Salute Your Case

Hey Cassettes! Here are the show notes that we wrote while researching our episode on Salute Your Shorts.

If you’re unfamiliar, Salute Your Shorts was a live-action Nickelodeon show in the early 1990s. It followed a group of young kids and their shenanigans at summer camp.

A brief history 

  • Salute Your Shorts was a Nickelodeon TV show that aired from 1991-1992
    • It was based on a book called “Salute Your Shorts: Life at Summer Camp,” written by Steve Slavkin and Thomas Hill
      • Slavkin went on to write the show as well, after he pitched the idea to Nickelodeon; They were looking for kid-centric show ideas for the network
      • The book and the show don’t have a lot of overlap; essentially the only similarity is the title and the theme of going to summer camp
    • Here’s a quote from The A/V Club “it was a show built on characters, ostensible stereotypes that, through clever writing and earnest performances, were able to (mostly) transcend their quirks to offer an identifiable portrait of adolescence”
    • According to The Los Angeles Times, it originally aired on July 4th, 1991
    • The show lasted for two seasons, each with 13 episodes, and its final air date was June 30th, 1992
    • After Nickelodeon green-lit a pilot episode, they sat on the pilot for over a year. By the time the show was picked up, the kids were too old to play the parts and had to be re-cast. All of the actors had to re-audition with a couple of them getting cast in the regular show
    • The theme song
      • The theme song was written by Ed Alton who also composed theme songs for Head of the Class, The Single Guy, Suddenly Susan, Nikki, My Boys, and Whitney
      • It’s the only theme song in history with the word “fart”
        • Robin’s brother got in trouble in school for singing it
      • A lot of the acting in the theme song was improved by the kids
    • The show was cancelled mostly for logistical reasons, the studio wanted to relocate the kids after two seasons and most of them were already settled in Los Angeles where the show was being filmed on location
    • Actors & Guest Stars
      • When Slavkin was tasked with casting the show, he wanted kids that seemed as natural as possible. There wasn’t much hair or make-up on the set, and when one of the actresses had to get braces, Slavkin wrote it into the show
        • A lot of the kids had no previous acting experience
      • The show starred:
        • Kirk Bailey as camp counselor “Ug” Lee
          • Kevin “Ug” Lee is the main counselor and the only recurring adult on the show. In the first episode, Donkleylips starts the chante “UG-LEE” with the other campers which is where his nickname comes from
          • Kirk Bailey has done a lot of voice work since the show, such as additional voices for Bumblebee, Frozen, and Big Hero 6
        • Danny Cooksey as Bobby Budnick
          • Budnick starts out as the camp bully, picking on the new kid in the first episodes of the show, though he matures a little more over time
          • Danny Cooksey was in other Nickelodeon titles throughout the 90s. He did an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark, but his crowning achievement as an actor was when he played “Stoop Kid” in Hey Arnold
        • Michael Bower as Eddie “Donkeylips” Gelfin
          • Donkeylips is best friends with Budnick, but he’s more like his lackey; He’s known as being one of the bullies, and for being a smelly camper
          • Michael Bower was one of the original actors in the first version of the pilot episode, and had to re-audition for the role
          • Before Salute Your Shorts, he had roles in The Wonder Years and Doogie Houser
        • Venus DeMilo as Telly Radford
          • Telly is the “tomboy” of the girls’ bunk. She’s less shallow than Dina, often clashing with her about the importance of fashion and good looks
          • Venus DeMilo went on to have roles in Family Matters, Sister Sister, Smart Guy, and The Bold and the Beautiful
        • Megan Berwick as Z Z Ziff
          • Z Z is the resident sweet girl, always kind to the other campers despite what they do to her
          • Berwick didn’t do much acting after the show, though she was in a TV movie called, “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom”
        • Tim (or Trevor) Eyster as Eugene “Sponge” Harris
          • Sponge was the camper known for absorbing information (you know, like a sponge)
            • He’s bullied by the Budnick and Donkeylips, though he becomes friends with them as the series progresses
          • Tim Eyster changed his name to Trevor and has acted before and after the show; his last credit was a short in 2015
        • Heidi Lucas as Dina Alexander
          • Dina is the “girly” girl in the camp, preferring to do nails than play sports; she’s also known for being rich
          • Heidi Lucas has acted in a few things since the show, though her last IMDB credit is from 1996. She was on a science fiction show called Hypernauts
        • Erik MacArthur as Michael Stein
          • Michael is a character that only appears in the first season of the show. He is the main focus of many of the episodes in the first season like “Michael Comes to Camp,” “Brownies for Thud Mackie”
          • Michael Stein’s last acting credit was in 2007; he’s done bit parts since the show
        • Blake Soper as Ronnie Foster Pinsky
          • At the beginning of season 2, Michael has contracted chicken pox and will not be returning to camp. In his place, a scheming ans street-smart character named Pinsky is intro
          • He also was Joey the Rat on Boy Meets World
        • Steve Slavkin as Dr. Kahn
          • The creator of the show lent his voice to play the unseen Dr. Kahn, to fill up space on the show. Slavkin says he made up most of his lines on the spot and was just meant to fill space between shots
        • Christine Kavanaugh
          • The late actress that voiced Chuckie and Oblina played Ug’s girlfriend Mona
  • Favorite Episodes
    • The Ghost Story
      • Zeke the Plumber is arguably the most famous episode of the show
    • The Radio Call-in Contest
      • In this episode, Sponge gets help from other campers so he can answer the 1000$ question on a radio call-in contest
    • Mail Carrier Mona
      • When Ug’s girlfriend dumps him, the kids in camp set him up with Mona the mail carrier
    • Park Ranger Mona
      • Mona returns in this episode and is now a park ranger. Ug has to improve the camp to make sure they pass inspection
    • Budnick Loves Dina
      • In this two-part episode, Budnick falls for Dina and they begin to date

