Sometime during the early 80’s, I first saw Pee-wee Herman on the David Letterman show, where he was a recurring guest. At the time, I really didn’t know what to make of the character, an invention of improv comic Paul Reubens. But with every appearance, his brand of humor grew on me. The release of “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” made me a fan for life and “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” was must viewing for my wife and I and later, for our kids.
His recent “renaissance”, with a wildly successful broadway show and plans for a new film, was welcome news to me and I’m sure to his many other fans. There were rumors of Johnny Depp taking over the role of Pee-wee in a movie sequel (only SLIGHTLY less ill-conceived than having James Brolin play the part) and there seems to be a grassroots internet movement to draft Jim Parsons (“the Big Bang Theory) as a replacement Pee-wee should that time arrive. As I see it, Reubens is, and will remain, the one and only Pee-wee Herman.
For years I commuted to downtown Chicago’s Loop, riding the “L” train through the west side of the city. Now I ride only occasionally and at off peak hours, which gives me a chance to sketch some of the riders unobserved. With an endless supply of faces and poses to serve as inspiration, it’s fun to experiment with a different styles.
Here I’ve composited a few of these sketches digitally with some of the amazing photos my wife, Lynn, has taken during her commute.
I hope to continue this series from time to time, so Green Line riders be forewarned.