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Monday, 16 December 1996

Oozy Does It | Ooze News | December 1996

Ooze News - December 1996

Oozy Does It

Every year, the Cosway Company in Dominguez Hills, California, makes and packages as much as 500,000 gallons of Gak for Nickelodeon and Mattel. We went to the factory to find out just how they hack making all that Gak.


Gak is usually made in batches of 1,300 gallons, but a small sample batch of pink was mixed just for us.

Water, coloring, and powdered thickener are slowly mixed with a secret ingredient. (No one at Cosway or Mattel would tell us what the secret ingredient is, even though we are very good at keeping secrets.) The mixture is blended until it achieves just the right Gak texture and consistency. Then the Gak is poured into 55-gallon barrels, where it is kept until it is ready to be packaged.


The next day, a larger batch of Gak in the Dark was being packaged.

1. Twenty-pound blobs of Gak are placed into a funnel-shaped machine called a hopper.

2. Every three seconds, a four-ounce portion of Gak is pushed out the nozzle at the bottom of the hopper. It goes into a plastic "splat" container.

3. The splats are then weighed to make sure each one has the right amount of Gak inside.

4. The splats are then capped and wrapped in plastic.

5. The splats are then placed upside down in clear plastic cups that line slotted trays. One piece of pre-glued cardboard is placed behind each slot.

6. The trays slide through a machine called a blister carder, which uses heat and pressure to stick the clear plastic cup to the cardboard. The packages then slide from the trays, cool for 10 seconds, and go into shipping boxes.

Gak Faks
  • Gak is 78 percent water.
  • Gak contains guar gum, which is derived from guar seeds. Guar gum is also an ingredient in fat-free cupcakes and cookies.
  • Gak's secret ingredient is also used in cosmetics.
  • Nine million pounds of Gak have been produced since the first batch was made in 1991.

Top Toon Talent

We spoke to the very animated Craig Bartlett, creator of Hey Arnold!

Pulling strings: Craig Bartlett and Arnold (above).
Having a ball: An animator draws Arnold, his head, and its look-alike (left).

NICKELODEON MAGAZINE: Did you base Arnold on anyone you know?
Craig Bartlett: Yes. He's based on me, though I didn't grow up in a boardinghouse under an overpass with my grandparents, and I don't have a head shaped like a football. But Arnold is about how I felt as a kid.

NM: Why is Arnold's head shaped like a football?
CB: At first, Arnold was made of clay for short animated features. I melted clay in a pot and then poured it out on wax paper. When the clay cooled, I cut out a bunch of shapes, like cookies. The football shape was just one that I had cut to build him with, and it ended up being his head.

NM: Why did you pick a name like Helga for a character?
CB: It's because of the Seattle, Washington, neighborhood where I grew up. It was home to a lot of Scandinavians with names like Helga and Lars Larson.

NM: So Arnold's city is based on Seattle?
CB: Yeah. Arnold's neighborhood is meant to look like some of the neighborhoods I knew in Seattle. But it also has a little bit of Brooklyn, New York, in it.

NM: What were the easiest and hardest parts of growing up in a city?
CB: I liked that everything was right nearby. The hardest part, though, was that when I was little I didn't really have a sense of a larger world outside of the city. It's the same with the kids on Hey Arnold! Their whole world is just the few blocks between their school and their houses.

NM: If you could be one of the Hey Arnold! characters, who would you be?
CB: I'd like to be Grandpa. He's just a really fun character to draw and write dialogue for. He's also a good guy and a straight talker.

NM: Who do you think is cooler, Arnold or Arnold Schwarzenegger?
CB: Oooh. Tough question. Well, for now, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'd like him to do a voice on Hey Arnold!

Trace elements: An animator draws Arnold in action (top).
The hard cel: A colorist paints Helga onto a cel, or plastic film (bottom). Her gloves keep the cel clean.

Little Big Talkers

by Lindsey von Busch

Adults provide the voices for most cartoon characters. But Hey Arnold! has real kids doing the talking. We asked a few of them to mouth off about their animated alter egos.

CHARACTER: Arnold, fourth grade
VOICE BY: Toran Caudell, ninth grade
HOW THEY'RE THE SAME:  "Arnold and I both have big imaginations, blond hair, and pet pigs."
HOW THEY'RE DIFFERENT:  "I'm very outgoing, while Arnold is quiet most of the time."
ODD JOBS: Guest appearances on Roseanne and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

CHARACTER: Helga, fourth grade
VOICE BY: Francesca Smith, seventh grade
HOW THEY'RE THE SAME:  "We're both artistic, intelligent, emotional, and dramatic."
HOW THEY'RE DIFFERENT:  "I'm very close to my family, but Helga doesn't like hers."
ODD JOB: Guest appearance on Blossom.