Fun Facts

    • No one really knows for sure what an awful waffle is–they never actually do it in the show. It involves maple syrup and a tennis racket, but that’s all we know!
    • They’re making a documentary about Salute Your Shorts, it’s in pre-production! We’ll be sure to let everyone know about it once it comes out!
    • The way the show was shot was groundbreaking
      • In “Slimed, an oral history of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age,” producer Courtney Conte was quoted in saying that Slavkin had directors push the show in terms of directorial style. It was a one-camera show that was shot on location, versus many other kids shows of the time which were shot on sound stages with laugh tracks
      • It was also groundbreaking that the show was scored; generally the music in the show was classical and was added to scenes to increase suspense or excitement
        • The guitar rifs in some episodes were performed by Danny Cooksey’s band
      • The Show was shot at Franklin Canyon Park, and Franklin lake which is the same place that some scenes of the Andy Griffith show was shot!
        • AND, it was shot at a real camp
    • Danny Cooksey had Michael Bower and Kirk Bailey as groomsmen in their wedding
    • Donkeylips was originally the bully for the show, but after the year between the pilot and the show started filming, Danny Cooksey had gone through a growth spurt and was changed to be the camp bully
    • Even though the show stopped airing new episodes in 1992, it continued to be one of the most popular on the network. It was among the top 15 highest-rated, regularly scheduled basic-cable series in 1996 (four years after it ended)

The Case of Summer Movies

It’s officially summer! It’s the season of cook-outs, family reunions, patriotic holidays, and childhood nostalgia. This week, we each chose a movie we watch every summer and talked about why it’s a quintessential summer movie.


Adam started off the episode with the 1980 classic Caddyshack!


