Monday, July 31, 2023

Pee-Wee Herman card collection

I've been a Pee-Wee Herman fan since I was a kid, with Pee-Wee's Playhouse being a favorite show of mine back then. Took me a while to finish this post (sparked now in tribute to the passing of Paul Reubens), but back in 2019, I decided to combine my love of Pee-Wee with my love of card collecting and build up a collection of Pee-Wee cards, chiefly the Pee-Wee's Playhouse cards that Topps put out in 1988. Wasn't easy, but I eventually completed a master set, and by the end had come close to a second master set, which I'm still working on. 

1988 Topps Pee-Wee's Playhouse has just 33 base cards plus a few different insert sets, but with variations, a master set is 159 cards deep. That doesn't sound too bad, but man, it was a challenge! It's tough to find singles online so I figured my best bet was ripping unopened product. The collation is brutal with those packs, though, even sourced from different sellers. Some cards were very tricky for me to track down, while I ended up with tons of dupes of others.

It's kind of a confusing set. As a reference for anyone brave enough to go after it, here's the checklist I put together. I did my best identifying the different cards, but it's not always easy to tell the variations apart.

1988 Topps Pee-Wee's Playhouse (master set: 159 cards)
1Aant top left45 Neat Things to Do When It Rains!
1Byellow on right45 Neat Things to Do When It Rains!
2Ayellow Conky right"Time to put away my toys, would you like to help"
2Byellow Dinosaur right"Time to put away my toys, would you like to help"
3Ayellow top middle"Hey, kids! Here's a letter from..."
3Bant low left"Hey, kids! Here's a letter from..."
4Ayellow top middleGlobey's Travel Tips: Staten Island, N.Y.
4Bred top middleGlobey's Travel Tips: Staten Island, N.Y.
5Ayellow at topPlayhouse Collectors Show & Tell
5Bred on rightPlayhouse Collectors Show & Tell
6Ayellow low leftPotato Fun
6Byellow top rightPotato Fun
7Ayellow low leftDinosaur Family Dino Facts
7Bant on leftDinosaur Family Dino Facts
8Aant on leftPlayhouse Recipe File
8Byellow low leftPlayhouse Recipe File
9Ayellow on leftDear Peewee,
9Byellow on bottomDear Peewee,
10Aant on right"What's Pee Wee doing?" "Connect the dots..."
10Bred on right"What's Pee Wee doing?" "Connect the dots..."
11Ayellow on right"I'm looking for a swinging party!"
11Bred on right"I'm looking for a swinging party!"
12Aant on leftPee Wee's Fun Facts
12BDinosaur low leftPee Wee's Fun Facts
13Ayellow low left"Mekka lekka hi, mekka hiney ho!"
13Bred low left"Mekka lekka hi, mekka hiney ho!"
14Ayellow low rightJambi's Fortunes
14Bred low rightJambi's Fortunes
15Aant top leftKing of Cartoons Drawing Lesson
15Byellow low leftKing of Cartoons Drawing Lesson
16Ayellow top leftWeekly Playhouse Press
16Bred mid leftWeekly Playhouse Press
17Ayellow bottom"Cool Cat's pounding out the beat -"
17Byellow low left"Cool Cat's pounding out the beat -"
18Ayellow low rightBazooka Joe Meets Pee-Wee Herman
18Bants on leftBazooka Joe Meets Pee-Wee Herman
19Aant on left and top"R-r-ready t-to ass-ssist y-you P-P-PeeWee!"
19Byellow low left"R-r-ready t-to ass-ssist y-you P-P-PeeWee!"
20Ayellow low leftPuppetland Poetry
20Byellow top rightPuppetland Poetry
21Ayellow low left"Let's see how big my rubber band ball is today!"
21Bred low left"Let's see how big my rubber band ball is today!"
22Ayellow low left"It's Dance Time!"
22Bants on top"It's Dance Time!"
23Ayellow on bottom"Why don't we stroll over to my toybox?"
23Byellow on left"Why don't we stroll over to my toybox?"
24Aant on left"Dia I say the secret word PeeWee?"
24Bred top right"Dia I say the secret word PeeWee?"
25AClocky low right"What's the secret word today Conky?"
25BPterri low right"What's the secret word today Conky?"
26Ayellow top"Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, Let the cartoon begin"
26Bred top right"Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, Let the cartoon begin"
27Aants on top"A cartoon a day keeps the Dr. away!"
27BChairry on right"A cartoon a day keeps the Dr. away!"
28Ayellow on right"Can you tell me what time is is Clocky?"
28Bred on right"Can you tell me what time is is Clocky?"
29Ayellow low left"What does 'cha-cha' mean PeeWee?"
29Bred low left"What does 'cha-cha' mean PeeWee?"
30Aant on right"Snack time's my favorite time, except for lunch
30Byellow low left"Snack time's my favorite time, except for lunch
31Ayellow low left"This seed is going to grow up to be a redwood!"
31Byellow top right"This seed is going to grow up to be a redwood!"
32Ayellow on right"Why don't you read me a story?"
32Bred on right"Why don't you read me a story?"
33Ayellow on bottom"Breakfast is the most important meal"
33Bred on bottom"Breakfast is the most important meal"
1sticker/flipbookSo funny I forgot to laugh/chickie baby/yehaw/pee-wee
2sticker/flipbookSo funny I forgot to laugh/chickie baby/yehaw/pee-wee
3sticker/flipbookCool/why not/arg/egg roll/baloney/pee we
4sticker/flipbookCool/why not/arg/egg roll/baloney/pee we
5sticker/flipbookFlower power/get lost/hello/connect the dots/pee wee
6sticker/flipbookFlower power/get lost/hello/connect the dots/pee wee
7sticker/flipbookAnts/today's secret word is fun/hi/arf/pee wee
8sticker/flipbookAnts/today's secret word is fun/hi/arf/pee wee
9sticker/flipbookMiss Yvonne
10sticker/flipbookMiss Yvonne
11sticker/flipbookPee-Wee
12sticker/flipbookPee-Wee
13sticker/flipbookDirty Dog
14sticker/flipbookDirty Dog
15sticker/flipbookA/O/W/?
16sticker/flipbookA/O/W/?
17sticker/flipbookM/C/O/J
18sticker/flipbookM/C/O/J
19sticker/flipbookU/!/H/E
20sticker/flipbookU/!/H/E
21sticker/flipbookA/X/D/G
22sticker/flipbookA/X/D/G
23sticker/flipbookGive me air/made you look/i know you are but what am i
24sticker/flipbookGive me air/made you look/i know you are but what am i
25sticker/flipbookI love that Story!/Moo!/Sit on Me!
26sticker/flipbookI love that Story!/Moo!/Sit on Me!
27sticker/flipbookLike cool/Hi/fishy/P-man/Wish you were here
28sticker/flipbookLike cool/Hi/fishy/P-man/Wish you were here
29sticker/flipbookLet the cartoon begin/Hi/Globey/I'm board/It's a Pee-Wee World
30sticker/flipbookLet the cartoon begin/Hi/Globey/I'm board/It's a Pee-Wee World
31sticker/flipbookRandy
32sticker/flipbookRandy
33sticker/flipbookPterri
34sticker/flipbookPterri
35sticker/flipbookJambi
36sticker/flipbookJambi
37sticker/flipbookS/E/O/T
38sticker/flipbookS/E/O/T
39sticker/flipbookY/P/&/N
40sticker/flipbookY/P/&/N
(41)sticker/checklistCL #1 Cards/Photo Stickers (I/F/B/Z on front)
(42)sticker/checklistCL #2 Playhouse Tattoos/Wiggle Pictures (I/F/B/Z on front)
(43)sticker/checklistCL #3 Alphabet stickers/playhouse foldies/flying things (V/L/K/R)
(44)sticker/checklistCL #4 Finger-Nose Cards/Mini-stickers/Disguise Cards (V/L/K/R)
1 of 12tattoo sheetskull (I'm labeling these by top-left image)
2 of 12tattoo sheetheart eye
3 of 12tattoo sheetReba
4 of 12tattoo sheetCowntess
5 of 12tattoo sheetbig head pee-wee
6 of 12tattoo sheetoctopus
7 of 12tattoo sheetjumping pee-wee
8 of 12tattoo sheetPterri
9 of 12tattoo sheetDog Chair
10 of 12tattoo sheetmom heart
11 of 12tattoo sheetpee-wee caterpillar
12 of 12tattoo sheetRandy
1wiggle toyMiss Yvonne/Cowboy Curtis
2wiggle toyPee-Wee/Ms. Rene
3wiggle toyConky/Reba
4wiggle toyPterri/Randy
5wiggle toyPop Eye/Pee Wee & Miss Yvonne
6wiggle toyCool Cat/Pee-Wee with bicycle
7wiggle toyJambi/cartoon Pee-Wee
8wiggle toyRandy/Miss Yvonne
9wiggle toyPenny/Pee-Wee
10wiggle toyChairry/Globey
11wiggle toyJambi/Chairry
12wiggle toyPee-Wee/Cowntess
1puppet cardPee-Wee/Mr. Kite
2puppet cardMiss Yvonne/Pee-Wee
3puppet cardChairry/Conky
4puppet cardRoger/Randy
5puppet cardJambi/Pee-Wee
1opening doorFridge
2opening doorRandy
3opening doorPlayhouse Door
4opening doorFloory
5opening doorDirty Dog
1flying thingsFlying Pterri
2flying thingsFlyin' Randy
3flying thingsFlying Pee-Wee
4flying thingsPee-Wee Copter
1Adisguise cardskull mask (flatter top crack on left)
1Bdisguise cardskull mask (flatter top crack on right)
2Adisguise cardgreen mask (shading on left fang)
2Bdisguise cardgreen mask (shading on right fang)
3Adisguise card3 eyes mask (green eye on left)
3Bdisguise card3 eyes mask (green eye on right)
1foldiesPenny
2foldiesConky
3foldiesRandy
4foldiesPee-Wee
5foldiesJambi

I wanted to go more in depth with the set, hence this post languishing in my drafts for over 3 years, plus I've been meaning to create some supplemental customs to go with the set (--There's tragically little from the first season of the show represented in the cards). But I'm not sure when I'll get to that, so for now I'll just give an overview.

The base cards look like this. Each has a background variation, with an analogous baseball card situation being like with 1990 Donruss how there are "paint splatter variations" with the factory set versions of the cards. I don't believe there was any short-printing going on in the set, so I don't think any variation has a premium on it.


The sticker/flipbook cards might be the toughest to complete. And the backs...


The funky letter stickers were recycled from an older Topps release but they fit right in.


The oversized interactive cards are fun but can make storage more of a pain. The three mask cards have mirror image variations that can be tricky to pair up. I pulled so many of the "blue eye on the left" of the 3-eyed mask card (yet the "green eye on left" variation was super tough to track down, go figure) that I even popped one out of the card to play with it as intended.


I've been saying the master set is 159 cards, but if you really want to be OCD about it, you can bump that number up to 171 cards thanks to the "wiggle toys" that rotate between two images. The above photo appears to be 24 minis, but it technically includes just 12 different cards despite what your eyes tell you. Yep: Lentrical variations! Maybe you've encountered this phenomenon when you get a couple Sportflics dupes together and notice that the images are reversed from the same vantage point. Similar with these "wiggle toy" inserts. They are one-per-pack, so you get a lot of them in a box. And when you lay a bunch of one of these out together, it's striking when they're all one certain image except for one dupe that shows the other image. "Is it a dupe?" Depends on how you look at it. Literally! If I can see two clearly different images when looking at the cards side-by-side, I reserve the right to count them as variations in my collection, not a duplicate. Is that weird?

Anyways, there's 1988 Topps Pee-Wee's Playhouse in a nutshell. I have lots of dupes to trade, so if you're building the set, feel free to get in touch. I'd like to trade my dupes with other Pee-wee setbuilders, and then once I've got a second set done, I suppose I'd look to trade it for something cool (preferably Pee-Wee related) or sell it.

Anywoo, I'm fifteen cards away from a 2nd master set. My needs as of 7/31/23:

sticker/flipbook #7 Ants/today's secret word is fun/hi/arf/pee wee
sticker/flipbook #8 Ants/today's secret word is fun/hi/arf/pee wee
sticker/flipbook #14 Dirty Dog
sticker/flipbook #24 Give me air/made you look/i know you are but what am i
sticker/flipbook #25 I love that Story!/Moo!/Sit on Me!
sticker/flipbook #28 Like cool/Hi/fishy/P-man/Wish you were here
sticker/flipbook #33 Pterri
sticker/flipbook #40 Y/P/&/N
sticker/checklist CL #3 Alphabet stickers/playhouse foldies/flying things (V/L/K/R)
puppet card #3 Chairry/Conky
puppet card #5 Jambi/Pee-Wee
opening door #5 Dirty Dog
flying things #1 Flying Pterri
disguise card #1B skull mask (flatter top crack on right)
foldies #3 Randy

As long as I'm showing off Pee-Wee cards, here are some others that came out after that Topps set from '88.


Topps reprinted one of the cards in its 75th Anniversary set (2013) that featured non-sports Topps sets of the past. I've got the base, a foil parallel, and a pair of sparkle parallels (/75). Then there was an online-only set of cards featuring wrapper art that included the '88 Pee-Wee cards, so I grabbed one of those.


Here's some Pee-wee stuff that doesn't feature Pee-wee. The Conky toy is mine from childhood-- glad I hung onto it and wish I hadn't gotten rid of my Pee-wee figure. I'm not looking to really go down the "toy collector" route until I win the lottery or something, but I made an exception and scored myself the Captain Carl figure a few years ago. Love Phil Hartman. Plus Captain Carl didn't get a figure released back in the day (neglected 1st season!), so this is a toy-that-should-have-been, as opposed to, say, the revamped Conky figure they put out in that same line of toys marketed towards adults.
I've been meaning to make a custom cut-auto using that signed index card of E.G. Daily (who played Dottie in Big Adventure). ...one of these days.


Pee-wee or Paul sadly never got a Ginter card or nod in Archives or anything, but he at least got certified autographs thanks to a Star Wars animated guest spot. This is an "inner circle" card in my collection right up there in my eyes with autographs of baseball greats I never dreamt of owning as a kid, not to be too over-the-top about it.

But the big boy in my PW collection is this record..


It's signed by Pee-wee and Paul separately, and Danny Elfman. I've been meaning to hang this up on the wall in the cardroom since I got it a couple years ago. Bummed it took me till today to get around to it, but it's up now.

Thanks for everything, Pee-wee!

10 comments:

  1. Fantastic collection here! I definitely remember the show; vaguely remember the cards/stickers. My nephew had a pull-string "talking" Pee-Wee doll sometime around 1990, I think.

    R.I.P. Paul/Pee-Wee

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  2. Okay, that's officially awesome. I never knew that card set existed. Seriously thinking about collecting it now.

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  3. Sad news. Although I wasn't a huge fan of the Pee-Wee's Big Adventure... it does provide a fond memory of me going to see it with a bunch of friends in middle school. This set is super cool. I have one of the oversized cards sitting in a box somewhere. That's the only reason I knew this set was ever produced.

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  4. First person I thought of was you when I saw of his passing. I watched pee wees playhouse as well. It was such an odd mixture of stuff but it had my attention growing up. Sad to see some of my childhood passing away the last few years. RIP!

    Great collection btw.

    Matt-SCC

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  5. Wow, had no idea those cards existed, and it's great to see you track them down. Those boxes are cool too! I very vaguely remember the action figures.

    I watched a lot of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and still love Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Big Top. Some classic lines, although my favorite is "I'm trying to use the phone!"

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  6. I learn a lot of bad news from the blogs. This is one of them. Too bad, always liked Pee-Wee.

    He was not only on an animated Star Wars show, he was the voice of the original droid pilot on Star Tours, from the 1980s until they re-did the ride in the late 2000s.

    I didn't know there were Sportflics variations like that. I should probably take a look at mine at some point.

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  7. I was sad to hear of his passing. Another part of my childhood gone. That autographed album is awesome!

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  8. A 33 base card set could have 171 total cards with variations??? Wow, good luck with the 2nd master set quest. Excellent collection, and RIP to Pee Wee.

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  9. As everyone else has already noted, this is an awesome collection. I never had the talking doll growing up, but did want one for the longest time. I'm given to understand that very few of them work anymore, so it seems kind of pointless to get one now.

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