Game show appearing in the 80s (or 80's) (and maybe a bit into the 90s, although my memory fails me on that detail) on the Nickelodeon cable channel. Along with You Can't Do That On Television, popularized green slime.

The show was hosted by Marc Summers. Two opposing teams (originally each team was a boy-girl pair; later on Family Double Dare, entire four-person families got into the act) would be posed trivia questions in turn. The first team could either answer the question for the base amount of money, or dare the other team to answer. The other team could answer (for double the bucks), or double-dare the first team. The first team was then left with the option of answering (quadruple money) or performing some sort of stunt.

The stunts were, of course, the more interesting route. The team was given some challenge to perform. This was almost always incredibly messy. The stunts were varied and included things such as:

  • Person 1, in a giant bin, stomps on liquid-filled balloons. The liquid drains into a cup held on person 2's head. The goal is to fill the cup before time runs out. Obviously, person 2 does not stay dry.
  • Person 1 attempts to toss liquid-soaked sponges at person 2, knocking some various items off of person 2's head. Once again, person 2 does not stay dry.
  • More stunts, generally involving some sort of liquid or green slime or something, and one or more of the team members getting very wet and/or messy.

Such things were taken to an extreme with a later incarnation, Super Sloppy Double Dare.

So when the questions and stunts were over, what happened? The team with the most money was awarded the lovely privilege of running the Double Dare obstacle course. By now you should be able to figure out what the obstacles consisted of. There was a large set of recurring obstacles that the show mixed and matched to produce a different course for each episode. The team members took turns running the ten (?) obstacles and getting extremely messy in the process (which, of course, made it even more difficult to complete later obstacles!). If they could make it through the entire course in the allotted time, they won a nice trip or something.

Since most kids like getting messy anyway, the trip and the cash were just icing on the cake (or on the contestants, as the case may be). All in all, Double Dare was quite the popular kid's show, and definitely responsible in part for Nickelodeon's emergence as the definitive children's network.

The rules of Double Dare:

"I'm going to ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, or think that the other team hasn't got a clue, then you can Dare them to answer for double to dollars. But be careful, because they can always Double Dare you back for four times the amount, and then you have to answer that question or take the Physical Challenge."       --Marc Summers, at the start of every Double Dare.

It was a large joke for the first season that Marc didn't know the rules, because he could not memorize that phrase. He had to read it off of a cue card held by the producer. (The cast teased him that he hosted the game, but didn't know the rules). Eventually one day he shut them all up by reciting the phrase (as quoted above from memory). He never once did mess it up again. Tearing up the cue cards in front of everyone, was his triumphant reward to himself.

There were several other personalities that helped Marc to make Double Dare one of Nickelodeon's bigger successes.
  • Harvey the Announcer - (John) Harvey who started his career primarily as a radio personality, was the original announcer of Double Dare. He quickly got more involved with the show, oftentimes making cameo appearances in the final obstacle course, or helping to demonstrate Physical Challenges.
  • Dave and Robin - The two stage assistants who helped to make sure that the stunts went off without a hitch got more and more involved with the show as time went on. Robin, especially, got more involved and seemed to have an interesting relationship with Marc, where many times they went after each other and demonstrated obstacles and stunts together. They loved to get each other messy, and to get play tricks on one another during stunts.


Double Dare also had a live tour version that I was able to go see some years ago. It was basically an "audience enhanced" version of the studio show, limited for space and such. It was a few hours long, with teams eventually being chosen, and people trying to work together to get the prize. I was able to get front-row seats because my aunt worked for the promoters.

The show now continues with Double Dare 2000 (basically the same format), now hosted by the talented Jason Harris.

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