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'Memories are so fresh': Looking back at Corner Gas, 20 years after its debut

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Jan. 22, 2004, remains a fateful day in Saskatchewan. As it marks the original debut of the hit sitcom Corner Gas.

Series creator and star Brent Butt caught up with CTV News to chat on the 20th anniversary of the story of Dog River, a typical Saskatchewan small town with “not a lot goin’ on.”

According to the comic, the last two decades have flown by.

“In a lot of ways, no it doesn't. I mean everything hurts. My hip hurts, my back hurts. In that way, I buy that it's been 20 years,” he remarked. “But also the memories are so fresh in my head. The memories of going to work every day and making this show with these amazing people is so fresh.”

The original series ran for six seasons and 107 episodes – spawning a movie as well as an animated series – which ran for four seasons.

“We all left that table read thinking, ‘Wow, I think this could I think this could be really good.’ The cast was amazing. I think the scripts were really well done. It just felt like at least we're going to make a good show whether or not anybody will watch. Who knows?” Butt explained.

“Certainly none of us expected that it was going to be this big, sort of juggernaut that millions of people watched.”

The series has aired in 60 countries and racked up a multitude of awards during its run.

Looking back Butt says his advice to his younger self in 2004 would be simple.

“I would say buckle up, buddy,” he laughed. “You're not going to believe what's happening. Because like I said, we didn't know that this show was going to have the success that it had and that it was going to resonate with people across the country and beyond.”

With years worth of fond memories on the set and with fellow cast members – Butt said there’s one moment at the very beginning of production that continues to stick out in his mind.

“We did the scouting and we selected the area where we were going to build the gas station. A few weeks later, I came back to that spot to sort of look at the construction of the site that was going on,” he explained.

“There was probably 20 guys building this structure and I thought to myself, ‘Oh man, this has got to work. There's no going back now, we've built the building,’” he laughed.

“So that moment really hit me. There was some gravity to that moment.”

The cast and crew of Corner Gas on location in Rouleau, Sask. (Source: Cornergas.com)

According to Butt, the series helped forge a family between the cast and crew.

“It really became familial. It's kind of a cliché you hear people say that all the time but we really became like a family and we still are to this day,” he said.

And it’s a family that simply wanted to do a good job – all the rest being extra.

“We just wanted to make a show that we were proud of,” Butt added. “The fact that it connected with a lot of people. That was just that was a real surprise. But a wonderful surprise.”

Butt’s full conversation can be viewed using the video player at the top of this story.

--With files from Sabeen Ahmad

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