Paul Reubens: Pulling For Pee Wee

On July 26, 1991, Paul Reubens, vacationing at his parents' home in Sarasota, Florida, was snared in a police sting operation and charged with public self-gratification (during a showing of the X-rated film, Nancy Nurse at an adult theater).

Although the county sealed all legal papers relating to the actor's arrest and agreed not to press charges (in exchange for which Reubens' paid a small fine and produced a 30 second public service announcement for the Partnership For Drug-Free America), the fallout was substantial.

CBS dropped his hit show "Pee Wee's Playhouse," Pee Wee merchandise was removed from store shelves, and Reubens' star disappeared from sight, both metaphorically and literally (it was erased from Hollywood Boulevard). Reubens also -- not surprisingly -- became the butt of a million punchlines...

Although the scandal marked the demise of Pee-Wee Herman, Reubens appeared in character for one last time during that fall's MTV Video Music Awards. The actor -- welcomed with a standing ovation -- bounded onto stage and gazed out at the enthusiastic crowd. His opening line? "Heard any good jokes lately?"

[Reubens received 15,000 supportive letters during his ordeal and became the subject of several T-shirts, among them a classic which read: "I'm Pulling for Pee Wee."]

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