East L.A. In The (Play)House: Watch Los Lobos Hang With Pee-Wee Herman In 1987

Co-founders David Hidalgo, Louie Perez and Conrad Lozano appeared on the Pee-wee-hosted episode of the NBC series.

By Scott Bernstein Aug 3, 2023 8:34 am PDT

Paul Reubens, the actor best known for creating and embodying the peerless Pee-wee Herman character, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 70. Pee-wee’s heyday came from 1985, when he Reubens starred in the film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, through 1991 — the year his Emmy Award-winning Pee-wee’s Playhouse children’s television series ended after five seasons on CBS.

Herman was a big music fan and Reubens incorporated musicians into his movies and films. So the character was a fine choice to serve as a host for a 1987 episode of Friday Night Videos.

Friday Night Videos ran on NBC from 1983 until 2002. Created by Dick Ebersol, the show was the network’s chance to take advantage of music videos only being available for cable subscribers whose providers offered MTV. In 1983 some areas weren’t serviced by cable televison and MTV wasn’t broadcast by all providers.

Pee-wee Herman hosted Friday Night Videos on July 3, 1987. Members of East Los Angeles-based band Los Lobos were among Herman’s guest on the episode. David Hidalgo, Louie Perez and Conrad Lozano each represented Los Lobos on Friday Night Videos. The three co-founders of a group formed in 1973 took turns sitting on Chairry, the animated bluish-green armchair featured on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse that Reubens brought to the late-night television show.

Another Pee-Wee’s Playhouse element Reubens incorporated on Friday Night Videos was the use of a “secret word.” Los Lobos and Chairry went nuts when Herman said “video.” The host then introduced the band’s visual for “La Bamba,” a cover of the Mexican folk song popularized by Ritchie Valens that scored Los Lobos their first number one single.

See Los Lobos and Pee-wee Herman’s appearance on Friday Night Videos below:

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