  • Although the main plot seems to slip as the film goes on, Caddyshack initially follows Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe), a teen caddy at the high-end Bushwood Country Club. Eager for money to pay for college, Noonan attempts to gain votes for a college scholarship reserved for caddies by volunteering to caddy for a prominent club member Elihu Smails (Ted Knight). As the stressful Caddy Day golf tournament approaches, Noonan seeks advice from wealthy golf guru Ty Webb (Chevy Chase). Meanwhile, Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) arrives and starts to flaunt his money and causes big trouble for the club owner.

Fun Facts

  • This was Harold Ramis’ directorial debut and is considered to be an accidental hit by those who made it
  • Referred to as “Animal House on a Golf Course,” Caddyshack is an over the top comedy about the Bushwood Country Club
  • The movie was originally going to be more about Michael O’Keefe’s character Danny Noonan and his fellow caddies. However, throughout a ridiculously difficult shoot it turned into an adult comedy with no significant plot.
    • Gopher was added last minute to create some kind of plot that would tie scenes together.
  • According to actors and crew there were parties almost every night that would rival those of rock stars. The cast of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray didn’t make things any easier either. They were constantly goofing around and ended up ad-libbing a large amount of the movie.
    • Examples of this include:
      • Cinderella story
      • Party scene
      • Ugliest hat
    • Dangerfield thought he was doing terribly during scenes, as no one was breaking character to laugh. Being a stand up comedian, he was used to laughs

Favorite Moments

  • “Doodie” Pool scene with Jaws theme
  • Destroying the yacht
  • Carl Spackler the grounds keeper, blowing up the course and winning the game for Al.


Marci brought us back to camp with Heavy Weights (1995)


  • Gerry Garner comes home from the last day of school (The True beginning to summer!) He is surprised to find that his parents have decided to send him to camp named Camp Hope. Not just any camp though- in Gerry’s words a “Fat Camp”. When he arrives all the campers soon find out that this year will not be the same as years past.  The owners have gone bankrupt and sold the camp to Tony Perkis (Ben Stiller) who is a fitness junkie.
  • Screenplay written and produced by Judd Apatow
    • Known now for Superbad, Anchorman, and Knocked Up


  • Marci believes the former Chipmunks kid was a real entrepreneur. He takes away the kids candy by snitching on them but then proceeds to charge them to sneak candy into a tree trunk in the woods.
  • Who would not want to jump on an awesome air filled bag named “The Blob” into the water?
  • The dance scene was perfect- just as it seemed to be everywhere- girls on one side, guys on the other.
  • One of the funniest lines is when Tony tells Josh (Shaun Weiss from Mighty Ducks) to promptly get off the scale when he is weighed on camera during the second weigh in.
  • Even though this movie has mixed reviews because it seems to have mixed messages we have loved it for many reasons.  One of the main messages Marci takes is that you should take control of your own lives.

Fun Facts

  • The original camp owners were played by Ben Stiller’s parents: Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara.
  • The boy that played Gerry (Aaron Schwartz) ended up breaking his arm during the food fight scene and had to be taken to the hospital.  In order to continue shooting the crew covered his stand-in’s face with chocolate syrup.
  • This was basically the beginning of Ben Stiller’s Dodgeball character
    • Since Heavyweights did not fare well at the box office he thought nobody had seen it and borrowed mannerisms and things from the Tony Perkis character.  He then uses them for his character White Goodman in Dodgeball.
  • Ben Stiller did not hang out with the kids during filming which may have helped to contribute to his villainous nature in the movie.
  • 20 Mile Hike
    • The story that Tony tells the boys during this hike is actually a mixture of the myths of Icarus and Sisyphus. Sisyphus was a Greek king who tricked the gods. When he died the gods created a hell for him where he was forced to push a boulder up a hill forever.  Every time just before he reaches the top of the hill the boulder rolls back down and he has to start over. Icarus was a young man who attempted to escape an island with his father, Daedalus.  They made wings out of feathers and wax. Even though his father warned him not to, Icarus flew too close to the sun, his wings melted and he perished upon the fall down.