CHARACTER: Gerald, fourth grade
VOICE BY: Jamil Smith, ninth grade
HOW THEY'RE THE SAME:  "Like Gerald, I'm a loyal friend who's outgoing, creative, and soulful."
HOW THEY'RE DIFFERENT:  "My hair is only two inches tall, not twelve."
ODD JOB: Guest appearances on Sister, Sister.

Best Space Case Scenarios

Each kid on Space Cases has a special ability. Using the key to the left [below], figure out which character could help you solve each of the problems below. Then circle the correct letter (or letters). Answers on page 88.


A = HARLAN - Leader and superathlete

B = SUZEE - Mind reading

C = RADU - Superhearing and superstrength

D = ROSIE - Radiates heat

E = BOVA - Generates electricity

1. You're on a camping trip, and all the adults have disappeared. There's complete chaos. Who can take charge? A   B   C   D   E

2. Your father is on the phone with your teacher, talking about your math grade. You can hear your dad just fine, but which two Space Cases can help you find out what your teacher is saying? A   B   C   D   E

3. A big winter storm has knocked out the power in your house. Which two Space Cases could help you? A   B   C   D   E

4. Your brother says he hasn't been reading your diary. Who can tell you if he is lying? A   B   C   D   E

5. Your parents are down the hall, talking about the family's surprise vacation destination. Which two Space Cases could tell you where you're going? A   B   C   D   E

6. You overslept, and now your oatmeal is too cold to eat. Which Space Case can warm it up? A   B   C   D   E

7. Halfway through a long car trip, your Gameboy's batteries run out. Who can give your batteries a boost? A   B   C   D   E

8. Your street hockey ball has rolled under your neighbor's car and is out of reach. Who could move the car for you? A   B   C   D   E

9. You're outside and your hands are freezing because you forgot your mittens. Whose hand do you want to hold? A   B   C   D   E

10. At a gymnastics fundraiser, Kerri Strug hurts her ankle again. Who can take her place on the coed team? A   B   C   D   E

Space Cases airs Saturdays at 8:30 PM*.

Hey, Herb!

Where you ask Nickelodeon's president, Herb Scannell, anything you want.

Do you like to play in the snow?
Yes, I love snow. I'll never forget the snowstorm we had when I was about eight years old. After the storm, a snowplow left a pile of snow that was taller than a house. The other kids and I turned the heap into a snow fort and played in it for three weeks - until it melted.

Do you like ice-skating?
No, I can't skate. And I think that's one of the reasons I'm not a big hockey fan.

What's the best present you've ever received?
When I was 10, I got a five-speed Sting-Ray bicycle with U-shape handlebars and a yellow-and-silver-speckled banana seat for Christmas. It was like getting a car. I scored big that year.

If you have questions for Herb, send them to:

Hey, Herb!
1515 Broadway, 41st floor
New York, NY 10036

What's on Nick


The Rugrats save Grandpa Boris from the plans of his childhood rival Shlomo (also known as the "Meany" of Hanukkah) on the Rugrats Hanukkah special, which airs on Wednesday, December 4, at 8 PM*.


On The Secret World of Alex Mack, find out which is more important at Christmas - spirit or gifts - during an encore presentation of "The Gift" episode. The show will air on Thursday, December 12, at 8 PM*.

* Shows air one hour earlier in the central time zone. Shows subject to change. Check your local listings for details.

Bonus articles - Face To Face guess the actor challenge (see scan below) and BACKSTAGE BASH:

NICKELODEON MAGAZINE'S Michael Wickersheimer made some noise with stars backstage at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.

Do you ever sing while you're driving?
All the time! I have the Grease CD in my car and I sing along with it over and over.

Kurt Loder OF MTV NEWS
What instruments do you play?
I play guitar and keyboards.

What is your favorite snack?

What did you eat for breakfast today?
A turkey burger. I ran around all morning and didn't get to eat until about noon.

Robin Goodridge and Gavin Rossdale OF BUSH
What do you think you'd be doing now if you weren't musicians?
Robin: We would be watching musicians.
Gavin: Or we'd be critics.

Additional source: Wikipedia.

