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Alumni Cabins - Camp Anawanna Creator
 

by James Koro / edited by Joe Fulton (Aug. 25, 2009) originally published on Millionaire Playboy

Meet Joe Struss Creator of CampAnawanna.com

Camp Anawanna Home Page 

For 10 years Joe Struss has run the only Salute Your Shorts fan site. I thought it was only appropriate to include him in our Salute Your Shorts coverage. After all, he runs a great site full of information about the show. He is planning on wrapping up a new Salute Your Shorts site later this year.

• How did you get started with this web site?

I was performing with the Trans-Iowa Canal Company at the 1997 World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, TX. Before the show, I was in the con suite when a bunch of people and we started to talk about “Salute Your Shorts”. We talked about how we really liked the show and how we were very upset that Nick has taken it off the air. I went off to do my performance and when I came back a few hours later- there was still a group of like ten to 12 people still talking about their favorite parts and episodes of “Salute Your Shorts”. Also in the background and off to the side was someone who looked suspiciously like Danny Cooksey who seemed to be loving every minute of the conversation. Anyway, I really liked “Salute Your Shorts” and thought it deserved not to be so easily forgotten and that a web site might be a fun thing to have for it. Plus I also teach at a University and needed a class example for an Advanced HTML web site class so I just combined the two together.

The original web site was officially launched on May 7, 1999. The whole site was hand-coded HTML with a little javascript and a few Flash tricks here and there. I’ve been working on a new edition of the site with Dreamweaver for about a year now and have added a couple of new items to the new site as well. I’m hoping to make a complete transition to the new site this fall. So far I’ve had about 700,000 hits on the old and new sites combined that I can tell.

• What is it about the show that you made you create an entire website dedicated to it?

I liked the show because it’s a fun concept with the kids being at camp, playing tricks and competing with each other. But the other neat thing about the show is that it was one of the first shows on Nick where the kids were the main emphasis of the show and most of the adults were side characters. It also actually seemed to show the kid characters as real kids. Another series I really enjoyed “You Can’t Do That on Television” had a similar emphasis on the kids rather than on the adults.

SYS WUS Hat

• What is you favorite episode(s) from the show?

Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick (from the 1st Season) and Sponge’s Night Out (from the 2nd Season). I identified with Michael and Sponge on the show and the “Fake Being Sick” episode where Michael becomes one of Budnick’s friends was both goofy-fun and quasi-serious; it was a very different SYS episode in it’s set-up and format which I really liked. And Sponge’s Night Out where the brainy Sponge sneaks out and gets his first kiss was also excellent in its set locations and humor.

• Having the only fan site, I’m sure you get a lot of questions about the show. What do most fans want to know about?

The most often question I get asked about SYS is “Why did Michael leave after the first season?”. I asked the show’s producer Steve Slavkin about this and he said that Michael (Erik MacArthur- who lived in Hawaii and not LA where it was shot) basically didn’t want to do the series after the first season and that they were very fortunate to get Blake Soper who played Ronnie Pinsky to be the “new kid” for the second season.

The other question I get is “When is the show going to be out on DVD?” The answer to that one is “I Don’t Know”. (Splash! YCDTOTV joke there.) Nick has started putting out Nick Classic shows on CreateSpace via Amazon.com so I’m hoping SYS will get its chance soon.

• Have you ever been in contact with any of the cast members about your site?

I’ve gotten notes from a bunch of the cast and crew who’ve worked on the show. Most of them thanked me for keeping the spirit of Camp Anawanna alive. But I also now know where a bunch of the crew used to drink after shooting some of the episodes which is also another fun fact.

Blake Soper Live

• Have you got to meet any of the cast?

Not really. I’ve gotten to see Blake Soper in concert three times but I never introduced myself and I did get a personalized tour of where Michael Bower worked when he was at Universal Studios Citywalk by one of his co-worker’s as Mike wasn’t there that day but that’s about it.

• Why do you think the show is regarded as one of the best Nickcoms?

Because it related well to kids and didn’t talk down to them- it wasn’t overly preachy or cynical like other kid series tended to be. It also had a lot of goofy fun and was a situation that a lot of kids can still relate to-so with all that- the series seems to still be relevant even after 17 years.

• What is in the future for CampAnawanna.com?

I have some short interviews with: the show's producers, a couple of crew members and one of the cast to add in a new area on the production side of Salute Your Shorts. I also have a Power Point from the production team that was trying to sell a third season to Nickelodeon and a cast call sheet which would fit nicely into a new production area. After that, I would like to try and add a discussion or forum area again and a new Flash game or two. I have actually always wanted to add a secret radio station or tv zone to the site but I’m not certain what that would be like any more.

Joe Struss can be contacted at joe (at) campanawanna.com.

 

 
 
   
Site Designed / Updated by Joe Struss