. Weekly recently spoke with the film’s production designer, David L. Snyder, and retraced Pee-wee’s steps to just about all of the film’s locations as he stopped at nothing to reclaim his favorite thing in the whole world – his bike.

All script excerpts from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure by Paul Reubens, Phil Hartman and Michael Varhol. Special thanks to Warner Bros. Studios and the Writers Guild Foundation Shavelson-Webb Library. Please keep in mind that some of these locations are on private property. Do not trespass or disturb the owners (or you might just get picked up by Large Marge). All photos by Jared Cowan. Follow him on Twitter at @JaredCowan1

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