When Paul Reubens created his iconic Pee-wee Herman character in the late ’70s, he drew on inspiration from his time at summer camp.
According to the actor/comedian’s biography on IMDB, Reubens “drew inspiration for Pee-Wee’s geeky behavior from a youth he had attended summer camp with, and derived his creation’s boyish voice from a character he played as a child actor.”
The character originated in a stage show in the ’70s and later led to a television show and two movies.
Details about the camp or Pee-wee’s real-life inspiration are scarce, but Reubens did talk about going to a summer camp with a circus program in this 2006 interview with A.V. Club.
Below is a video of The Pee-wee Herman Show on HBO in 1981.