Double Dare is a children's game show, originally hosted by Marc Summers, that aired on Nickelodeon. The show combines trivia questions with occasionally messy "physical challenges". It is often credited with putting the then-fledgling network on the map, and ranked #29 in TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest Game Shows of All Time.
The show originated from the WHYY-TV studios in Philadelphia in 1986. In 1987, the show temporarily moved to New York City for a special weekend edition called Super Sloppy Double Dare. The show returned to Philadelphia in 1988; by then, Viacom syndicated the show to independent stations & affiliates of the young Fox network. Beginning in January 1989, more episodes of Super Sloppy Double Dare were produced, during which time Nickelodeon began airing reruns of the previous year's syndicated episodes.
Tapings began in Philadelphia, but later that year was moved to Universal Studios in Orlando. The show moved to Nickelodeon Studios in 1990, where it then became Family Double Dare, and it remained that until its cancellation in 1992. The final episodes aired in 1993.
Reebok was a major sponsor of the show throughout its run, and every contestant and stage crew member (including Summers) wore a pair of the company's shoes.
The show begins with Marc Summers saying, "On your mark, get set, GO!" As the teams raced to complete a toss-up challenge, the announcer would quickly explain the challenge, then introduce the show. Only when one team completed it would the announcer then introduce Marc Summers.
Two teams of two kids each competed for cash and prizes. Originally, both teams wore red uniforms, but after Double Dare's syndication began in 1988, one team began wearing blue uniforms.
Host Marc Summers typically explained the rules of the game as follows:
"I'm going to ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, or think the other team 'hasn't got a clue', you can dare them to answer it for double the dollars. But be careful, because they can always double dare you back for four times the amount, and then you'll either have to answer the question or take the physical challenge."
Each round began with a toss-up challenge in which both teams competed. The winner won some money and control of the round. Summers would begin the round by asking trivia questions to the team that won control in the toss-up challenge. A correct answer would earn money and maintain control of the round; an incorrect response would give the other team control and, if a Dare/Double Dare was in play, the money as well.
Double Dare and Super Sloppy Double Dare
|Round||Toss-Up||Normal Question||Dare||Double Dare|
Family Double Dare (1988)
|Round||Toss-Up||Normal Question||Dare||Double Dare|
Family Double Dare (1990-1993) and Double Dare 2000
|Round||Toss-Up||Normal Question||Dare||Double Dare|
Along the way and when on a Double Dare, the team in control can opt to take a Physical Challenge.
Physical challenges were stunts, usually messy, that a team had to perform in a specified time, usually 20 or 30 seconds, although occasionally 10 or 15 seconds. All physical challenges on Double Dare 2000 were 30 seconds in length, unless a time reduction was in play. At one time, a challenge had to be done in 25 seconds.
Most challenges involved filling a container past a line with one of a variety of substances: water, uncooked rice, green slime, whipped cream, and "a milk-like substance", to name a few. Others involved catching a certain number of items before time ran out. For example, during "Pie in the Pants," a contestant had to catch 3 or 4 pies in the specified time limit.
Completing the stunt won the team money and control of the game; otherwise the money and control went to the opposing team.
Double Dare 2000 introduced the "Triple Dare Challenge." Available only in round two, this allowed a team to make their physical challenge more difficult in exchange for triple the dare amount ($300) and a bonus prize. Sometimes this included reducing the time limit (turning a 30-second challenge into a 20 or 25-second one), adding an extra item to the stunt (catching 5 pies instead of 4), or increasing the overall difficulty of the stunt (blindfolding the players). If the team did not successfully complete the challenge, the money, the bonus prize, and control of the game went to their opponents.
The team with the highest score at the end of round two went on to the final challenge of the game, the obstacle course. Regardless of the outcome, both teams keep the money they have obtained with $100 being the house minimum ($200 on Double Dare 2000 and $500 on the FOX version of Family Double Dare).
