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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Double Dare!

I dare you.  Go on.  I really mean it.  I DARE YOU!

Yeah, well...I DOUBLE DARE YOU!


I sometimes chuckle over some of the stupid, ill-thought out dares that we all seemed to be tempted with in our youth.  I mean it, some of those dares that we were faced with were incredibly foolish and probably could have gotten us killed had the slightest thing gone wrong.

The funny thing is that these dares were handled in completely different ways, and I think it all had to do with what gender one was.

Not that I would know anything about what happens at slumber parties hosted by eleven year old girls or anything, but one popular game that seems to top the list of any entertainment suggestions for these slumber parties is the classic getting to know you game known as 'Truth Or Dare'.

Now, there's always the option for people to tell the truth about themselves, but I can only imagine that most would probably take the dare option.  Because I think most kids probably had the idea that squirting shaving cream down the front of a pajama top would be less of a social faux pas than having a secret spread through school as a result of someone choosing the 'truth' option.

Or, whatever dares eleven year old girls come up with during slumber parties.  Do girls even HAVE slumber parties anymore?

But those were girls.  If you were a boy, like I was, our dares could be much more crazy, wild, and just plain stupid in comparison.

What was worse would be the so called 'Double Dares'.  As if a dare wasn't...well...daring enough, 'Double Dares' were the kings of all dares.  If one were to accomplish a 'Double Dare', they would have the absolute respect of everyone else who was around to witness the dare.

Only in 99.9% of all cases where someone is asked to perform a 'Double Dare', there usually aren't any witnesses as the gutless wonders tend to make themselves scarce, and before you know it, you're standing in the middle of a school cafeteria weraring only your underwear and a touque.

(No, the above situation did NOT happen to me...just describing a possible scenario one might find themselves in by performing a 'Double Dare'.)

Truth be told, I never really got into the whole idea of taking dares.  Truthfully, the only dare I took part in where I got in trouble was back in kindergarten.  I was dared by a classmate of mine to take every single puzzle on the puzzle table and pour them all out into the box with all the blocks inside of them.

Guess who got ratted out to the teacher by the one who dared me to do it in the first place?  And guess who spent the whole playtime hour putting EVERY puzzle back together again?

Oh, I was angry.  But, you know, it WAS my doing, so I took the punishment like a...boy.  I got my revenge though.  The very next day, I tried to bury the kid in the sandbox.  I got in trouble yet again, but that time was worth every grain of sand I used!

I swear, I usually don't advocate revenge in my adult life, but back when I was five years old, it was every boy for themselves!

But you know, all this talk about 'Double Dares' got me thinking about a children's game show that used to air on Nickelodeon years ago...a little over 25 years ago, to be exact.  It was a show that like those childhood days of daring classmates to do silly things for fun, teams of two would compete against each other to answer trivia questions and perform stunts that were usually messy and gross.

As it so happens, the name of the show also happens to be the title of this blog post.

The game show 'Double Dare' is the subject of this blog entry.

Premiering on the then-fledgling cable network, Nickelodeon, on October 6, 1986, 'Double Dare' was a game show hosted by Marc Summers.  Yet, this blogger admits that he had never seen an episode of 'Double Dare' until YouTube came around.  Why was this?  Because our cable package that we subscribed to back in those days never carried Nickelodeon, so I missed out on the whole 'Double Dare' experience the first time around.  It didn't really matter too much back then, as we did have the similar show 'Fun House' that aired roughly around the same time.

The more that I watch it now though, the more I realize that I missed out.

The fact that Geoffrey Darby was listed as one of the creators of the program should have been a good sign that the show would be a good one.  Darby also was a key player behind the scenes of 'You Can't Do That On Television', which was one of my all-time favourite television shows.

And just like 'You Can't Do That On Television', the show 'Double Dare' thrived on its messiness.  And considering that host Marc Summers was battling symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder during the filming of the show, the fact that Marc often dove right into the messy stunts himself says a lot about how committed he was to the show as host!

So, before I go on, why don't I post a link to a classic Double Dare episode.  This was an episode that aired 25 years ago, in the year 1987.

So, as you can see, the show launches straight into a challenge between two teams (one in red, one in blue).  It wouldn't be a very hard challenge.  It usually was something like undressing out of a bulky costume, or popping as many balloons as you could (which I'll admit to muting the sound out during that segment).  The winning team would win a cash prize which would count towards their total.

The game would then begin.  The host would ask a trivia question in a variety of subjects.  In most cases, the questions would be easy.  If they got it right, more money would be added to the team's total.  If there was a question that stumped them, and they had the belief that the question was one that the other team wouldn't know either, that team could dare the other team to answer the question for double the money.  But, there was a risk involved with that.  The team could 'Double Dare' the team right back for four times the original dollar amount.  And then the team would be forced to either answer the question, or perform a physical stunt for the money.  Regardless of what decision was made, if they win, they win the money.  They lose, they lose the money.  It was just that simple.

Of course, most people would agree that the physical stunts made it more fun to watch than listening to people answer trivia questions.

At the end of two rounds, the cash totals were tallied up, and the team that had the highest total would go to the bonus round, which was a gigantic obstacle course that was filled with disgusting and messy stunts.  The course would have eight sections to them, and each team had to complete the course in sixty seconds or less.  So, each obstacle roughly had to be completed in seven and a half seconds.  It could be done though.  All teams had to do was find the hidden flag in each section.  If the team could grab all eight flags, they would win the grand prize, which was usually some sort of vacation.  But there were smaller prizes for completing each individual obstacle, plus the money that was won earlier in the game.

In short, you could win quite the treasure trove of goodies!

The show became a huge hit for Nickelodeon.  By 1987, Nickelodeon's viewership tripled as a result of the show, and a couple of successful spin-offs were released as a result.

In 1987, 'Double Dare' became Super Sloppy Double Dare, which played out just like the regular version, only with bigger prizes and even sloppier stunts!  Check out this obstacle course from 1989 to see what I mean!

And in 1988, a version known as 'Family Double Dare' began airing, and this version was one where families would compete against each other for cash and prizes.  And, here's an episode from 1992.

Sadly, all good things had to come to an end, and the Double Dare franchise wrapped up for good in 1993 after a seven-year-run...

...or DID it?

In January 2000, the show was revived on Nickelodeon.  Although the host had changed (Jason Harris was the host of the new show), Marc Summers remained on the program as a creative consultant.  Although the show was more or less the same as the original version (even recycling some of the obstacles from the 1980s run), it did provide fans of a new generation a chance to take part and watch what the generation before them had.  Sadly, this new version didn't have as much staying power, only running until November of the same year.  But, just for reference, here's an episode of Double Dare 2000 for your viewing pleasure.

You know though...I know that Marc Summers is 60 years old now, and is busy with his Unwrapped show on the Food Network, but you know, Double Dare celebrated its 25th anniversary in October 2011.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind seeing another revival.  Heck, I'd be happy if the Game Show Network aired the reruns of the old shows.  After all, I did miss the original run.

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