Saturday, 16 November 1996

Also Starring...: Behind The Scenes At Kenan & Kel | Ooze News | November 1996

Ooze News - November 1996

Also Starring...

Behind the scenes at Kenan & Kel

It takes five days and 75 crew members to produce one half-hour episode of Kenan & Kel, Nickelodeon's spin-off of All That. The crew does everything from directing to making sure the stars have their favorite kind of soda (orange). Here's a peek at some of the people who worked behind the scenes for nearly four months last summer to being you the show.

Head of the Crew

Name: Brian Robbins
Job: Executive producer with Mike Tollin
What that means: Brian oversees the scriptwriting, casting, and hiring of the entire crew, and he even directs some episodes. He also supervises the editing of each show.
Quality control: Brian has worked both behind and in front of the cameras (he played Eric on Head of the Class), but he prefers producing and directing. "It's more creative, because I work on the whole process," he says. "As an actor, I could only control how I said my lines."

The Write Stuff

Names: Kevin Kopelow, Heath Seifert, and Dan Schneider (above, from left)
Jobs: Writers
What that means: It takes Kevin and Heath (who work as a team) and Dan about one week to come up with the plot and write the script for each episode. And, as the show is rehearsed, they have to rewrite some of the dialogue and jokes to get bigger laughs from the studio audience.
Moonlighting: Dan, who's also the co-executive producer, guest stars as Angus, the rival of Kenan's boss. Kevin and Heath (who are both producers, too) and Dan also write for All That.

One Show, Hold the Mayo

Name: Merrie Dudley
Job: Producer
What that means: Merrie's job is all about the nuts and bolts of the show. She makes a schedule that lets the cast and crew know where they should be and what they should be doing every minute of the 10-hour workdays. During the summer, each week's schedule would lead up to Friday night's taping in front of a studio audience.
On a roll: "I'm pretty much like a fast-food manager," says Merrie. "It's like I know who's making the fries, who's cleaning the bathroom, and who's working the drive-thru."

Shop 'Til You Drop

Name: Bruce Anthony Marshall
Job: Costume Designer
What that means: Bruce makes sure Kenan, Kel, and all the other actors have the right things to wear in every scene. For an average show, he needs to buy or sew more than 20 different outfits.
Sew much fun: Bruce's favorite part of his job is creating looks for brand-new characters. He once made up costumes for people from imaginary countries. "That's when my job gets really good," he says.

Joel of All Trades

Name: Joel Fisher
Job: Production Coordinator
What that means: Joel keeps things running behind the scenes. He wears a headset and carries a beeper while working so he can be reached at any moment to take care of everyone's requests, which once entailed sending someone to buy a specific flavor of gum.
A dogged worker: "I'll do whatever it takes to make sure the show goes on. I've had producers ask me to walk their dog when there was no way for them to get home to do it," he says.

It's a Dirty Job

Name: David Jordan Jr.
Job: Prop Master
What that means: David builds the show's props and scenery. In one episode, Kel dreams that he is trapped in a giant brown paper bag filled with huge candies, fruit, and ointment. David and his staff had to construct all those objects - mostly by sculpting and painting foam.
Chew on this pencil: David once made an edible pencil for an All That sketch. "I used bubble gum as the center. Then I put Fruit Roll-Ups around the outside and used chocolate sprinkles for the lead," he says.
Scene stealer: David also designs sets for All That. And, woodn't you know, he designed Stick Stickly.

Names: Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell

Jobs: Stars

We asked Kenan Thompson (left) and Kel Mitchell about their new show.

Nickelodeon Magazine: How is Kenan & Kel different from All That?
Kenan: Well, on Kenan & Kel we play the same characters every week. We're always getting into trouble. I'm always scheming, trying to come up with a get-rich-quick plan. And Kel follows me because he's my best friend.

NM: Does that happen in real life, too?
Kel: Sometimes, though in real life it's not always Kenan doing the leading.

NM: Do you like the fact that your characters have your real names?
Kenan: Yeah - but we're not really like them. Kel is a lot brighter in real life, and I'm not as much of a schemer as I am on TV.

NM: Did you help develop your characters?
Kenan: Yes. The writers gave us a skeleton of the characters, and we put the meat on them. We bring our own shenanigans into the show.

NM: Why isn't the show called Kel & Kenan?
Kel: Kenan & Kel just flows better. Anyway, we're a team, so I don't mind.

Kenan & Kel airs Saturdays at 8 PM*.

*Show airs one hour earlier in the central time zone. Times subject to change. Check local listings for details.

