Whether you preferred the drama of Hey Dude, the postmodern sensibility of Clarissa Explains It All, or the gross-out humor of Ren & Stimpy, if you were a kid in the ’90s, there’s a good chance your favorite TV channel was Nickelodeon. Here’s what went on behind the scenes, as uncovered by Matthew Klickstein in Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age.
1. Designer Tom Corey chose orange and lime green for Nickelodeon’s logo because they’re international distress colors.
2. There were many different recipes for the famous green slime that originated on You Can’t Do That on Television. A few key ingredients: Cream of Wheat, green food coloring, Johnson’s baby shampoo, vegetable oil, and occasionally cottage cheese.
3. Roger Price, creator of You Can’t Do That on Television, slimed kids for saying, “I don’t know,” because he found it annoying. And dumping water for saying “water”? That was just funny. After the cast started complaining about how much slime and water were dumped on them, they received bonus payments—$25 to $50 extra—for getting soaked.
4. The creators of Ghostbusters, released in 1984, tried to sue Price for stealing the idea of green slime. They dropped the lawsuit when he pointed out that he’d been sliming kids since 1979, so Ghostbusters must have stolen the idea from him.
6. You Can’t Do That on Television didn’t allow parents on the set. The kids weren’t allowed to take scripts home, either.
7. Nickelodeon Studios originally printed the blimp logo on its toilet paper. But visitors kept stealing it, so they switched to plain.
8. The Double Dare set was designed to look like a bathroom.
￼Courtesy of Facebook.com/DoubleDare
11. Double Dare host Marc Summers has OCD and sometimes struggled with all the slime and mess on the job.
13. Nickelodeon recorded a number of doo-wop bumpers, those short clips played between a show and a commercial, because research shows that kids respond well to doo-wop music.
14. On Pete & Pete, Little Pete’s signature red hunting cap was an homage to The Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield.
15. Only Mark Mulcahy, who wrote and sang the Pete & Pete theme song, knows what it’s really about—or can easily decipher all the words.
16. There was almost a Clarissa Explains It All album. The group name: Clarissa and the Straitjackets. The first single: “This Is What Na-Na Means.”
17. The Midnight Society kids on Are You Afraid of the Dark? weren’t allowed to be shown lighting the campfire.
18. Alex Mack of The Secret World of Alex Mack was first written as a male character.
19. The polling for the Kids’ Choice Awards was originally done at amusement parks or McDonald’s.
23. E.G. Daily, the voice of Tommy Pickles on Rugrats, played Dottie in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.