Courtesy: Shout! Factory/CBS
Holiday television offerings are not what they used to be. From its golden age up to about the early 1990s gathering the family around the television during the holiday season was one of the best parts of the holiday season’s annual festivities. By comparison to today’s offerings (or the lack thereof) the holiday specials turned out in television’s past were special in more than just name only. Now thanks to Shout! Factory one of those classic specials has finally been released on Blu-ray. And it is one of the most outrageous holiday specials to ever see the light of day, too. What is the special? It is none other than Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special. And it was released earlier this month thanks to the people at Shout! Factory, the leading name in home entertainment. There is plenty to like about this new re-issue of the classic holiday special beginning with its very presentation. It has been presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio from its original broadcast. And nothing has been added to or deleted from its original presentation. On another level, the script behind the special is just as noteworthy. It presents the classic story of someone learning the true meaning of Christmas. Yet it does so in the way that only Pee-wee’s Playhouse could do. Last but not least worth noting of this presentation is its bonus material. Between the bonus in-show commentaries and the retrospective behind-the-scenes featurette audiences get a thorough look at everything that went into bringing the special to life as well as the importance of the special in regards to the series’ overall run on television. It is all collectively one more reason that Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special. Together with the special’s overall presentation and its writing, all three elements together make this presentation a great addition to the home DVD/BD library of any of the now grown up Pee-wee’s Playhouse fan and potentially one of the year’s best new DVD/BD re-issues.
Shout! Factory’s new BD re-issue of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special is a great addition to the home DVD/BD library of any now grown up Pee-wee’s Playhouse fan. It is also potentially one of the year’s best new DVD/BD re-issues. The central reason for its reception of such high marks is its overall presentation in its new Blu-ray release. Its release earlier this month is not the first time that the special has ever seen the light of day in its own standalone release. It was released on DVD roughly eleven years ago. But its release on Blu-ray earlier this month marks the first time that it has ever been released in its own standalone Blu-ray release. It is presented here in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. And being presented on Blu-ray, it looks surprisingly impressive even being presented in its original standard definition presentation. Making the presentation even more impressive is that nothing has been edited out of the original showing. That means that audiences get in this standalone re-issue Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special in its full original presentation. This is significant in that there are some classics that have been re-issued by other companies minus one part, another or more. This is not one of that mass. It is a piece that any of the series’ original fans will appreciate in large part because it is presented in full. And it is just one part of what makes Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special so special for anyone that grew up watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse when they themselves were kids. The script behind the special is another element in the whole of the special that makes it such an interesting presentation.
The overall presentation of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special is in itself plenty of reason for those that were fans of the show in their own childhoods to check out this new re-issue of the classic holiday special. For all of its importance to the whole of the program, it is just one part of what makes it so enjoyable. The script that lies behind the program is another of its elements that makes it so interesting. The central plot at the center of the program’s script is nothing new by any means. Through the course of the fifty-two minute presentation, Pee-wee learns the invaluable lesson that the true meaning of Christmas is the joy of giving, not getting. However, the fact that the show’s writers were able to maintain all of the wild, zany antics that made the series in whole throughout it all is what’s really impressive about the script. It would have been easy for the series’ writers to just take the easy way out and get schmaltzy. But they opted to not take that road. Rather they opted instead to make the special feel just like every other episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse that had come before. Even more impressive of the script is its rapid fire introduction of the show’s list of celebrity guest stars. The very use of the guest stars is in itself a classic element of the great holiday specials of yesteryear. But none of those specials introduced their celebrity guests at such a fast pace. That pacing also tied in to the story in whole, allowing for the story to advance quickly without losing viewers to either confusion or boredom. That is an impressive feat. And the writers are to be commended for maintaining such a balance in regards to the show’s pacing. The expertise exhibited in that balance alongside the balance of the program’s wild, zany elements and more serious message come together in the grand scheme of things to make even more reason for audiences to be impressed by Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special. It still is not all that audiences will find interesting in the program’s new re-issue either. The bonus material included in the special’s new BD re-issue rounds out the special’s positives.
Both the overall presentation of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special and its script play important parts in their own right in the special’s enjoyment. While both elements are both important in their own right, they are not all that make the program so enjoyable. The bonus material included with the special in its new BD presentation is just as important to the program as those elements. The bonus material in question includes two audio commentary tracks that play over the special and a collection of standalone rerospective interviews with the show’s cast and crew. Audiences get quite a bit of insight through the interviews including the fact that the Marine chorus that opens the special is in fact not a Marine chorus at all. It was in fact actors dressed as Marines. In today’s society some might find that to be a smack in the face of those that wear and have worn the uniform with pride. It definitely is one of the more interesting tidbits noted in the commentary. There is also an intriguing anecdote about the cast kidding around with Kevin Carlson, the actor behind Corky 2000 at that point because of his inability to move inside the Conky suit. There is also some humor about Pee-wee putting up a dummy to deal with a certain annoying caller that will have audiences laughing just as much as they would with other tidbits revealed through the commentaries. As if all of that isn’t enough, the insights offered via the bonus standalone interviews adds even more interest to the program in whole. That being the case, the bonus commentaries and interviews included with Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special prove in the end to be just as important as the program’s presentation within itself and its one-of-a-kind script. All three elements together show that Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special is in whole a great addition to any of the series’ original fans this and any holiday season and potentially one of the year’s best new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.
Shout! Factory’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special is a great addition to any of the original Pee-wee’s Playhouse fans this and any holiday season. It is also potentially one of the best of the year’s new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues. That is the case primarily because it is presented here in whole from its look to its general content. Its one-of-a-kind script makes it just as interesting to take in. The bonus material included in this re-issue rounds out the presentation, adding quite a bit of insight and enjoyment to the program in whole. The end result of all three elements is a presentation that any original Pee-wee’s Playhouse fan will enjoy this and any holiday season. It also results in the program being potentially being one of the best of this year’s crop of DVD and Blu-ray re-issues. Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special is avaiable now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-comedy/pee-wee-s-playhouse-christmas-special. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
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