July 27, 2006

PEE-WEE HERMAN'S WALLET

Francis Buxton may have stolen Pee-wee Herman's bike, but I have his wallet! Well, this is a relatively ridiculous post, but I was recently watching one of my favorite flicks ..Tim Burton's Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and I noticed that the wallet Pee-wee hands over to the fortune teller is like one that I purchased at a dime store in Branson Missouri a few years ago.


It's only on the screen for a second, so no doubt you'd like to get a better view of the excellent Wallet...

The detail that sets mine apart is the faux wooden(?) background. It's tough for me to determine which one is cooler.

Upon further inspection, the wallet contains a photo of Pee-wee and his beloved bicycle.

Well, look at that. I too have a photo of myself with my own cherished bicycle. Now I suppose you demand to know how my bike could be anywhere near as awesome as Pee-wee's.

(Image borrowed from Tic Toc Toys)

Well, in 1980 Post cereal held a contest that invited young participants to draw themselves eating any Post brand breakfast cereal with their favorite DC superhero. The grand prize was a family trip to Hollywood where the winner would receive the honor of eating breakfast with one's DC hero of choice. The contest allowed for an unlimited number of entries, so I got to work.

I invested unprecedented amounts of time and attention to detail on these illustrations. Eventually I managed to generate a respectable stack of work (for a kid). My dad sat down and took a look at my creations. He quickly realized that he needed to have a delicate discussion with me regarding the difference between Marvel and DC heroes. A painful and unforgettable lesson was learned when I was told that roughly half of my artwork was ineligible.


But I persisted. A trip to the neighborhood convenience store provided me with a fresh list of "favorite" heroes. In the end, only a half dozen drawings made my personal cut including the one pictured above in which Aquaman summons swordfish to crack open a cereal-filled chest as he simultaneously fends off the giant, hungry sea serpent. Meanwhile I (in diving gear) proclaim that "I wonte [sic] the cereal." It's a classic "bird in the hand.." scenario because the commotion allows the octopus to steal our breakfast. I don't know if it was this one, the Batman one, or the Giant Apache Chief that did the trick, but...


Yessir, I got one of (probably) a couple thousand bicycles that were issued as "second prizes," which was fine by me because in hindsight I realize that the top award was nothing more than an elaborate lie. The grand-prize winning kid had to learn years after the fact that Superman or whoever (whom they'd flown all the way to Hollywood to dine with.) was actually just some guy who happened to fit into the suit. Years after the "winner's" deceptive vacation was but a memory I was still cruising town at ten different speeds.

I wonder what they would have done if the winner had requested a mega-obscure hero like, say Weirdo Legionaire? What sort of get-up would they have scrounged together?










Here I stand proud with my prize as my sister (in back) tests out her newly inherited "Coast King."

And while that bike photo is handy, I just want to point out one of my all-time favorite t-shirts. It depicted Frankenstein on the operating table with the slogan "Some mornings I need a jump start." See it in this blurry close-up...

So now you know the story of my favorite T-Shirt.... Wait, wasn't I saying something about Pee-wee Herman?

9 comments:

Flamen Dialis said...

Kirk - what an awesome story! That really put a smile on my face.

Peewee's Big Adventure is also one of the faves here at the compound - my son digs it in a big way.

The pics are priceless. You look so proud! What a great moment in your childhood. I've recently uncovered a decent pic of my first bike - an orange Schwinn Fastback Stingray 4-Speed, with a siver sparkle banana seat and roungdknob stick shift. Man, I was so proud of that bike. Up until that point I had been the laughing stock of the neighborhood, riding around on an old, creaky rust-laden girl's bike that was given to my sister by one of our cousins, then suddenly I had the raddest bike in the neighborhood. I was really mackin' with that thing, until a kid up the street got that amazing Cherry Bomb bike with the cool chrome coil shocks and sissy bar.
Of course, like all the other kids in the neighborhood, I managed to crunkle it up a bit during the numerous poorly-improvised ramp jumps we always had going, but for a while there it was a beautiful thing...

Todd Franklin said...

Super-post! I remember those wallets and they were always for sale all over the Ozarks. Like the Frannkie shirt! YouTube has the commercial from that contest or another one like it from Fruity Pebbles.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8Q1pyVMFKU

chuckbaris said...

Kirk you never cease to disapoint me. I started reading this blog hoping you would have something interesting to say about my hero and yours paul rubens, but you managed to turn it into an egotistical jaunt into your past with pictures of yourself as the main focus. Once again you have made yourself the star, the director and the writer. Maybe you and M. Night should hang together and stoke each other's ego.

Rozum said...

Great story. I think imparting the differences between Marvel and DC is a right of passage of many dads. I am doing this regularly with my own kids (who actually believe that I know Superman and Batman because I've written their comics, but even better, they discovered a Justice League member ship card in my office and are trying to figure out which member of the Justice League I am. My son's hoping I'm The Flash.)

They have their super-hero action figures segregated into bins based on publishing company. No cross-over events yet, but I keep hoping. The fact that they don't make action figures in consistent compatable scales may make this difficult, as the Marvel figures are substantially larger than the DC toys, gives them too much of an edge.

I wonder if Pee-Wee ever had this problem?

Kirk D. said...

Flamen- Glad you enjoyed it!
And thanks for your own great (as per usual) memory.

Todd- I remember the contest from that commercial! I'm thinking it came after the one I entered because I'm having a fuzzy memory of a "here we go again" moment, although I never attempted to design my own super villain.

Chuck- Oh, thanks for reminding me that I wasn't finished discussing Pee-Wee... One other interesting note about Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Rubens)- he is a far better human being (in every way) than the blogspot poster who goes under the pseudonym ChuckBarris. The End.

Rozum- Oh, man that membership card bit is incredible (lol!) thanks for sharing.
Your post made me remember that my dad also had to eliminate some of my drawings because I didn't understand the difference between Post and Kellogg's cereals. Rats! I should have included that in my post.

Rozum said...

Yeah, the whole "When Worlds Collide" thing must be a bewildering concept for kids. I think the whole Universal Monsters thing planted a seed in my own mind on categorizing things when I was a wee lad.

My daughter seems to have caught on as well. I tried to surprise them with their early afternoon movie viewing, and when they impatiently pestered me with questions about my choice I lied and said it was "Bugs Bunny." My daughter quickly retorted that Bgs Bunny was a Looney Tunes character and that whatever I picked was Disney (she saw that it came from one of the tins the limited edition Disney DVDs came in, so it couldn't be Bugs Bunny because he's not a Disney character.

I was so proud.

Flamen Dialis said...

Rozum,
Yeah, that same moment came for me when ny son first enlightened me with the fact that the Boomerang channel showed "mostly Hanna Barbera cartoons". I just about fell over. He loves Tom & Jerry cartoons, and can now distinguish between the classic Chuck Jones episodes and the hacked-out later ones. But, I am most proud of the fact that he can look at all the Dunnies and vinyl toys on my downstairs mantlepiece and can tell me what artist designed each one. He got real excited when I showed him a picture of David Horvath one day, because then he could finally attach a face to one of the names! Not bad for an 8 year-old. Plus, he leans toward Marvel, which is nice; and, like myself, is partial to the silver age Batman when it comes to DC characters. He makes me so proud...

gesina said...

For what it's worth, the backing on the wallet looks like birch bark to me...

Kirk D. said...

gesina- A google image search just led me to believe that you are correct!