The course consisted of eight obstacles which had to be completed within sixty seconds. Each obstacle had an orange flag either at the end of or hidden within it. One team member would start at the first obstacle and upon completion, pass its flag to his partner, who would then move on to the second obstacle. The team would continue to alternate like this until they completed the course or until time ran out, whichever came first.
The team won a prize for each obstacle completed. During the Fox run of Family Double Dare, $2,000 in cash (plus $500 each episode until won) was awarded at obstacle #7 in place of a prize, and the eighth flag won the grand prize. In the original and Super Sloppy versions, the grand prize was usually a vacation. In Fox Family Double Dare, as well as the first season of the Nickelodeon run, it was a brand new car. In 1992, it was changed back to a vacation; however, the family that won the tournament held that season had the chance to run the Obstacle Course for a car (see below).
Super Sloppy Double Dare (1987)
The format of Super Sloppy Double Dare copied that of the original program, but the physical challenges and obstacle course were mostly designed with making the biggest mess possible, hence the title. Launched in 1987, it aired on the weekends, on Nickelodeon, and featured a home viewer contest centered around the on-stage physical challenges. This version was filmed at Unitel Studios in New York. One well known special shot during this run was Miami Vice day with the motto "Reeboks...NO SOCKS!".
Super Sloppy Double Dare (1989)
To compete with other children's game shows at the time, the format returned to the air (minus the home viewer contest) in 1989. This newly revamped Super Sloppy Double Dare filmed from WHYY's Forum Theatre for approximately the first 50 episodes, eventually to moving to Universal Studios in Florida to film the approximately 50 remaining episodes of this version. Many special "theme shows" were taped during the 1989 run, including "Salute to Baseball", "Backwards Day", Marc vs. Harvey", and many more.
Since there were two different locations for this one version, there were noticeable set changes between the Philadelphia and Orlando-taped episodes.
In Philadelphia, the timer always displayed "00" when not in use (as typical of the original Double Dare), and the background behind the center stage was colored blue-to-red.
In Orlando, the timer displayed the "Super Sloppy Double Dare" logo when not in use, and turned around to show the timer's digits when needed for a physical challenge/obstacle course (as also done for FOX's Family Double Dare). Also, the contestants' lectern triangles were not lit in the center (this would also mark the last time the lecterns contained the colored triangles for any version of the show). Also, the background color scheme was different.
Family Double Dare
Family Double Dare premiered on Fox on April 3, 1988, and moved to its regular Saturday night slot that week. This version featured two teams of four: two kids with two parents. The same rules used for the regular version of Double Dare applied, but more money was at stake.
Family Double Dare ended its Fox run in July 1988 after 13 episodes. After the first order of episodes were produced, FOX insisted upon producing specials, such as WWF Wrestlers vs. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Since Viacom (Nickelodeon) was in charge of production and wanted to keep it a kid-related show, they refused the idea. When an argument struck between the two stations, Nickelodeon walked out on FOX, ending its production. Nickelodeon resumed production in 1990, and finally canceled it in 1992. Producers taped some new episodes after the cancellation. Summers himself has said about the show, "We could do reruns forever."
The final season of the Nickelodeon run ended with a Tournament of Champions. The two teams with the highest scores of the season, along with the two teams with the fastest obstacle course times, were invited back to participate in the special hour-long final episode in a battle of "Brains vs. Brawn". The two "Brains" (high scoring teams) played each other in a full game of Double Dare sans the Obstacle Course; a full game with the "Brawns" team immediately followed. The winning families from these two games then faced each other in a final full-length game (labeled "Brains vs. Brawn") to determine the grand champion, who won a large trophy and the right to run the Obstacle Course one final time for a car. The winning family, whose team moniker was "Granite Toast", indeed won the car at the end of the show. The final original episode aired in 1993, and Family Double Dare reruns continued up to February 1999 on Nickelodeon. From February 1999 until November 1, 2005 Family Double Dare was on Nick GaS daily. It was also produced by Viacom.
