You’ve watched Nickelodeon at some point in your childhood, right? If you were a conscious child in the 1980s and early 1990s, you are probably aware of the “golden age” of the network, as detailed in an awesome new book. Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age, by Mathew Klickstein, is an in-depth oral history that includes the genesis of the channel’s brand and many of its iconic shows.
The 92 St Y in New York City hosted an event last week that featured several panels of people from the book. Here’s what we learned!
The executives of that golden age were in their early 20s at the time.
I expected the producers and show runners to be super old, considering their shows started between 20 and 30 years ago. But most appeared to be in their early 50s—they were all fresh out of college when they were tasked with creating original programming for the network. That goes a long way to explain how fresh and real the concepts were!
When kids had show parents, they were fired.
One would assume that most parents who put their kids on TV would be super pushy and weird. The Nick execs agreed, and they wouldn’t work with kids who had bad parents.
The Beets can’t hit the notes anymore, but they’re still amazing.
The real musicians who made the music on Doug—including the theme song, the soundtrack, and the music of the fictional band The Beets—were present at the event. They played the theme song and the whole audience joined in on the na-na-nas, and then sang “Killer Tofu.” Child-like glee was pouring out of most audience members, including myself.
Ferguson and Sam from Clarissa Explains It All are close friends.
Star Melissa Joan Hart couldn’t attend the event, but actors Jason Zimbler (Ferguson) and Sean O’Neal (Sam) discussed their initial crushes on Melissa and explained that the three of them had shifting allegiances, friendships, and fights over the years. But now the two guys are close friends!
Melissa Joan Hart glowed the most of any of the actresses auditioning.
The creators of the show admitted that they were down to two final girls when casting Clarissa. The other girl was much hipper, with a “Lower East Side, New York” vibe. Melissa wasn’t as cool, but they couldn’t ignore how she lit up the screen. Finally, they decided to go with the girl that glowed, and were happy that she got cooler as the show went on!
Patti Mayonnaise is now on Orange is the New Black.
This is by now a well-documented fact, but it was still an unexpected thrill to have Yoga Jones (whose real name is Constance Shulman) appear on stage. She even indulged the audience and spoke in the Patti voice, which is actually pretty similar to her own.
The voice actor behind Doug and Roger happens to be one of the most successful in Hollywood.
When Billy West came on stage, the crowd went nuts as if he were a member of One Direction. He has lent his voice to Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Family Guy, Pinky and the Brain, and literally every other cartoon you can think of over the course of his career, and he demonstrated that he can still slip into Doug, Roger, Ren, and Stimpy between breaths.
Double Dare was the most fun set ever.
Members of the crew tested out every dare you ever saw, every goofy, messy one. Host Marc Summers, co-host Robin Marella, and announcer Harvey also spent years on hugely successful Double Dare tours. Can you imagine getting to play the game with the real Marc Summes?! The gang still seems to adore each other, and couldn’t stop talking and retelling stories.
Slimed! is on sale now! Buy it here.
Would you be interested in reading Slimed? Which show on Nickelodeon was your favorite? Are there any you wish you could watch now? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.