Although it only had two seasons, the Nickelodeon sitcom Salute Your Shorts has remained a cult classic since it premiered 31 years ago.
The show follows a group of teenagers, as well as their strict counselor Kevin “Ug” Lee (Kirk Baily), who are spending their summers at Camp Anawana. The ensemble cast featured characters including camp bully Bobby Budnick (Danny Cooksey), boy genius Sponge Harris (Tim Eyster), tomboy Telly Radford (Venus DeMilo Thomas), nature lover Z.Z. Ziff (Megan Berwick), snobby princess Dina Alexander (Heidi Lucas) and comic relief Eddie C. “Donkeylips” Gelfand (Michael Bower).
Steve Slavkin, who appeared on the show as Dr. Kahn, adapted the Salute Your Shorts pilot from his 1986 book of the same name. In a 2017 interview with PopSugar, Slavkin said that the show was his big break.
“This is the first big project I ever did. I was 26 years old when I sold the show to Nickelodeon. I’d written a book called Salute Your Shorts with my friend Tom Hill — he and I had met at summer camp together. So he and I wrote a humor book together, and then we sold it to Nickelodeon,” he explained.
The writer added that he knew he was taking a different approach than other sitcom creators at the time. “I tried to jam-pack as much as I possibly could into each episode. I had just come out of film school; I wanted to make a mark, I wanted to do things different, I wanted to put the camera in different places, and I wanted to tell stories a different way. Kids’ television at the time was mostly sitcoms, so we were going to do comedy a different way. We were going to do jump cuts, make little movies, and do it without a laugh track,” he said.
Cooksey spoke to PopSugar along with Slavkin, commenting on his relationship with his costars during filming. “Everybody got along really well. It was a lot of fun. We were in this little bubble of our own existence. We were in L.A., and most of Nickelodeon’s stuff was [filmed] in Florida. We were in our own little cocoon,” he told the outlet.
After the series ended, some Salute Your Shorts alums remained close friends. Baily and Bower were both groomsmen in Cooksey’s 1998 wedding. The majority of the cast — including Slavkin, Baily and Bower — reunited in 2015 for Portland’s Everything is Fine festival. They even sang the show’s memorable theme song together during their panel at the pop culture convention. Tragically, the crew lost one of their own in February 2022 when Baily died from lung cancer at the age of 59.
Scroll through to see where the cast of Salute Your Shorts is doing now: