Interesting Facts About ‘Camp Nowhere’

Camp Nowhere debuted in theaters 20 years ago this month so it’s as good a time as any to revisit the 1994 movie about a group of kids who create their own summer camp with the help of a former middle school drama teacher and almost get away with an entire summer of junk food, water gun fights and limited adult supervision at a place they come to know as Camp Nowhere. Here’s 20 interesting facts about the film, which made its debut on Aug. 26, 1994.

Jessica Alba’s debut

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Actress Jessica Alba made her screen debut in the movie as Gail but if you blink at all you might miss her.

Fictional camps galore

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Camp Nowhere’s campers were originally going to Camp Microchippewa, Camp Slenderella, Camp Steelgrave and Camp Broadway before Dennis Van Welker (Christopher Lloyd) talks their parents into sending them to Binary Pines Computer Camp, Camp Sleek-a-way, Camp Alpha Charlie and Shakespeare Hollow instead.

Golden Oak Ranch

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Camp Nowhere was filmed at Golden Oak Ranch in Newhall, California, which is also where the Mickey Mouse Club summer camp serial The Adventures of Spin & Marty was filmed.

Yellow Gremlin

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Van Welker bought his Caribbean Yellow Gremlin from Rasmussin GMC Jeep in Columbus, Ohio, but only made five of the 48 payments on it.

Chez Cheese

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Van Welker works at Chez Cheese in the mall at the beginning of the movie selling Easy Cheese. A postcard bill collector T.R. Polk later finds on the store’s bulletin board lists Pittsfield, PA as the location of the mall.

Lake Shamokin

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When some of the campers go into town with Van Welker, you can spot a banner for a BBQ in Lake Shamokin. Lake Shamokin is in South Carolina.

Pineview Air Force Base

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Camp Nowhere is located near the Pineview Air Force base.

Camp Microchippewa

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Camp Microchippewa costs $3,000 for the summer, $4,600 in today’s dollars.

The Beach Boys’ Endless Summer

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The back of The Beach Boys’ 1974 album Endless Summer can be spotted by the record player in Van Welker’s cabin.

Drinking Age

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When Zack (Andrew Keegan) tries to buy beer at Howie’s grocery store with his fake ID, he’s told by the clerk that the drinking age is 19. Ohio was the last state in the U.S. to have a drinking age of 19 when it was raised to 21 in 1987.

Camp Nowhere and Heavyweights connection

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The actor who plays the clerk at Howie’s is Patrick LaBrecque, who played Dawson in the 1995 summer camp movie Heavyweights.

Burgess Meredith

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Actor Burgess Meredith made one of his last appearances on film in the movie as Fein, the owner of the camp property. He was 86 at the time and died three years later.

Mad Magazine

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Van Welker is reading a copy of Mad magazine from February 1994 with Beavis and Butthead on the cover in the store when Zack is trying to buy beer.

Heather DeLoach, aka Bee Girl

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Heather DeLoach, who played the camper Eileen in the movie, was the Bee Girl in Blind Melon’s 1992 music video “No Rain.”

Kate Mulgrew, aka Red

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Trish Prescott’s mom Rachel is played in the movie by Kate Mulgrew, who is Red on the Netflix show Orange Is the New Black.

Jonathan Jackson, aka Avery Barkley

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Mud is played in the movie by Jonathan Jackson, who stars on ABC’s Nashville as Avery Barkley.

Silence of the Lambs, the musical

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Van Welker used to teach drama at Martin Luther King Junior High School, where he tried to do Silence of the Lambs as a musical.

Christopher Lloyd and Thomas Wilson

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Christopher Lloyd and Thomas Wilson also appeared together in the Back to the Future movies, Wilson as Biff Tannen and Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown.

Lord Jim

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Betty is reading the book Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad when Walter sprays her with his water gun.

Popcorn Omelet

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Early trailers for the film showed a popcorn omelet being made but it was later removed from the film and the trailer. You can see the scene HERE.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

1 Comment

  1. Believe it or not, I remember going to an audition agency when I was younger. and it was for this, of course, I did get the part but at the same time I screwed up, I freaked out and lashed out because I was 3 or 4 years old, But I have “high functioning autism and ADHD, also Bipolar.” I remember meeting all of these people, They won’t remember me now that I’m older. “Look it was a long time ago, but I thought you guys should know.”

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