Celebrity Double Dare
A 1988 pilot, Celebrity Double Dare is produced by Ron Greenberg and featured celebrity team captains ; it was hosted by Bruce Jenner, with Bob Hilton announcing. The format was also slightly different: questions had two possible answers, with each team member giving one, and teams did not keep control after correctly answering a question. The obstacle course was basically the same, except the players hit a buzzer after completing each obstacle rather than grabbing a flag, and a new car was the grand prize. The team that made it to the obstacle course on this version won the grand prize. This version was never picked up.
Super Special Double Dare
Super Special Double Dare is a short series of special Double Dare episodes featuring celebrities, sport teams or cast members from other Nickelodeon shows. These episodes used two teams of four contestants, with all winnings going to charity. One Special was NBA All Star Double Dare and the other was just entitled Super Special Double Dare with the Girls from Clarissa/Welcome Freshmen vs. the boys. 2 civilian kids were also on each team. On NBA All Star Double Dare, the team that made it to the obstacle course won the grand prize.
Double Dare 2000
Double Dare 2000 was the revived version of the show, which premiered on January 24, 2000. Jason Harris hosted this version of the show; original host Marc Summers was the executive consultant. Double Dare 2000 followed the Family Double Dare format with a revamped set and bigger physical challenges. It also featured the new "Triple Dare Challenge" option in round two (which would be worth $300 and an additional prize), introduced "goooze", and referred to the obstacle course as the "Slopstacle Course". Five episodes were shot in high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9 as a promotion for sponsor Sony. Double Dare 2000 was cancelled in December 2000. During the "back to" and "up next" bumpers of Double Dare 2000 on Nick GAS, the show's tagline is The Mess For The New Millennium. Currently, Double Dare 2000 is being aired in order according to the original air dates and episode numbers.
A pipe from the "Baked Alaska Pipeline" obstacle from the obstacle course can be seen in the exit area to Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast at Universal Studios Florida. One episode had an all-star battle between stars of the 2000 movie, Snow Day, versus the stars of The Amanda Show. This started the friendship between Drake Bell and Josh Peck, which would lead to Josh joining The Amanda Show as well as their own series, Drake & Josh.
Throughout the show's run, the set maintained a basic structure. The main part of the game was played on a stage with the host's lectern at center and a timer mounted above. The contestant lecterns with scoreboards behind them were set at an angle on either side of the host. Space was provided in front of all the lecterns for physical challenges, and the obstacle course had space in front of that. Over time, aesthetic changes were made to the set, including:
- A glass block wall with lights behind them, similar to those behind the contestants' lecterns, was installed behind the host's lectern in 1988. This first appeared on the Fox run of Family Double Dare, was used during the 2nd half of syndicated run of Double Dare, and remained throughout the run until 1993.
- From 1986-1988, a Red triangle was on the front of both contestant lecterns. When the show entered syndication later in 1988, the triangle on the Blue team's lectern changed to match their respective color. On both the Fox and Nickelodeon versions of Family Double Dare and Super Special Double Dare, the show's logo appeared in the place of a triangle on the contestant lecterns.
- The physical challenge floor was set two steps below the lecterns during the 1989 run of Super Sloppy Double Dare. Episodes taped in Philadelphia had the physical challenge floor on the same level as the obstacle course. When the show moved to Orlando, the physical challenge and obstacle course floors became separated by one step as two different floors, essentially creating a stage with three different levels.
- The original 3-digit triangular scoreboards were tall and featured a vane-style dollar sign underneath the score and was both red. Eventually, the encircled "DD" logo replaced the dollar sign and the scoreboards were slightly shortened, which allowed the contestants and the score to be visible in the same shot. The blue scoreboard was add during the first Super Sloppy Double Dare run and returned at the beginning of the syndicated run of Double Dare to match their respective color. A rectangular, 4-digit scoreboard was introduced in the Fox run of Family Double Dare to accommodate potential scores of $1,000 or more. Nickelodeon's Family Double Dare initially used the 3-digit scoreboards until a team won the game with $1,050.
