The wife and I recently introduced our daughter to Pee-Wee's Playhouse, which is available on DVD in two boxed sets (see here and here). She's enjoyed the episodes she's seen thus far and it's always a treat for a parent to see something they remembered from childhood (or, in this case, my years of early adult immaturity) afresh through a child's eyes.
In many ways, Pee-Wee's Playhouse was ahead of its time. When it came out, it was one-of-a-kind; now, you can see its influence on numerous cartoon and live action programs on various children's networks. As such, there was a degree of familiarity for her in the craziness in the Playhouse. She readily accepted cowboys and sea captains showing up to play with a grown-up kid in a suit and bowtie. She had no issues with a talking chair or a genie in a jeweled box. The picture phone conversations Pee-Wee had with his friends? Just like video instant messaging on the computer. Nothing there she couldn't grasp or accept.
When the King of Cartoons arrives midway through each episode, however, she'd get a look on her face like the dog does when I meow at him during moments of boredom. The King comes to the Playhouse to show old cartoons; it's not what he's showing that perplexes my daughter, but how.
He announces, "Let the cartoon begin!" and starts a film projector. She doesn't get that. What's film? Where's his DVD player or, if he's really a king, his digital cable with "On Demand" cartoons? If these cartoons are so old, why aren't they on VHS tapes like the most antique movies we have in our house? She has trouble believing that film projectors once existed in our lives. The fact that Mommy and Daddy remember them from classroom days past means that we must be as ancient as Pee-Wee's friend Pterry the Pterodactyl or the family of miniature dinosaurs who live in the Playhouse wall.