Dan Vitco interview

For me one of the things that made Nickelodeon Stand out during the 90s was the awesome theme music. It was rockish adventurous creepy and quirky all mice into one. Or have either one for that matter. Dan Vitco had a nab for playing into the sound department for most of the early 90s nick programming such as Make the Grade, Nick Arcade, and Clarissa Explains it All. The latter of which he did all of the combined music supplies all by himself. This interview you’ll hear more from Dan as he explains what it was like to be in Nickelodeon during those years and just how what it did for him in the long run. To learn more about Dan and his work you can look at his website


1. What are some of your earliest memories of writing music and playing an instrument?

I started piano lessons at age 5. I didn’t seriously start writing music until my early 20s.

2. The first Nickelodeon show you worked on was Make the Grade. Were you nervous at all to go from big time musicians to being in a hit children’s network?

Not really.

3. On Total Panic,which your website claims to be the first full on TV package, how did the music work out better for you this time as opposed to Make the Grade?

  I wasn’t involved with the the theme music for ‘Make The Grade’. I played (recorded) audience cheers from a keyboard live as the show was being taped, since there was no live audience. I also provided sound effects.

4. In 1990 when alot of the shows were starting to be produced at the newly opened Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando,FL do you wish you would’ve been employed there full time?

I considered moving to Orlando at the time. There was too much I had going on in NJ back then, so I never made the move. Looking back, I’m glad I stayed in NJ!

5. What was your first impression of it when you got there based on your brief appearances?

During one visit to Orlando (wrapping up music production for Nick Arcade), I visited the production studios. It was impressive!

6. I think Clarissa Explains it All seems to be one of your proudest achievements. The guitar riff is what makes the show so noticeable. How different did you want to score the music this time for the overall theme of the show?

Actually, I did all of the music except for the theme. The guitar riff seemed to fit right from the beginning (as Sam climbs through the window), so we stuck with that.

7. Have you ever been slimed?


8. How great was all the staff who worked at Nick? I always hear positive stories.

It was mainly Chris Gifford & Nondas Voll (over the phone) for Clarissa Explains it All. For all the other shows, I always worked with my good friend Mark Schultz, with whom I still do projects. He’s an amazing producer, writer and engineer. He has his own studio now in NJ: http://www.mysuitespot.com

9. How do you feel knowing that all of 90s Nickelodeon you were a part of made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?

It’s great to hear that people loved those shows and still ask for them!

10. Do you think the years spent for Nickelodeon was a learning process in terms of what you do now in a beneficial way?

Absolutely. There were many things about music production for TV & the music business that have been extremely helpful for me.

11. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?

Everything was fun & kind of wacky at the same time.

12. Would you like to see it be re-opened?


Dan thank you for the opportunity for me to learn more about your background. It was a pleasure and i’ll let you know how everything goes with the project!



Dan Frischman interview

Dan Frischman was already a TV star in the 80s in the show Head of the Class. Comedy and improv he does it both. But he became a new face to the 90s generation from his regular role on the Nickelodeon sitcom “Kenan & Kel” lasting for four seasons from 1996-2000. The show became a huge hit but no introduction is needed for that. In our interview Dan reveals what made Nickelodeon Studios in Florida a special place for kids and adults and if it should reopen! Be sure to check out his website! http://www.danfrischman.com/

1. How did you get the role of Chris on Kenan & Kel?
It was created and produced by two of my co-stars from a previous show I was on — “Head of the Class” on ABC.  They originally asked me if I knew a “Chris Elliot” type for the role.  I couldn’t really think of anyone for them.  A month or two later, they asked me if I wanted to do it.  I’m glad I hadn’t though of anyone!

2. What was a typical day like at Nick Studios?

Very easygoing and fun.  We’d read or rehearse, and we all got along nicely together.  Tape days were exciting, with our live, lively audiences.  The show was all about goofball comedy hi-jinks, so laughter abounded and people seemed to love it.

3. How much fun was it filming the opening sequence at Universal Studios and meeting Coolio?

I wasn’t there for that part of the taping, and had only heard of Coolio!  At first, it seemed odd to me that a rapper not involved with the show was starring in the opening sequence.  It made more sense after I saw it.  I thought he and the theme song were great.

