The best children’s programming appeals to both adults and children. It is entertaining and/or educational to the children watching, but can also be slightly subversive to the adults who are watching with their children.
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse was on the air from 1986-1991. Paul Reubens played the titular character, Pee-Wee Herman. It was a child’s dream come true. There was wacky characters, cartoons and household objects coming to life.
As a kid, I remember finding the show amusing. But now as adult, not only do I recognize that some of the jokes were very over my head at the time,but I also recognize that several actors, including the late Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne has Pee Wee’s Playhouse listed on their resume.
There is an old saying about the road to perdition, that is paved with good intentions.
Master Sargent Ernest G. Bilko is on that road. While his methods are unusual, he tries to do what is right, but in his own way.
In the 1996 movie Sgt. Bilko, the titular character, played by Steve Martin, runs the motor pool at a Kansas army base. Based on the 1950’s television show starring Phil Silvers, Sgt. Bilko does not always run the most honest of operations. But his commanding officer, Colonel John T Hall (Dan Aykroyd) has bigger fish to fry. The army is closing bases and the Colonel is concerned that his base is next.
Enter Major Colin Thorn (the late Phil Hartman). Major Thorn’s job is to inspect the bases and report back to his superiors about which bases to keep open and which bases to close. When he hears that Sgt. Bilko is the man in charge of the motor pool, Major Thorn will do anything to get back at the man who he feels wronged him.
To be fair, I have never seen the original television program, so I cannot make any comparisons to the movie adaptation. But I can say that this movie is exceptionally funny. Sgt. Bilko has a good heart, but his scheming con artist ways always seem to trump doing what is right.