Today marks the 25th anniversary of Pee-wee Herman’s arrest for exposing himself inside a XXX theater in Florida. So celebrate accordingly.
Pee-wee--actually Paul Reubens--was collared on July 26, 1991 after an undercover cop spotted him twice exposing himself inside the South Trail Cinema, Sarasota County’s only adult theater.
Seen above, Reubens was arrested on a sexual exposure charge. The star of “Pee-wee's Playhouse,” a graduate of Sarasota High School, was in town visiting his parents.
Reubens pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor count and was sentenced to community service and ordered to pay a small fine. The professional fallout was more severe: CBS ceased airing his show on Saturday mornings, Pee-wee Herman toys were removed from store shelves, and the comedian became a punch line for countless bad jokes.
But Reubens was not without his defenders. Members of the public questioned the priorities of Sarasota cops, while some celebrities issued statements in support of Reubens. "Whatever he may have done," Bill Cosby told People magazine, "he hasn't done that to children."
Seen below, the South Trail Cinema--which was flanked by a Red Lobster and the Dutch Valley family restaurant--was demolished a few years after Reubens’s arrest.
Over the years, reports have differed as to whether Reubens, 38 at the time, was pleasuring himself during a showing of “Nurse Nancy” or “Catalina Tiger Shark.”