If you’re a die-hard fan of 90s TV, you’re probably very familiar with a certain Nickelodeon sitcom about a group of quirky teenage campers and their overbearing, dim-witted counselor. Airing from July 4, 1991, to September 12, 1992, the series has gained a cult following in the decades since its release, even though it only had 26 episodes.
In this blog, we’ll give newcomers a quick intro to this classic series, as well as updates on where the cast members have taken their careers since the show ended. For committed fans, this is about to be a walk down memory lane!
The series was created by Steve Slavkin and produced by Propaganda Films, a production company that went on to work with some of the greatest cult filmmakers of the last few decades.
Founded in 1986, Propaganda has put out iconic pieces created by some of the most acclaimed directors in the world, a notable list of who’s who in Hollywood. They’ve also produced countless music videos, primarily throughout the late 80s and early 90s.
Creator Steve Slavkin got the green light from Nickelodeon to create the show after he wrote a book of the same name with co-writer Thomas Hill. The book was meant to focus on the harsh environment that kids undergo at summer camp. Using humor to talk about pain? We’re here for it.
Hill and Slavkin wrote about the way that kids are sent off to camp by their parents in the hopes of building their character and giving them unforgettable experiences. The result, the authors concluded, is usually far different—kids get bullied at camp, they’re given demeaning nicknames, and their counselors lord it over them for months.
After the book became a major success, it was followed by a promotional event in Central Park in the summer of 1986. During the event, kids came out to Loeb Boathouse in the park and participated in a “summer camp” of sorts. So, it seems like the book (and the series that followed) didn’t do much to scare kids away from summer camp!
If you’ve never seen the series, you might be wondering why anyone would be saluting shorts. We can explain: the title refers to a prank that the campers play on each other throughout the series.
The gist of the prank is simple: some of the kids gang up on a camper, steal his boxers, and attach them to the camp flagpole. The boxers are then raised to the top of the flagpole and saluted by the campers. The pilot episode sees the show’s lead character getting his shorts saluted by other campers, starting a trend that continues throughout the series.
While getting your boxers stolen and saluted by other kids might sound outlandish if you’ve never been to summer camp, you know how realistic this portrayal of camp life is if you ever lived it. Kids at summer camp are wild, and the boxer-stealing prank depicted in the show is mild compared to some of the antics that kids get up to at camp.
The series is remembered by millions of 90s kids for its iconic theme song, which is sung by the cast of the show. The song is, to this day, pretty hilarious, and it showcases the quirkiness and lovability of the show’s cast of kid characters.
In the intro to each episode of the series, the kids sing the theme song, accompanied by their begrudging counselor on an upright piano. At one point, one particularly memorable camper changes the line “I hope we never part” to “It makes me wanna fart,” which became the most often-quoted lyric in the entire song... much to the chagrin of the cast.
According to the series’ cast members, fans still come up and sing the song while passing on the street all the time. One cast member told Yahoo News that the legacy of the show follows him throughout his life. However, many people don’t automatically pin him as a famous actor. These pedestrians usually assume they were old schoolmates from a time long past.
If you’re unfamiliar with the series, we’re here to get you acquainted with its lovable cast of characters:
You may have also seen him in major releases from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and more. He appeared in every single episode of the series while it was airing, making him one of the most consistent performers in the cast.
In addition to the main characters, the series was made even better by the cast of campers at Camp Anawanna. These included the love interest of the kids’ counselor, a child prodigy, a nature lover, a tomboy, and the obligatory stuck-up valley girl character.
The aforementioned love interest sadly passed away on December 22, 2014, at the age of 51. Prior to her passing, she made numerous appearances in films and TV series, primarily serving as a voice actor for kids’ media. Her voice can be heard in numerous Cartoon Network productions, and she also cameoed in some of the most beloved TV series of the 90s and 2000s.
The show’s resident kid genius ended up earning a Young Artist Award nomination for his role in the show. He’s now 43 years old and continues acting, but he primarily focuses his energy on activism.
The actor founded his own non-profit organization back in 2011, a group that aims to pair volunteers with people in need via their website. He’s also an advocate for disabled individuals.
The stuck-up Valley Girl currently works as an attorney and considers herself a “former actress.” After appearing in nearly every episode of the show, she went on to act in several other Nickelodeon productions throughout the 90s. She also appeared in TV commercials for some pretty big companies, including Coke, Skittles, and more.
The tomboy character in the cast went on to attend college at Loyola University before continuing her acting career as an adult. She appeared in several other 90s live-action teen shows, and she’s recently served as a narrator for a notable documentary.
The show’s nature-loving side character has essentially left the film and TV world. She ended up with one more acting role after the series ended but then stopped taking jobs to focus on academics.
She graduated from Colorado College for undergrad, then attended Stanford University for her master’s degree. She’s now working for a non-profit, continuing the trend of the show’s cast members moving towards activism.
We’ve got a t-shirt in our online store that you’ll want to wear every single day, even when you’re not at camp.
Featuring the signature logo from Camp Anawanna, plus the lyric, “We Hold You in Our Hearts,” this is the quintessential piece of fan apparel for anyone who loves the show. It’s available in gray, tan, yellow, and white and runs in sizes from small to 3XL, so campers of all shapes and sizes can feel right at home while wearing the tee!
If you’re always on the lookout for hilarious apparel to add to your wardrobe, we’ve got you covered. At Famous IRL, we have the best hilarious merch inspired by your favorite shows, films, and more, and everything is premium quality. There’s something for everybody, from fans of classic sitcoms to sci-fi fanatics and everything in between.