4. Do you remember other shows being filmed where you were at?

There were a few, like a children’s show that an old college friend, puppeteer Rick Lyon, was involved with.  Don’t remember the name of it, though.

5. Have you ever been slimed?

No!  Managed to escape that.  They had a live show for studio visitors, performed a few times a day that included an audience member being slimed.  When my nephew Andy visited from New Jersey (along with my niece Ali), he was chosen to be slimed.  He hated it, and cried afterwards.  I don’t recommend it!

6 Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida?

Yeah, umm…no.  They were all just fine, but I don’t remember them.

7. What was one of the good things about living/working in Orlando?

So easy to get around.  Most of the people were very nice, and there was an upbeat, fun quality to the area.

8. There were so many memorable episodes from the series such as “I Dropped the screw in the tuna” or “the hollywood episode? Which episode stands out to you?

My favorite episode came later — the one wherein my mean brother comes to visit.  I did double-duty that week, playing both characters.  A good challenge, and much fun.  I also enjoyed an episode wherein the President visits the store.  My best line came when the President said hello to me, and all I could respond with was, “I have a radio in my car.”  For some reason, it was the one line of mine that the fans seem to remember the most.

9. If you had to pick out one flaw about Nickelodeon Studios what would it be?

There was a TV monitor outside the dressing area that had a goofy Nickelodeon cartoon character singing a very annoying jingle.  It ran on a loop and they wouldn’t turn it off!  Otherwise, no complaints.

10. I always hear positive stories about the Florida staff. How great were everyone that you worked with down there?

Very.  They were all supportive and professional.

11. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?

I was friendly with Ken Foree for years, though we’ve sort of lost touch.  It happens.  I’m still good friends, though, with producer Dan Schneider, and I’m directing episodes of his newest show, “Sam & Cat.”

12. Was there a bit of a difference between filming in Florida then when the show moved to Nick on Sunset in Cali?

Much easier to film at Nick on Sunset, but only because I live out here!  And two nieces I have who live out here, too, were the perfect age for the show — so they often came to the live tapings and looooooved it.  That made it all so much more worth it.

13. Any upcoming projects you can tell us about you’re working on.

Three offhand: I just finished writing an animated screenplay about a scrawny parrot, I’ve been teaching acting, and there’s the previously mentioned TV directing.  I love being on the other side of the camera!

14. Nick Studios had plenty of hangout spots between the gak kitchen, dressing room, and make up room. Where was your favorite area to be?

On the set, working!  Loved playing Chris, and helping Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell make people laugh.

15. How do you feel knowing that the show and the rest of 80s and 90s Nickelodeon made a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?

That’s a very nice thought, so thank you.  It makes me feel great to have been part of a project with strong lasting-power.

16. Any behind the scenes or fan moments that happened on set at the studio you can recall (studio tour,live audience)?

My favorite fan moment happened at a mall in Los Angeles.  A kid, shopping with his parents in a department store, kept staring at me while I thumbed through some shirts.  He couldn’t figure out where he knew me from, and I could tell it was driving him batty!  I just smiled, said hello, and moved on.  Half an hour later, I was walking to my car in the outside parking lot, and there he was, walking with his parents.  He stared at me again, and it suddenly dawned on him.  He lit up and he yelled to me, “You have a radio in your car!” — in the same sing-songy way that I’d said it on the show.  I laughed hard, and his parents looked on, totally confused.  It was a great moment.

17. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and iconic?

The people who worked there really cared about the shows and network.  They hit the right chords at the right moments, using the right talent to do so.  It’s one of those lucky combinations of things that can just happen.

18. It’s been 8 years now and alot of people miss it but would you like to see it reopened if it should?

Of course!

Thank you Dan for the wonderful interview for the project. Loved hearing your story and you supporting Nick Studios!  I have a page for updates to the project and the final version put there. You are welcome to “like” it. https://www.facebook.com/NickStudiosPastPresentandFuture

You’re very welcome.