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Video: Since '82, friends recreate photo every 5 years

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    >>> back at 7:49 with a story of friendship amid troubling news. a friendship that stands the test of time.

    >> the pictures to prove it. it started with teenagers at a cabin at copco lake in 1982 . they made a pact to take the same shot every five years. as you can see, they have kept that promise. here is john wardlaw, john molony and john dickson , good morning to you. how does it feel to be an internet sensation. are you surprised at the reaction this has had, john?

    >> we're a bit stunned. it's a bit surreal.

    >> back in 1982 when you took the first picture, you had no intention of creating a tradition.

    >> no.

    >> not at all.

    >> so when you look back at that very first picture, five high school friends, what do you guys think when you see it.

    >> oh my god, that's a dorky picture.

    >> i see you guys dropped the shirtless thing in the early '90s.

    >> that's a must as you get older.

    >> i mentioned five friends. take me back to high school . what group were you in? were you the jocks, the cool kids?

    >> the nerds.

    >> we were do our own thing kind of guys, made movies.

    >> computer geeks .

    >> did great movies on weekends.

    >> we did our own thing. made movies programmed on the first pcs out there.

    >> computers had just started coming out. just normal high school students really.

    >> wedge, can i call you wedge, you were kind of the keeper of this tradition, right? you're the guy that gets these guys together every five years.

    >> john took the first one, j.d. took the first one. five years later when we were all there i said, hey, we're all here again. let's take the photo again. we started the five year tradition.

    >> as you look at the passage of time through these photos, who changed the most?

    >> mark.

    >> who is the most like the picture in 1982 .

    >> people say dallas .

    >> why dallas ?

    >> no gray hair.

    >> still has his hair.

    >> i don't know. i've looked exactly the same since i was a child.

    >> it's interesting because it tells the story of friendship. of course, you have changed. not just physically but you've changed inside, too. i'm sure there have been disagreements over the years. but somehow you've risen above it. dallas .

    >> like any group of people, when you're really close and you go through life, you're kind of interests changed and that sort of thing. sometimes we get irritated with each other. especially the first year we spent a month at that cabin fishing, doing all sorts of stuff. we got on each other's nerves. nobody talked to each other for half an hour, really like two months, three months.

    >> i think it's emotional to look at. when is the next one to be taken.

    >> 2017 .

    >> raise your hand if you'll be there.

    >> oh yeah.

    >> you were a little slow

By
TODAY contributor
updated 8/14/2012 11:27:26 AM ET 2012-08-14T15:27:26

Image: Five friends John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, John Dickson take the same photo together, every 5 years since 1982
TODAY
The first recreation, in 1987...

A story of friendship that spans decades has the pictures to prove it. It all started with one photo of five teenagers at a cabin in Capco Lake in northern California back in 1982.

Video: Since '82, friends recreate photo every 5 years (on this page)
Iamge: Five friends John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, John Dickson take the same photo together, every 5 years since 1982
TODAY
...in 1992.

They made a pact to take the exact same photo every five years and they have kept that promise. The friends, in order of how they appear in the photo from left to right, are John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, and John Dickson.

Image: Five friends John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, John Dickson take the same photo together, every 5 years since 1982
TODAY
...in 1997.

Molony is always pictured holding a jar, in homage to that first photo where he held a Folgers Instant Coffee container that was being used to house a cockroach the guys had decided to keep as a mascot.

The pals appeared on TODAY Tuesday to tell the tale behind the photo. Wardlaw told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie that the popularity of the pictures, which have gone viral online, has "shocked" the group.

TODAY
...in 2002.

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Wardlaw, who was nicknamed “Wedge” in the eighties for his skinny frame and buzz cut, keeps the crew together. The cabin belongs to his family and he grew up going fishing there with his grandfather. The first trip the five guys took together was a special one because it was the first time his family let him go without adult supervision.

Image: Five friends John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, John Dickson take the same photo together, every 5 years since 1982
TODAY
...in 2007.
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It was Wardlaw’s idea to take the second photo five years after the first, and he suggested they mirror that first photo Dickson had taken.

Image: Five friends John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, John Dickson take the same photo together, every 5 years since 1982. This is their 30 year photo for 2012
TODAY
...and in 2012.

“Five years later when we were all there I said, 'Hey, we’re all here again. Let’s take this photo again.’ That started the five-year tradition,” he told TODAY.

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According to the group, Rumer has changed the most, and Burney has changed the least. “I’ve looked exactly the same since I was a child,” Burney said.

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No matter the changes (or lack of them), the group has remained friends.

“Like any group of people, when you’re really close and you go through life, your interests change and and that sort of thing, so sometimes we get irritated with each other,” Rumer said. “Especially that first year we spent like a month at that cabin doing all sorts of stuff and we got on each other’s nerves. So nobody talked to each other for like half an hour.”

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The friends spoke regularly in the years between the photos, and a few of the guys have gone up to the cabin during that time. All of them still live out west, except for Molony, who lives in New Orleans.

This year, they took the latest shot. For the next photo, which will be taken in 2017, all plan on attending, once again.

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