Salute Your Shorts Week Begins!

Salute Your Shorts

Back in the early 90’s Nickelodeon started producing a number of television shows with kids as the main stars. Shows like Clarissa Explains It All, Pete & Pete, and Hey Dude! were all very successful, but in my eyes the best show was Salute Your Shorts! This week we are celebrating the show with a week long dedication to the cast and writers of the show. Starting today at noon (est) we will have part 1 of our exclusive interview with Trevor Eyster who portrayed Sponge.

Some of you have never seen the show. I’m not surprised. The show hasn’t been on television for years. For those of you who never saw the show here is a quick synopsis of it.

Salute Your Shorts was based on the book Salute Your Shorts: Life at Summer Camp written by Steve Slavkin, who later produced the show. Debuting in 1991, Salute Your Shorts (SYS) featured seven campers attending Camp Anawana during the longest summer ever in history. Their counselor Kevin “Ug” Lee continued to look for ways of punishing the group. In the first episode, Bobby Budnick steals the new camper Michael’s boxer shorts and raises them on the flag pole. Hence the name, Salute Your Shorts!

The Campers
There was a variety of different campers at Camp Anawana. Each had his / her unique qualities:

where_danny_cookseyRobert “Bobby” Budnick
Budnick is the troublemaker of the group. While at times the campers hate him, he really is a nice guy at heart with a tough exterior. He runs an illegal “camp store” where you can buy candy, grooming products, and for a price he will let you look at the dirty magazine. For an additional cost he will let you turn the pages. Yeah, he gets off that way.

zzZ.Z. Ziff
Z.Z. is the hippie of the group. She loves the environment, and wants to keep the camp green. She is able to see the good in everybody, including Budnick. She started up a recycling club to help clean up camp. Don’t let her goofy side ponytail or planet Earth earrings fool you. She can easily hold her own against anybody. She just can’t kick a soccer ball very well.

DonkeylipsEddie “Donkeylips” C. Gelfen
Donkeylips is the typical “fat kid” of the group. He is obsessed with food, and with fellow camper Dina. Everything reminds him of a food he once ate. His breathe has also been compared to a used diaper. However, if there is somebody you should trust it can be Eddie. He is very loyal to his friends, and doesn’t have a deceitful bone in his large body.

where_venus_demiloTelly Radford
Telly is the sports fanatic of the group. She’s good at all sports, and is a tom boy afraid of coming off as too “girly”. Her biggest fear is wearing a dress. Telly often gets tricked into what Dina has to say, and is easily frustrated. She is however an excellent leader, leading her team to victory in the basketball game.

camper_sponge_harrisSponge Harris
Sponge is the resident geek and brain of the group. There is nothing he doesn’t know, except for dumb girl trivia. Instead of playing ball or going on nature hikes, Sponge typically works on his calculus. Unlike the other campers, we never learned Sponge’s real name. It seems unlikely looking at him, but Sponge is the only kid at camp to make out with a girl.

camper_dina_alexanderDina Alexander
Perhaps you know her father? Dina is the spoiled rich girl of camp. She is also boy crazy! She constantly dreams about Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, and the Coreys! She also ate dinner with Janet Jackson! They had Norwegian salmon all the way from Norwege! Dina has dated both Budnick and Donkeylips. Surprisingly the date with Donkeylips went better.

michael_steinMichael “Moosh Moosh” Stein
In the first season, Michael was the new kid at camp. On his first night he was forced to steal items from the girls bunk to join the “secret society.” He was very unhappy that his parents sent him to camp, and was always looking for ways to get home. Michael got chickenpox, and did not return for the second season.

ronnie_pinksyRonald “Ronnie” Foster Pinsky
When Michael didn’t return Ronnie Pinksy came to camp. Right away Budnick hated him, while the other campers thought he was great. Ronnie became the “cool kid” at camp. He’s athletic, plays piano, and is obsessed with his salami!

The Camp Staff
A number Camp Anawana staff  / Counselors were spoken about, and on occasion seen. Primarily we only saw one and heard one:

kevin_leeKevin “Ug” Lee
Kevin was the main counselor on duty at all times. His nickname is “Ug” that when said before his last name you get Ug-Lee or ugly. As counselor, Ug’s mission, was to catch the campers from doing something wrong. He loves to punish people, especially Budnick. He began the series with an unseen girlfriend Rachel. After she dumped him, Ug began dating  Mona Tibbs.

drkhanDr. Kahn
Dr. Kahn was the unseen Director of Camp Anawana. Throughout each episode, Dr. Kahn’s voice could be heard over the camp speaker system. Since he was never seen, one can only speculate what he looked like. My theory is that he looked like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget.

After two seasons, Salute Your Shorts was canceled. No official reason was ever given. Many have speculated, but stay tuned for our three-part interview with Trevor (Tim) Eyster who gives the official reason why the show never saw a third season. The show ran in re-runs on Nickelodeon for a few years. The last time Nickelodeon ran the episodes were in 1998.

With no official DVD release, fans have had to rely on crappy VHS recordings. A few episodes have made their way to YouTube. There is hope! Stay tuned for news of a possible release of this beloved series. I hope you enjoy our Salute Your Shorts week. Feel free to leave comments about the show or share your memories of watching Budnick, Sponge, Dina, Donkeylips, Z.Z., Michael, Ronnie, Telly, and Ug attend Camp Anawana.

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