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Visiting the set of "Hey Dude" in Tucson

Posted at 5:44 AM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 10:57:09-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — If you were in kid in the late 80's you may recognize the theme song from "Hey Dude."

The show premiered on Nickelodeon more than thirty years ago -- and it was all shot in the Old Pueblo.

KGUN9 recently visited the old set with a member of the production crew. It's located in a secluded, private area of the Tanque Verde Ranch.

"People come to the ranch specifically because they watched "Hey Dude" growing up," said Terry Hanley, the general manager.

The set certainly has seen better days. The roof has collapsed on some of the buildings and the awnings have caved in. At this point Hanley says it can be a safety hazard.

For David Valdez a walk around the dilapidated set truly is a trip down memory lane. He was part of the production crew. It was his job to help the directors run the show like a well-oiled machine.

"I love the industry so much," Valdez said. "I really did look forward to waking up in the morning and going. As first assistant director, part of your responsibilities is really just organizing the crew for the scenes that are being shot."

Valdez sure has a lot of fun memories from back in the day. He shared photos with us from the set and even a blooper reel he put together.

Some of the actors went off to become big stars and writers and it certainly wasn't the first famous show in town.

"During that time period there was quite a bit of production in Tucson," Valdez said. "Film production I should say because of Old Tucson."

Decades later Mother Nature has run it's course on the "Hey Dude" location. Hanley said it was built for Hollywood and not built to last.

Even after a quick visit, it's easy to see why the views got cameras rolling.

"This is a pretty spectacular part of Arizona and it shows well -- so it truly depicts what ranching is all about," Hanley said.

Years after the last take, Valdez hopes "Hey Dude" will remind filmmakers of the potential you can find in the Sonoran desert.

"When you come to Tucson to shoot, or in Southern Arizona, you're coming for the landscape," he said. "There's no other place like Tucson and it's surroundings in the world."