In the summer of 1989, Nickelodeon debuted its first scripted sitcom, which followed an Arizona dude ranch owner and the teens he employed for the summer. A lovably goofy concept even then, "Hey Dude" ran for 65 episodes and ultimately helped define Nick's programming for the next 25 years. It's since become a cult classic that would find new life on the Internet and on DVD, with reruns still getting airtime.
Cast and crew members of the beloved comedy reunited in honor of the show's 25th anniversary in Austin, Texas, for the third annual ATX Television Festival. It marked the first time the group had sat down together since the show wrapped filming in 1991. The "Hey Dude" gang sat down with both fans and reporters for an afternoon of questions, anecdotes and memories.
David Lascher, who portrayed lovable troublemaker Ted McGriff, said he was taken aback when he saw his cast mates.
"It's so nice to see everybody. It's just a flood of amazing memories," he says. "Everyone looks great, seems happy. I can't believe it's been so long."
Christine Taylor, who played bubbly girl-next-door Melody Hanson, said her kids played in the same gym class as Lascher's at one point, but it has been difficult to keep in contact with everyone.
"Some of us did stay in touch, but it was back in the day when we all left, and we didn't have e-mail addresses," she says. "If you moved and you weren't responsible with your address book, you lost touch."
Series writer Alan Goodman went on to write and produce 1990s Nick hits "Clarissa Explains It All" and "The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo," and opens up about why "Hey Dude" remains close to the hearts of everyone involved.
"None of us had any experience at all before this," Goodman said, "so it's something we all do remember fondly."
Taylor said some memories of the show's aesthetics continue to make her cringe -- especially when it comes to the wardrobe.
"I don't even think that was cool then! I don't remember pleated khaki shorts belted with a shirt and a bolero being cool -- even for people who lived on a dude ranch," she says.
The other chick did not age well.
I don't see Danny the Indian either.
There were two major absences from the reunion: Kelly Brown, who portrayed strong-minded rich girl Brad Taylor, and Joe Torres, who played the easy-going Danny. Brown had to pull out at the last minute due to a family emergency -- and no one in the group is still in contact with Torres or clued in to his whereabouts.
"We don't really know," Goodman said. "We just know the same rumors that everybody else knows that reads the Internet. There was a rumor he died, there was a rumor he was selling cars in New Jersey, but I don't know if anybody has confirmed any of these things. He's been hard to find."