Before height of Pee-wee fame, Paul Reubens was in ‘Meatballs Part II’

Before he became a household name with his Pee-wee Herman character, Paul Reubens played a summer camp bus driver in Meatballs Part II.

The 1984 movie, a sequel to the 1979 summer camp classic in name only, features Reubens wearing an aviator hat in the opening scene driving a bus full of rowdy kids to Camp Sasquatch. After endangering the campers by leaving the wheel to try and settle the campers down, he races a kid in a motorized wheelchair but somehow manages to get the campers to camp in one piece.

“Albert, when you were born were your parents expecting children?” a counselor named Jamie (Archie Hahn) asks him during their harrowing bus ride.

Albert shows up again as part of a bizarre (so much about this movie is) plot to save the camp that involves him dressing up like a Hara Krishna to trick the folks from the military camp, Camp Patton, across the lake.

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He shows up again with the aviator hat on again, as the DJ at the camp dance, spinning records the kids can “boogie” to and then makes a final appearance as a referee in the winner-take-all boxing match Camp Sasquatch has against Camp Patton.

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While Reubens had already created his Pee-Wee Herman character – inspired by someone he met at summer campMeatballs Part II came out a year before Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and two years before the Pee-wee’s Playhouse television series.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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