- The timer rotated on the Fox version of Family Double Dare and in the 1992 season of the Nickelodeon run of Family Double Dare, the Orlando episodes of Super Sloppy Double Dare, and the run of Super Special Double Dare episodes. When not in use, the timer displayed the series logo (earlier, it displayed "00").
The Fox run of Family Double Dare made a few set changes never seen on other versions:
- The timer had no chase lights around the digits.
- The set's chase lights were covered.
- The familiar yellow/purple checkerboard scheme was removed entirely; a confetti scheme replaced it.
- The host and contestant lecterns were all plain yellow, except for the top portions which remained light blue.
Double Dare 2000 featured some notable changes to the set:
- A four-panel video screen was set behind the host's lectern, and was used to display the show logo and the timer.
- The scoreboards were oval-shaped and used light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In early episodes, the studio lights drowned out the LEDs, particularly on the blue team's side. This made the numbers hard to read on screen.
- There were no chase lights on the set. Instead, a wall with randomly placed lights was used behind the host lectern.
- The contestant lecterns were asymmetrical.
All of the original Double Dare music was composed by Edd Kalehoff (coincidentally, he created the theme for the 1976 version of Goodson-Todman's Double Dare) and was basically the same throughout the show's run with some minor changes to the music. From 1986 to 1988, the music had a synth lead. Then, from 1988, starting with Fox Family Double Dare and the 2nd half of the syndicated run of Double Dare, til the end of the run, all of the music was remixed with a horn lead (however, the 1986 variation theme was used for the opening from 1988 to 1990). For Double Dare 2000, the music was composed by Rick Witkowski with a surfer feel for the show; however, the theme song had the same melody from the original.
All episodes and versions of Double Dare still exist, and have been seen on Nick GAS. One episode of the Fox version of Family Double Dare aired on Nick GAS once. However, for the final two years of the channel's existence, the only version of Double Dare to air was Double Dare 2000.
With the conversion of the Nick GAS channel to "the N" on December 31, 2007, Double Dare and all of its revivals' reruns are unavailable.
CBS Paramount Television, the successor to the old Viacom owns all versions of the show, as well as the concept for any future revivals.
Double Dare's popularity led to a variety of products made available for sale.
Games and toys
- Double Dare home game (tie-in with first version of Super Sloppy Double Dare), 1987
- Double Dare LCD handheld games ("Pie in the Pants," "Balloon Buster," and "Flying Sundaes"), 1988
- Double Dare jigsaw puzzle, 1988
- Double Dare computer game (C64, IBM, ZX Spectrum and Apple versions), 1989
- Wet 'n Wild Double Dare home game (tie-in with second version of Super Sloppy Double Dare), 1989
- Double Dare yo-yo, 1989
- Super Sloppy Double Dare pinball machine, 1989
- Double Dare video game (NES), 1990
- Double Dare 2000: the Game (tie-in with Double Dare 2000), 2001
- T-shirts, available in retail stores and on Double Dare Live Tour stops
- belt buckles
- painter's caps, available on Double Dare Live Tour stops
- → Main article: Double Dare videography
- The Double Dare Game Book, by Daniella Burr, 1988
- The All-New Double Dare Game Book, by Daniella Burr, 1989
- Double Dare lunchbox, featuring the Dueling D's on the Sundae Slide, 1988
- Double Dare folders, 1988
- Marc Summers (host 1986-1993; producer 1992; executive consultant 2000)
- John Harvey ("Harvey," announcer, 1986-1992)
- Robin Marella (stage assistant, 1986-1992)
- Dave Shikiar (stage assistant, 1986-1989)
- Greg Lee (contestant coordinator, 1986-1990)
- Doc Holliday (announcer, 1992)
- Jason Harris (host, 2000)
- Tiffany Phillips (announcer, 2000)
- Edd Kalehoff (composer, 1986-1995)
- Rick Witkowski (composer, 2000)
- Brad Barat (talent scout, 1986-1990)
- ↑ The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh