The morning after my day with Reubens, I hunt down his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On a shabby stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, across the street from a check-cashing place and right by Maya Shoes (“The Highest Heel in Town”) and a Lady Love boutique, I find it. It says “Pee-wee Herman” on it, not “Paul Reubens.”
Standing a few yards off to the side, I watch a steady succession of tourists come upon it. “Pee-wee Herman! Oh, shit! Hell, yes!” says one thirtysomething woman. A minute later, a couple who had stopped a few stars away to snap a picture of their toddler with Dr. Seuss’s plaque now repeat the photo op with Pee-wee’s.
Next, a couple of teenage girls approach the star, and one of them starts jumping up and down on it, saying, “Pee-wee! Pee-wee! I love Pee-wee!” (Given her obvious youth, I can only assume she became a fan through the DVDs or by watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse when it ran a few years back on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.) Then, as she waits with obvious impatience for her friend to ready the camera, she stands back and reverentially regards the star. There’s a little bit of schmutz on the “Herman,” and with her pink-sandaled right foot, she gingerly tries to clean it off.