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Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Nickelodeon's Hey Dude

In the late 1980s, Nickelodeon was looking to shake things up with its programming, including creating scripted shows for targeted age groups. Dee LaDuke started as a scheduler at the network and would eventually work her way up to Director of Programming, creating the classic game show "Double Dare" and later "Hey Dude," a show about a New Yorker who heads West with his son to run a dude ranch with the help of some precocious, crafty, and mouthy teens.

The ranch was "a romantic setting that most kids can only dream about," LaDuke said in "Slimed!," a Nickelodeon oral history book. "Kids that age are just starting to be free: Free to pursue relationships, free to have their first jobs. This was a show for eight to ten-year-olds, not the older kids who were in it. It was an aspirational series for kids to think about where they'd be four years from now."

For tweens who grew up in that era, "Hey Dude" was an obsession. The indelibility of the series still mystifies its cast, with Christine Taylor telling The Morning Call that it "left a mark in a way none of us could have expected." But what became of Taylor and the rest of the cast? It's time to saddle up and find out what happened after they rode off into the sunset.

David Brisbin (Mr. Ernst)

Texas native David Brisbin cut his teeth on the theater stages of New York before taking on the role of the "well-intentioned fool" Benjamin Ernst in "Hey Dude." As the unslick accountant turned ranch owner, Brisbin enjoyed the steady paycheck and "big spread" of catered foods everyday. He said at the 25 year reunion that they all had "such a great time" making "Hey Dude." His younger castmates really enjoyed working with him — David Lascher called it "a gift and an honor," and screen son Josh Tygiel revealed that the things Brisbin did off screen were "funnier than anything he did on the show."

Brisbin has one of the most accomplished resumes of all the "Hey Dude" cast, having worked with such acclaimed directors as David Lynch ("Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me"), Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump"), Terry Gilliam ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"), and Steven Soderbergh ("Erin Brockovich"). He has also plied his trade on many big TV shows, including playing the hand model client in the classic "Puffy Shirt" episode of Seinfeld and reuniting with "Hey Dude" writer Graham Yost for the shows "Boomtown" and "Justified."

Brisbin not only collaborated with his wife Laura Innes on two children, but both have appeared on "ER," including in episodes she has directed. Innes, who has said Brisbin is "an incredibly supportive guy," also directed him on episodes of "The West Wing" and "Brothers & Sisters." Innes appeared on two episodes of "Hey Dude," and the duo even wrote an episode together, which — as Brisbin said at the reunion — was "a rip off of an old honeymooners episode. Mr Ernst thinks he's dying, but really it was a horse that was sick."

Kelly Brown (Brad)

Kelly Brown was a teen model before her big break came about. A horse riding enthusiast, she made the natural jump to playing Bar None's sassy riding instructor Bradley Taylor. Brad also had to wrangle the affections of her fellow employee Ted, and when the two finally kissed, Brown said it was "the most awkward moment of my life because I loved him [co-star David Lascher] like a brother." The show turned Brown into a young star, but it also brought about some unwanted attention, including from stalkers.

She admitted in the book "Slimed!" that she "left the business because of these stalker situations," adding: "It scared me too much. It was very strange." She decided pretty quickly that being famous just wasn't for her, revealing that she got freaked out when strangers asked for her autograph. "You can't be a normal person and then be that person who walked the red carpet," she said. "I didn't like the attention on me. I wasn't comfortable with that." She returned to Montauk, New York, and opened a fashion boutique. The store, aptly named Kelly B, has been described by Hamptons Magazine as a "Montauk staple [that] provides Hamptonites with timeless clothing."

Despite some negative experiences associated with her time on "Hey Dude," she's come to cherish her time on it. Brown's favorite "Hey Dude" episode is the one in which "our characters had to dress each other," she told Fox 7 Austin in 2017. "It was pretty wild. I love clothes, so I got to dress myself."

David Lascher (Ted)

After shooting the "Hey Dude" pilot, the showrunners felt that the actor playing resident schemer Ted McGriff was a little too "edgy," Kelly Brown revealed at the ATX festival (via Pop Sugar). "He was a very nice person, but he was harder," Brown explained. "And then I remember meeting David [Lascher] on set, and he just oozed niceness and kindness." The tempestuous relationship between Brown's Brad and Lascher's Ted was the crux of the show, and Lascher summed their characters up best when he said that they "hated each other, but we loved each other." Lascher actually entered into a relationship with co-star Christine Taylor at one stage, which he said "just added to how wonderful the experience was."

