17 Wild Facts About Hey Dude
, a constant presence on Nickelodeon from 1989 through the late 1990s, detailed the adventures of a group of teenagers tasked with running the Bar None Dude Ranch, and from getting on each other’s nerves. Here are some facts about the show on the 25th anniversary of its finale.
1. THE SHOW WAS CREATED BY NICKELODEON'S FORMER RECEPTIONIST.
Dee LaDuke was a receptionist at Nickelodeon when she co-created Double Dare. Promoted first as a scheduler for the network before becoming director of programming, she also helped come up with the Nick at Nite format. Hey Dude was yet another of her successful Nickelodeon projects.
2. CHRISTINE TAYLOR AUDITIONED FOR BRAD.
3. BUDDY AND DANNY WERE CAST FROM A LOCAL TUCSON SEARCH.
Josh Tygiel was attending Utterback Middle School when he got the role of Buddy Ernst, Jr. Tucson High School graduate and aspiring artist Joe Torres got the part of Hopi Indian Danny Lightfoot, even though he’s Mexican-American.
4. IT WAS THE FIRST TV SHOW SHOT IN TUCSON IN 12 YEARS.
The city’s production drought ended in November 1988 when the pilot for Hey Dude was shot at the Tanque Verde Ranch, which is where the rest of the episodes were taped as well. Before that, the last series to shoot primarily in Tucson was Petrocelli, an NBC legal drama that lasted for two seasons.
5. ALL EPISODES OF THE SHOW TOOK PLACE OVER ONE SUMMER.
6. THE CAST STAYED AT A RAMADA INN.
Eventually they were upgraded to the Radisson Suites. Tygiel was the exception; he lived at home.
7. THEY DECORATED THEIR HOTEL ROOMS.
8. THE CHARACTERS COULDN’T SAY "GOD."
Even when not in front of the cameras, profanity wasn’t allowed on set. There was even a swear jar.
9. DAVID BRISBIN HAD A SENSE OF HUMOR.
David Lascher, who played Ted McGriff, remembered Brisbin telling the young actors: “You know I once worked in New York theater?” after fully committing to one of many Mr. Ernst tumbles. Brisbin had since appeared in Forrest Gump and Erin Brockovich, and played Dr. Alexander Babcock alongside his wife Laura Innes on ER for 19 episodes. (Innes herself played two different characters in two episodes of Hey Dude.)
10. ONLY TWO CAST MEMBERS ACTUALLY KNEW HOW TO RIDE A HORSE.
That would be Kelly Brown (Brad) and Debrah Kalman (Lucy). Horse wranglers were on set to help the others.
11. ONE OF THE WRITERS WAS KNOWN FOR HIS PRACTICAL JOKES ON SET.
Graham Yost, who wrote one fifth of Hey Dude’s episodes and went on to write the Speed screenplay and create Justified, liked to leave “a thing of lard” on the table for any dining scene.
12. THE WARDROBE BUDGET WAS MINUSCULE.
Melody’s pink beauty pageant dress came from Christine Taylor’s own closet from back home in Pennsylvania.
13. TED LEFT FOR SUMMER SCHOOL TO CO-STAR ON A QUICKLY CANCELED NBC SERIES.
came into the picture because David Lascher left to work on A Family for Joe, a series about four orphaned kids who find a homeless person (Robert Mitchum) to pretend to be their grandfather so they don’t get split up; Juliette Lewis and Ben Savage played two of Lascher’s siblings. NBC canceled the show after nine episodes.
14. THE SHOW’S TWO DIRECTORS HAD CONTRASTING STYLES.
Frederick King Keller was very serious; Ross K. Bagwell Jr., who co-directed Elvis Presley’s last televised concert for CBS in 1977, had a “fun, who-cares” way of doing things. Keller later directed episodes of 24 and Justified and remains active. Bagwell passed away in 2008.
15. NOBODY KNOWS WHERE JOE TORRES IS.
Some of the cast and crew have tried to contact him over the years with no luck.
16. JAKE CO-FOUNDED A MUSIC LABEL.
Jonathan Galkin is the head of the influential DFA Records, which he co-founded with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. The New York Times described DFA Records as the label “that defined a generation of disco hipsters.”
17. PARIS HILTON WAS A FAN.
In 2000, Hilton approached Christine Taylor at a party in Los Angeles, pleasantly surprised to see Melody from Hey Dude there. It was how Hilton and Taylor first met.
An earlier version of this story ran in 2015.