Sidoni's No Phony

Nick stars David Sidoni and Melissa Joan Hart are the spokespeople for Nickelodeon's Kids Pick the President campaign coverage. We asked David about the time he spent at the Republican and Democratic Conventions, where Bob Dole and Bill Clinton were officially nominated as their parties' presidential candidates.

Nickelodeon Magazine: Did you get bored during all those speeches?
David Sidoni: No. There were huge video screens where I could either watch the speakers or read along, because the words ran across the screen. I also looked around to see people's reactions.

NM:  Did you see many silly hats?
DS: Yes. I saw the silliest hat at the Democratic Convention. It was 15 feet tall and made of lacquered balloons. Each balloon had a political message written on it.

NM: Do you remember any funny slogans?
DS: A lot of funny sayings were on buttons. They were often about Socks, the Clintons' cat. The Republican buttons read THROW SOCKS OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE. The Democrats' read WE LOVE SOCKS.

NM: What is the funniest thing that happened at either convention?
DS: The craziest, coolest thing happened at the Democratic Convention. All of a sudden, "Macarena" was played over the loudspeakers, and the whole place went nuts. I did the Macarena with 75-year-old delegates.

NM: During the Democratic Convention, was it exciting to walk around United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls?
DS: Of course. I'm a huge sports fan. I was excited to be on the convention floor but even more excited to be on the floor where the Bulls play.

NM: Did you ever run for class president?
DS: I did in the sixth grade. I asked 16 of my friends to hold a 30-foot-long banner in front of me while I was giving a speech. The banner read VOTE FOR SIDONI. HE'S NO PHONY. AND THAT'S NO BALONEY. And I won.

Hey, Herb!

Where you ask the president of Nickelodeon, Herb Scannell, anything you want.

People call you "The Big Cheese." Do you even like cheese?
I'm a big cheese fan. My favorite cheeses are really stinky ones - the stinkier the better. One time my wife and I bought some smelly cheese at the store, and then we got on the bus to go home. When I walked on, people must have thought there was a baby in a stinky diaper on board. We had to tell them that it was just our cheese.

What do you do at Nickelodeon?
I'm kind of like a principal, but I don't think the people who work here are afraid of me. I oversee Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, and TV Land. I'm responsible for everything from Nickelodeon Online to the channels we are starting around the world. I try to make sure that kids are happy with us. It's a problem if they aren't.

Do you have any questions for Herb?
Send them to:

Hey, Herb!
1515 Broadway, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10036


Watch back-to-back episodes of all the Nicktoons during the Non-Stop Nicktoons Weekend beginning Wednesday, November 27, at 6 PM*.

* Shows air one hour earlier in the central time zone. Shows subject to change. Check your local listings for details.

Additional source: Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 16 October 1996

TV Goes KABLAM! | Ooze News | Halloween | October 1996

Ooze News - October 1996

TV Goes


Action League Now!'s Thundergirl, Meltman and Justice blast off.

KABLAM! isn't just the sound of exploding dynamite; it's also the name (and noise) of Nickelodeon's new Friday night show, which starts October 11 at 8 PM*.

KABLAM! is a half-hour cartoon variety show hosted by two wisecracking cartoon kids named Henry and June. The show crams at least five cartoons into each episode. Plus, KABLAM! looks totally different from other shows because it mixes all kinds of animation.

Here's a look at some of the cartoons that go KABLAM!


Starring: Henry and June

What it's about: Henry and June are best friends who live inside a comic book. They pop up a few times each episode - letting their imaginations run wild, dreaming up nutty situations, and introducing the other KABLAM! segments.

Get used to hearing: "Kablammy" and "Kablammerific" to describe anything that's good or funny.

How it's done: Computer animation: The pictures are hand-drawn and then animated using computers.


Starring: Sniz, Fondue, Bianca, and Snuppa

What it's about: Sniz and Fondue are two wacky cats who get into a lot of trouble. Sniz, who's smaller (and louder), drags the nervous Fondue into the thick of things.

Get used to hearing: "Cut me an over-sized wedge!" which is Sniz and Fondue's way of saying "Give me a break!" When Sniz is very excited, he says, "Snap me down!"

How it's done: Cel animation. Several slightly different character drawings are made on celluloid (clear plastic sheets). One at a time, the drawings (or cels) are placed on a background drawing and then photographed. When all those photos are run in order, it looks like the character is moving. Cel animation is used to make many cartoons, including Rugrats.


Starring: Thundergirl, Meltman, The Chief, The Flesh, Stinky Diver, Justice, and The Mayor

What it's about: A motley crew of action figures clumsily tries to make the world a better place.

Get used to hearing: "Ouchies!" after The Flesh has been crushed. The Chief yells "Blast it!" when he's in fear of being blown up.

How it's done: CHUCKIMATION and stop-action. CHUCKIMATION is pretty low-tech. To make the characters look like they're flying, people off-camera throw (or chuck) the action figures into the camera frame.

In stop-action animation, 3-D objects (such as the action figures) are photographed each time they are moved. When all those photographs are seen in rapid succession, the figures look like they're moving on their own. James and the Giant Peach was filmed using stop-action.

Also look for:

Prometheus and Bob

Life With Loopy

Plus Angela Anaconda, The Offbeats, and Patch Head.

* All times are for eastern and Pacific time zones. Show airs one hour earlier in the central time zone. Times subject to change. Check your local listings for details.

Hey, Herb!

Where you ask the president of Nickelodeon, Herb Scannell, anything you want.

What is the worst Halloween costume you have ever worn?
When I started working for Nickelodeon, I went to a party as the color orange. All my clothes - including my socks and shoes - were orange. I even painted my hands, neck, face, and ears with orange greasepaint. And when I got home, I tried to wash the paint off, but my ears stayed orange. They looked like they were radioactive. It took about a week for me to get all the paint off.

What was your favorite candy as a kid?
Sweetarts were my favorite candy until I was about nine years old. One day I bought a giant Sweetart. I ate about half of it and couldn't eat any more. The other half sat in the fridge for almost a year, until it was finally thrown away. That Sweetart conquered me.

Do you have any questions for Herb? Send them to:

Hey, Herb!
1515 Broadway, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10036

What's New on Nick

You don't have to wait much longer for More Nick. Starting Monday, October 7, Nickelodeon stays tuned until 8:30 PM* - that's an extra half hour filled with new shows and episodes. Here's a schedule:

Hey Arnold! makes Mondays and Wednesdays fantastic.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are superpowered by The Secret World of Alex Mack.

Fridays explode with KABLAM!

The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss will wow on Sundays.

All shows begin at 8 PM*.


Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell (Mavis and Clavis on All That) star in their own comedy, Kenan and Kel, about two bungling buddies. It begins Saturday, October 12, at 8 PM*. And then at 8:30 PM*, Space Cases relaunches with new episodes.

* All times are for eastern and Pacific time zones. Shows air one hour earlier in the central time zone. Show times subject to change. Check your local listings for details.

Bonus articles:


by David Lewman

IT'S HALLOWEEN, but your home isn't completely decorated until you've recorded a seasonal message on your family's answering machine. Here are two scripts to get you started, but feel free to write your own. (Note: Be sure to get a parent's permission.)

Message #1: Pumpkin Talk

For this message, you need two people.

Actor One: Hi, this is [your name].
Actor Two: And this is Jack O. Lantern.
Actor One: We can't answer the phone right now, because we're busy carving.
Actor Two: Obviously we've already done my wonderful mouth.
Actor One: I think we made it too big. What kind of nose do you want, Jack?
Actor Two: Oh, something Tom Cruise-ish.
Actor One: How about a triangle?
Actor Two: What?! Are you kidding? Hey, not the knife! Ouch!
Actor One: Please hold still, Jack! And please leave us a message.
Actor Two: You know, you didn't scrape out all of my goop.
Machine: *Beep!*

Message #2: At the Sound of the Beep, Howl.

In this message, you play a werewolf.

You: Hello, this is [your name]. I'd love to talk, but there's a full moon tonight. (Growl a little.) Oh, no - I'm getting hair all over the answering machine again. (Growl and howl.) Oops, here come the fangs... and there goes my retainer. (More growling and snorting.) Boy, I could really go for some Ken-L Ration. (Lots of growling.) Please leave a message at the sound of the (long howl).

Revolting But True Facts

by Ruth Lindy and Saun Ellis

Until five years ago [1991], Bat poop was used as an ingredient in eye makeup.

There are fungi that can trap and eat live animals.

The human stomach secretes about a quart of mucus and acid each day.

When a Hydra (a simple freshwater creature) is cut in two, the bottom half grows a new top and the top half grows a new bottom.

The Capybara is the world's largest rodent, weighing 100 pounds. It looks like a cross between a Guinea Pig and a Hippopotamus.

[Bonus: Half of a Oscar Mayer Foods Corporation advertisement for Lunchables.]