Lascher left midway through Season 3 to join up with Robert Mitchum on the sitcom "A Family for Joe." It only lasted for nine episodes before it was canceled. Lascher then returned to the Bar None, resuming his affections for Brad. After "Hey Dude," Lascher continued as a teen heartthrob, appearing on "Blossom," "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," and later with former co-stars Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence on their eponymous show, "Melissa & Joey." Lascher told PopCityLife that "it is a special thing to have been part of somebody's childhood."

In recent years, Lascher has been working on the other side of the camera. He wrote, produced, and directed the family drama "My Sister," which was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. "It is a very personal story based on characters and circumstances from my own life," the father-of-three told IndieWire. "I am told your first film is always special and 'Sister' is so meaningful to me, as are the issues of childhood ADHD diagnoses and treatments, which the film portrays."

Christine Taylor (Melody)

Putting on a bright smile and acting pepped-up is something that comes rather naturally to Pennsylvania native Christine Taylor, who used it to great effect selling everything from milk to Burger King burgers prior to her big break. Taylor originally auditioned to play Brad on "Hey Dude," but instead landed the part of Melody, who executive producer Brown Johnson described as "a little on the ditsy side, excitable and boy crazy, but with a heart of gold." Taylor said the breakthrough role was a "great opportunity," and later commented that it was the one that resembles her most in "mind and in spirit."

After the show ended, she was torn about what to do next. Her family encouraged her to follow her Hollywood dreams, and (despite being carjacked early on), she quickly found her footing in the industry. Taylor played Marcia Brady in "The Brady Bunch Movie" and its sequel and went on to land roles on "Seinfeld" and "Friends." She appeared in a pilot for a TV show called "Heat Vision and Jack," which was a failure, but it introduced her to her husband Ben Stiller. The two married in 2000, co-starred in several films and TV shows including "Zoolander," "Dodgeball," and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," broke up in 2017, and have since rekindled their relationship.

Taylor's most recent project at the time of this writing is the Apple+ series "High Desert," directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Stiller.

Debi Kalman (Lucy)

Debi Kalman was working as a personal assistant to a celebrity when she answered a casting call to replace an actor who "got canned" after the "Hey Dude" pilot, and she landed the role of ranch forewoman Lucy. Kalman brought a level-headedness to the role of Lucy, who was often the only adult in the room — even when Mr. Ernst was in that same room. The experience proved to be a memorable one, as she told HuffPost Live that it was "two of the best years of my life — other than giving birth." Kalman remains grateful to Nickelodeon, who gave her "the opportunity to change my life and it's never been the same since."

Her best known role remains Lucy, but Kalman has also appeared in several independent films and made guest appearances on shows like "Facts of Life," "Adam 12," "Days of Our Lives," "General Hospital," and "Vice Principals." The mother-of-two also worked as a dropout prevention teacher in high school for 14 years, before retiring in 2014. She resides in Clearwater, Florida, and sometimes helps run her husband's restaurant Pearly's Beach Eats (named after her married surname, Pearl).

Kalman's favorite "Hey Dude" episode is "Stick Around" because "the whole show revolves around me," she said on the 25 year anniversary of the show. "I got a lot of camera time."

Josh Tygiel (Buddy)

Tucson teen Josh Tygiel acted on the rare opportunity to try out for a new Nickelodeon show filming nearby. "I went down for the interview for fun, and see what happened, and the show happened," he reminisced in 2014. He beat out 120 other boys for the role of Mr. Ernst's son Buddy, who was usually decked out in a New York Mets cap. Tygiel told the Tucson Citizen in 1989 that his character doesn't like life at the ranch at first. "I like video games and bloody movies," adding that you "can't really skateboard without sidewalks."

While he majored in drama and history at the University of Arizona, he told HuffPost that he "decided in college to not pursue it [a career in acting] and went a different direction." He currently works as a writer and editor for BackTrack Reports, a firm that conducts "thorough background investigations on high-level individuals as well as their companies or funds," per First Advantage. He added that he tries "to live a real quiet life" in Portland, Oregon with his family [check out his son wearing a Mets hat, just like dad did!]. He's an avid fan of the Arizona Wildcats and the Portland Timbers soccer team.

Tygiel's favorite "Hey Dude" episode is "Crash Landing." At the reunion in 2014, he recalled that "for weeks you [writer Graham Yost] were threatening to throw me into a mineshaft and then we get an episode. It's like, oh, guess what, we're stuck in a mineshaft."

Jonathan Galkin (Jake)

With Ted out of the picture for most of Season 3, Mr. Ernst roped in his Los Angeles nephew Jake Decker to lend a hand at the Bar None. Writer Graham Yost said Jake had "some Ernstian qualities to him, which equals humor." For Jonathan Galkin, "Hey Dude" was the first thing he ever auditioned for. He graduated high school early to take the part and, as he told The Guardian in 2015, "they created the character around my interests, which were music, troublemaking, and sarcasm."

Galkin notched only one other credit: He appeared on "Way Cool," which the Los Angeles Times described as "'Saturday Night Live' for the elementary school set," before heading off to NYU to study acting. However, he said he lasted just a semester before he realized that he "was not willing to make the same dedication as everyone in my class." He switched to focus on independent filmmaking and marketing, and eventually interned at Rolling Stone, Polydor, and A&M Records.

In 2001, he teamed up with musician James Murphy to found independent record label DFA Records. Galkin was the company's A&R and Label Manager, and oversaw such bands as The Rapture, Hot Chip and Murphy's own LCD Soundsystem. In 2020, Murphy reportedly kicked Galkin out of the company he co-founded, which led to legal battles and Galkin starting a new label, FourFour Records.

Galkin has mixed feelings on his "Hey Dude" past. In his LinkedIn bio, he states: "Luckily for all of us, it is still not in reruns," but he's been game for reunions and admitted he's watched the show with his kids and "they love it."

Geoffrey Coy (Kyle)

Lucy's old flame shows up in the finale of Season 3 with his son Kyle in tow, and after Kyle sets his eyes on Brad, he decides to decamp the rest of the summer at the Bar None Ranch. Arizona local Geoffrey Coy had some commercial work and bit parts cut from Disney movies under his belt, and since his family owned a cattle ranch he "sold a bag of goods that I was like a true cowboy" to get the part of Kyle Chandler. However, when it was time to saddle up on an actual horse, the production crew quickly realized that he had grossly exaggerated his abilities. And even being a native of Arizona, with its dry and scorching climate, didn't prepare him for 120 degree shoots and having "to pretend you're not sweating."

Coy didn't sweat much longer in the entertainment industry, galloping off for higher learning, eventually graduating from Baylor University's school of business. According to his company bio, he "has nearly 25 years of experience in the life sciences industry including sales, marketing, sales operations and market access in the biopharmaceuticals and medical device areas," working for companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Sepracor Pharmaceuticals. He has also served as the North America Vice President & General Manager for Photocure, aka The Bladder Cancer Company. He's married with three kids and still uses his onscreen charm in video presentations.

Joe Torres (Danny)

Ranch hand and Ted's wiser right hand man Danny Lightfoot was written to be of Hopi descent, but finding a Native American actor to play the role, according to casting director Michael Koegel, "was really tough." He admitted they "fudged" it by casting Mexican-American Joe Torres, a local Tucson high schooler who was also an aspiring artist. With next to no prior experience, for Torres, the show "was a crash course in acting" and filled with smelly challenges, as the ranch's "horses do natural bodily functions which distract us," he told the Tucson Citizen in 1989.

What happened to Torres after filming wrapped is shrouded in mystery, with the cast and crew losing touch with him over the years. At a 2014 reunion, writer Alan Goodman relayed the rumors they've heard and read online — that he died, or is a pool shark in Tucson, or a car salesman in New Jersey. "I think sometimes people turn the page and they move on," Goodman said (via TV Guide). "And I have a feeling he's turned the page and moved on. I don't think anyone really knows for sure." One TV answer man claimed in 2011 that he's alive and "living in North Carolina." The most promising rumor is the car salesman one, as there is a Joe Torres of Holman Toyota in Mt Laurel Township, New Jersey who looks a lot like an older Danny.

Bar None Dude Ranch (Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona)

When the Knoxville, Tennessee based Cinetel Productions started looking for filming locations for the Bar None Ranch, Colorado was considered, but they settled on Tucson, Arizona. Associate Producer Stephen Land praised it as a "superb location" that "offers a lot of looks." With the decision made, "Hey Dude" became the first series to be primarily shot in the city since NBC's series "Petrocelli," which aired from 1974-76.

The fictional but unforgettable Bar None Ranch was built in a secluded area of the Tanque Verde Ranch, so as to not disturb their customers. The ranch dates back to the 1860s, when it was a cow ranch, and was converted to a guest ranch in 1928 (although the cast and crew stayed at a nearby hotel).

Tanque Verde is no stranger to Hollywood and the celebrity set. It was used as a filming location for the likes of "Ten Wanted Men" and "Young Guns of Texas," and it has hosted the likes of Diane Keaton, a Playboy shoot, and Paul McCartney and family in 1978, prompting the punny headline "Hey, dude! Doesn't he look familiar?" Linda McCartney went to school in the area, and Jo Jo from The Beatles' song "Get Back" famously "left his home in Tucson, Arizona."

After the cast and crew wrapped up the series and left town, the sets were left behind to battle with Mother Nature over time. Some structures still stand to this day, but are in deep disrepair. This hasn't stopped fans and curiosity seekers from visiting them.