Pee-Wee's Playhouse

The Season 2-5 way Conky prints out the secret word.

At the beginning of each show, viewers and the Playhouse denizens were told the day's "Secret Word" and were instructed to "scream real loud" every time a character on the show said the word, which was given to Pee-wee by Conky, his trusted and beloved robot. In the first season, the Secret Word was printed on a sheet of paper and the first letter in the word capitalized when flashing on the screen. From the second season onward, the word was printed on a card. In the second and third seasons, the word flashed in all lowercase letters on the screen. In the fourth and fifth seasons, the word flashed in all capital letters. Immediately after receiving the Secret Word, Pee-wee would try to demonstrate the usage of the word by usually trying to trick someone in the playhouse into saying it, usually followed by Pee-wee accidentally saying the word himself. The word was always used continuously throughout the episode, and Pee-wee always said it right before he got onto his scooter at the end of the show. Mrs. Steve hated the Secret Word routine, as she hated anyone or anything childish; Pee-wee himself also objected to the Secret Word routine in four particular episodes, the first three of which he harshly demanded silence from his friends, and the last was when he asked everyone what the screaming was for in the final episode after looking at them funny. Additionally, after everyone screams to the Secret Word if Pee-wee says it, on some occasions he will shake his head in frustration and disbelief, including him rolling his eyes (as if the routine is getting on his nerves).

On several occasions, someone other than Pee-wee would perform this routine because Pee-wee was unable to do so himself, such as Miss Yvonne in the final episode Jambi made Pee-wee's wish that made a secret word as following rules everyone to "scream really really loud" and "make it proud" in Holding Hands Can Be a Cinch and Magic Screen in Pajama Party. In Sick? Did Somebody Say Sick?, Randy menacingly instructed everyone to "bark like a dog", rather than "scream real loud" because he made a rule against screaming when he played "Randy's Playhouse," and this made Pee-wee extremely angry but presumably relieved any parents of young viewers.


  • One of the criticisms that many parents have with Pee-Wee's Playhouse is that children would keep screaming anytime a character of the show said a secret word for the entire week, until another episode aired and another secret word was unveiled. Parents and older children would get irritated and disturbed, like Pee-wee did in Pee Wee Catches a Cold or Love that Story and Mrs. Steve did in Ice Cream Soup, at children screaming because they would want absolute quiet from them.
  • This routine would be referenced in the 1996 Power Rangers series Power Rangers Zeo (in the episode "The Puppet Blaster") with Captain Pete and his friend Puppetman.
  • The idea of using a "secret word" actually was created by world-famous comedian Groucho Marx for his show You Bet Your Life. The response, however, was different.
  • Some young and old viewers thought the secret word is called the "word of the day". Paul Reubens took advantage of this in a commercial when it was going to be shown on Canadian television, and some people still call the Secret Word the "word of the day".[1]
  • In Restaurant, Pee-wee says the secret word ("day") when explaining the instructions, but no one screams.
  • None of the secret words in the series are spelled with a J, Q, or X.
  • The letter K is only used in secret word for the first season of the show (3 episodes).
  • The number of times the secret word flashes on screen can range from 2 to 9, but the most average number is 3 or 4 times.

Typography trivia[]

  • The way Conky prints out the secret word:
    • In Season 1, when Conky prints out the secret word on a paper, the typeface for the word is Clearface, letterpressed.
    • In Seasons 2-5, when Conky prints out the secret word on card stock, the word is set to the classic version of Helvetica.
      • For most of Season 4, the secret word is printed out in a somewhat square card stock set to the classic Helvetica Bold.
  • The secret word flashing on screen:
    • In Season 1, the secret word flashing is set to the font either Clearface or Korinna. The former is used most times for the season (8 episodes).
    • In Seasons 2-5, the secret word flashing is set to the font Times New Roman, with the exception of the first three Season 2 episodes, as well as the Christmas Special.
      • "Open House" and "Puppy in the Playhouse" have the flashing secret word set to the Korinna font, while "Store" uses the font Century.
      • The Christmas Special, on the other hand, has the flashing secret word set to Cooper Black.
    • In the remastered version, all the flashing secret words are set to the font Aldine 721.

Characters other than Pee-wee who either retrieved the secret word or explains what to do whenever anyone says the secret word[]

  • In "Monster In The Playhouse", Pee-wee obtains the secret word ("look") without saying anything, while Conky explains the secret word rules.
  • In "Puppy In The Playhouse", Conky tells us that today's secret word is "over", and then Pee-wee explains the secret word rules.
  • In "School", Pee-wee asks if one of the Playhouse Gang kids can get the secret word from Conky. Rapunzel volunteers, and then tells us that today's secret word is "easy". Pee-wee thanks her, and then explains the secret word rules.
  • In "Pajama Party", while Pee-wee changes into his PJ's, he asks Magic Screen to show the viewers what today's secret word is ("watch").
  • In "Sick? Did Somebody Say Sick?", while Pee-wee goes grocery shopping, Randy decides to takeover as the host of the show. He shows us that today's secret word is "go", but changes the secret word rules that whenever anyone says the secret word, everyone must bark like a dog, as "suggested" by Roosevelt.
  • In "Accidental Playhouse", Mrs. Rene, who is in the midst of a Picturephone call, shows us that today's secret word is "place".
  • In "Camping Out", Pee-wee asks Globey to show the viewers what today's secret word. He tries to retrieve the secret word from Conky, only to realize he's too short to reach, so Conky helps him out. After explaining that today's secret word is "show" and what we need to do whenever anyone says the secret word, he asks Pee-wee to guess what today's secret word is.
  • In the series finale "Playhouse for Sale", while Pee-wee is out of the house for a while, Miss Yvonne receives the secret word from Conky, which, of course, is "word".



  • [2] by producer SporadicX2


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