Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is an embarrassment of riches. It might even be director Tim Burton’s finest film. But among its most beloved moments — up there with Amazing Larry’s new hair, that epic studio lot chase finale, and the basement at the Alamo — is this: Large Marge, the ghost trucker who gives our man-child hero a terrifying ride, and whose stop motion-assisted corpse reveal has traumatized generation after generation. Well, it’s her birthday.
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) December 5, 2020
The news was shared by Pee-wee himself — or, rather, star Paul Reubens, in character — on Twitter, with a photo that shows the memorial in a truck stop populated by those who remember her well. Born on December 5, 1937, she turns 83 — or she would have had she not met a grisly end on January 11, 1974, at only 37.
And with that news, a lot of Pee-wee fans chimed in to pay tribute to one of cinema’s great one-scene wonders.
Pour one out for Large Marge, would have been 83 today pic.twitter.com/v1ED2Sfj8T
— Fisher ⚉ (@StupidMassive) December 5, 2020
Did you all know I share a bday with Large Marge?? Happy birthday to her! pic.twitter.com/tSv8b6NGO0
— Jolly Old Saint Nikki-las (@nikkicthatsme) December 5, 2020
Large Marge was born on this date…..RIP It's still the worst accident anyone has ever seen in that area. It's reported to sound like a garbage truck dropped off the Empire State Building. pic.twitter.com/LcTJkoGiAf
— Mole Man Show (@molemanshow) December 5, 2020
YES it’s my birthday but shout out to the Queen, Large Marge. 🥳🥰 https://t.co/na41YW0fH4
— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) December 5, 2020
RIP Large Marge
I heard it was a night just like tonight… https://t.co/9G0l1S2jWi
— sunchick #persist 🌞☘️🗽#BLM she/her (@sunchick8) December 5, 2020
Some noticed that 37 seems pretty young.
Wait, Large Marge was only supposed to be 37?!?! https://t.co/pb2Xcg1elm
— Sean O'Connor (@seanoconnz) December 5, 2020
just occurring to me that Large Marge was supposed to be in her 30s https://t.co/gtUT7AViCz
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) December 5, 2020
And some remembered the scene scarring them for life.
On this day of remembrance, I'm not gonna lie.
The Large Marge scene in PeeWee's big adventure fucked me up back in the day.
RIP Large Marge , RIP pic.twitter.com/BFx8vit6Ke
— Schrödinger cat's toy (@IncogBrian) December 5, 2020
Large Marge was played by actress Alice Nunn, who was actually ten years her senior and who appeared in movies like Mommie Dearest and Who’s That Girl as well as shows like Murder, She Wrote, Happy Days, and WKRP in Cincinnati. She died in 1988, three years after Adventure came out. Also, fun fact: Burton, who gave it a loving handmade quality, only directed it because the film he was going to make as his debut, the dark comedy After Hours, wound up being helmed by Martin Scorsese. So you can thank Scorsese for Pee-wee’s finest film being as great as it is.