  • “Don’t put Twinkies on your pizza”- Roy (Kenan Thompson) telling Pat Finley what they learned after the big party


Robin finished up the episode with Field of Dreams (1989)

  • Robin started hers off with an excerpt from the poem, “Green Fields of the Mind” by A Bartlett Giamatti
    • “[Baseball] breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall all alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
  • She also quoted an article about poetry in baseball
    • In a Thought.Co article by Bob Holdman and Margery Synder, they say, “Baseball is the most literary of sports, bursting with metaphor, image, and rhythm.” Baseball is considered to be America’s official pastime, though its popularity has dwindled in recent years. This sport has a rich history filled with nostalgia, an activity played in backyards and on small town fields among family and friends for at least 150 years
  • Shoe-less Joe
    • It’s not a surprise, then that Field of Dreams was a success. Initially the film was to be named the same as the book by W.P. Kinsella, “Shoeless Joe,” but the producers were afraid that audiences would be confused as to what it was about. Kinsella was fine with the change because his original title for the book was “The Dream Field”
  • Synopsis

    • Ray, a farmer in Iowa hears a voice one night as he tends to his fields of corn. “If you build it, he will come.” When Ray is confused, the voice seems to give him a vision of a baseball field. Taunted by fellow farmers and other townspeople, Ray mows down his corn and builds a baseball field. He believes that the ghost of his father’s hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson, will appear. Sure enough, Jackson does appear. Soon, the rest of the 1919 White Sox appear in Ray’s field, only visible to him and his family.
    • Ray believes he built the field so that others could fulfill their baseball dreams, but he finds there’s something there for him too.
  • The Black Sox Scandal 

    • Now, to understand why these particular players appear on the field, you should know a little about The Black Sox Scandal of 1919
        • Back in 1919, baseball players were not paid as well as they are today. Many of them found it difficult to sustain a living off of being a player. The Chicago White Sox first baseman conspired with some gamblers and agreed to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds for $100,000.00. After the Sox lost the first few games, gamblers weren’t paying out the amounts promised and so they called off the fix and decided to win the series once and for all. However, the gamblers threatened their families and the White Sox lost the World Series to the Reds.
        • When authorities started investigating the series, the players (including Shoeless Joe) confessed to taking the money
          • Shoeless Joe had only taken 5k from his teammates
        • Because of the suspicious disappearance of evidence, the players walked away free from the court. But, the commissioner of baseball did not let them off so easily. All eight players were banned from baseball for the rest of their lives, including Buck Weaver who dropped out of the fix before it started and Shoeless Joe who batted just as well during the series as he had all season. Shoeless Joe also claimed he was an unwilling participant and tried to tip off the owner of the fix.
        • Shoeless Joe was a hero to many children and the scandal brought about the famous cry, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”
  • Fun Facts

    • In Field of Dreams, Ray visits a reclusive author named Terence Mann. In the novel, the author was JD Salinger. Kinsella purposely used the name Kinsella for the title character because Salinger had also written pieces with characters of that name. The purpose was for it to seem that one of his own characters had come to knock on his door and take him to a baseball game.
      • James Earl Jones took the part of Mann after his wife was mesmerized by the famous “people will come, Ray” speech
      • No one outside of the cast and crew knows for certain who’s voice is used as THE voice, though the common belief is that it was Ray Liotta who played Shoeless Joe
    •  Moonlight Graham, a player that Ray travels to Minnesota in order to find, was an actual person. Graham did in fact only play one game before moving to Minnesota and becoming a doctor. Kinsella, the author, found his stats in a book and decided to use them for the story
      • The movie is the final film for Burt Lancaster, the actor who played Graham
    • Field of Dreams was never number one at the box office, it competed with: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Batman; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Dead Poet’s Society; and Weekend at Bernie’s
    • Roger Ebert gave it four stars: “The ghost of Shoeless Joe does not come back to save the world. He simply wants to answer that wounded cry that has become a baseball legend: “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” And the answer is, it ain’t.”

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