From a lineup of “eligible bachelors,” she chose handsome bachelor number one, Rodney Alcala.

But at that very moment, he was keeping a deadly secret: he was an unrepentant serial killer.

“You couldn’t talk to the judges and you had to be escorted if you had to go to the bathroom,” Reubens recalled.

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“You were there with five shows’ worth of contestants — it was like a zoo,” Reubens said.

“You’d be there with all these insane people who had driven across the country or taken a bus across the country for their shot at fame.” For his first “Gong Show” outing in 1977, Reubens delivered a comedy routine about radio show sound effects with another actor-comedian, Charlotte Mc Ginnis, a friend from his days studying theater at Boston University. After they won, Reubens and Mc Ginnis took out a full-page ad in . I fully expected my life was going to change and my career would take off,” Reubens said.

In the late 1970s, Chuck Barris was a patron of the arts to starving artists like Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman.

Reubens expressed his affection for the producer, who died on Tuesday at 87, as he recalled his 14 appearances on Barris’ late 1970s hit “The Gong Show.” Before that, he appeared three times as a contestant — in his nerdy Herman persona — on Barris’ “The Dating Game.” Reubens received AFTRA scale payments, $500 in prize money if he won on “Gong Show,” and even residuals for reruns.

“I think we got one phone call and we had a meeting with a manager.” Having “Gong Show” on his resume didn’t land him much in the way of paying gigs.

But the “Dating Game” appearances (Reubens thinks it was 1976) helped him hone the Herman character that would be his springboard to fame.In an exclusive clip from the ID movie (above), Alcala tries to lure two women back to his home — even referencing his appearance on the show in an effort to impress them.But the come-on doesn’t work, triggering a profane breakdown in private. Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.The money helped him focus on his craft as an actor and comedian with the Groundlings improv group.“I’ve told people for years that Chuck Barris supported a lot of struggling artists,” Reubens told “I didn’t have to have a second job because of ‘The Gong Show’ for a couple of years.” In truth, contestants weren’t supposed to make repeat visits to “Gong Show.” Reubens had to disguise himself in his various acts lest the show run afoul of the FCC rules that govern game shows following the quiz show scandals of the early 1960s.The show would plow through five episodes in a day.