Jambi the Genie is a mystical, sarcastic blue-skinned genie featured on the CBS Saturday morning children’s program PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE (1986-91).
Jambi lives in a purple box with two jewel-studded doors that sits on a tabletop inside Pee Wee Herman’s playhouse. Jambi has blue skin and wears a red turban but all the audience ever sees is his head which floats inside the box bathed in a glow of blue light.
From time to time, Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens), the owner of the Playhouse will need Jambi’s help and so the generous genie appears to do Pee Wee’s bidding.
Once, when a jabbering green monster entered Pee Wee’s playhouse, Chairy (a talking chair) said, “What’s he saying, Pee Wee?” Pee Wee replied, “I wish I knew.” Suddenly the doors of Jambi’s jewel covered box opened.
“Wish? Did somebody say wish?” asked Jambi the Genie who then proclaimed, “Monster, Monster, I command, speak so we can understand. Now everyone repeat after me. Meka leka hi, meka hiney ho!” A halo of light filled the room and everyone could understand the monster’s language.
The deed done, Jambi said “The wish is granted. Long live Jambi” and the doors to his box closed.
When Miss Yvonne’s house was being painted and she asks to stay over with Pee Wee at his playhouse. Jambi the Genie comes to the rescue when he uses his magic powers to paint Miss Yvonne’s house lickety-split so Pee Wee can get back to living a normal life with out the aggravation of Miss Yvonne who turns out to be a very bad house guest.
Another time, Pee-wee asks Jambi to grant Cowboy Curtis some new footwear. Before granting the wish, Jambi raises an eyebrow and says, “You know what they say about big feet…” (The answer: “Big boots!”)
Most of the time, Jambi is the one who helps out Pee Wee, but occasionally Pee Wee comes to Jambi’s rescue. Once Jambi contracted a disease called “Mecca Lecca Hi Mecca Heinyitis!” Concerned, for Jambi’s health, Pee Wee calls for a “genieologist” named Dr. Jinga-Janga whose bedside was even wackier than Jambi.
NOTE: Before the 1986 TV series, John Paragon who played the role of Jambi the Genie appeared in a more adult-oriented version of 60-minute special called THE PEE WEE HERMAN SHOW that aired on the cable channel HBO in 1981. The material on the program was a bit more racy than the latter children’s show which soon became an award-wining children’s show. The show was ranked #10 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Top Cult Shows Ever!” (30 May 2004 issue).
Jambi the Genie
c/o Purple Box
Pee Wee;s Playhouse