If you couldn’t tell, I’ve got a soft spot for old Nickelodeon shows. Some, like Are You Afraid of the Dark, age quite well and I get to write about them without saying a negative thing. Others, like Legends of the Hidden Temple, age less than gracefully and I’m forced to shout it from up on high. What does this have to do with Halloween? Well, I’ve found a Halloween themed episode of Double Dare from 1986. Needless to say, I expect great things.
Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqcQ-2Vamu4&feature=youtu.be
-We begin, as always, we Marc Summers kicking off the first physical challenge. Today, he’s dressed like a Dracula and speaking with a terrible accent.
-After he says go, the two pairs of kids, dressed in really poor attempts at Halloween costumes begin disrobing. The challenge here is to be the first switch costumes with your partner. The team on the right waits around for 30 seconds before they realize Marc has said “GO!”
-Needless to say, the team on the left wins. Marc Summers seems annoyed with the whole process. I find myself annoyed by the fact that the team on the right not only took forever to complete such a simple task, but one of them managed to put part of the costume on inside out.
-Anyways, it’s time to meet our teams. Remember, this was before Family Double Dare, so it was just two pairs of kids. This was also before they decided to differentiate between the teams and have one dress in blue. Introducing team #1, Chris and Colleen, The Corncobs.
-And introducing team #2, also known as the idiots who managed to fuck up putting on clothes, Chris and Kelly, The Ghouls.
-Now it’s time to start the trivia portion of the show, remember one team gets asked a question, if they don’t know they answer, they say “Dare” and it’s asked to the other team. If the second team doesn’t know the answer they say “Double Dare” and it goes back to the original team. If the original team still doesn’t know the answer, they can elect to do a “Physical Challenge” and play a game to try and win the money. I’ll probably only be covering the questions they don’t know the answers to and the physical challenges that result.
-It takes all of two questions for us to reach a physical challenge, because neither team knows in which fantasy movie you would find The Bog of Eternal Stench. It’s Labyrinth you idiots! How are you not familiar with the works of David Bowie?!
-I forgot how amazingly low budget Double Dare originally was. The challenge is called “Devil’s Advocate” and involves one teammate being blindfolded and attempting to pop 5 balloons with a plastic pitchfork, while the other teammate directs them. It’s about as exciting as it sounds.
-They succeed, because Colleen essentially just grabs the pitchfork and pops the balloons herself. These were lawless times in Nickelodeon Studios; this kind of bullshit wouldn’t happen on Guts.
-We go almost immediately back to a physical challenge because no one knows what a ghost writer does. I can cut them some slack on that one I suppose.
-Keeping with the low budget theme, the next physical challenge has Chris and Colleen digging through a cauldron to find two pairs of Groucho Marx glasses. Amazingly, they succeed.
-This time we do immediately go back to a physical challenge as neither team can answer this complex math question.
-More low budget physical challenge fun, as Chris and Colleen play a game of ring toss involving a witch’s hat. They fail miserably as Colleen’s throws have no accuracy and Chris, for some reason, refuses to tilt his head forward.
-Halfway through the show, The Ghouls finally have money on the board thanks to the Corncob’s failure.
-If you thought we couldn’t go any lower budget, you’d be wrong. The beginning of round two involves both teams trying to roll an apple across the stage using only their noses.
-The Corncobs continue their absolute destruction of The Ghouls and win again. Meanwhile, Marc Summers quietly sheds his vampire cloak.
-First question out of the gate, and we’re back to a physical challenge, because none of the kids know who The Psychedelic Furs are. Okay, I can’t fault them for that one.
-This physical challenge involves one teammate being blindfolded and having to find gummy worms in cream pies, while the other teammate directs their head. It seems like they’ve left the gummy worms in the exact same position in each pie, because they finish the challenge in about 10 seconds flat.
-We mercifully reach the end of Round Two without any more physical challenges. Final score: Corncobs, 340, Ghouls, 80. Don’t feel too bad for them though, they each go home with $50, a collection of board games, skittles and You Can’t Do That on Television brand Green Slime Shampoo.
-Alright, now is a good time to start watching the episode, as it’s time for the Obstacle Course. It begins at the 17:38 mark, and Summers will do a much better job of describing the obstacles than I will. In fact, I’m just going to name them and the prize they win for completing it.
-Up first, The Tire Swing, renamed “The Spider Web” for the occasion. Completing it gets them a $75 gift certificate to Toys ‘R Us. In 1986, $75 at Toy ‘R Us was like $75,000.
– Second is “Ghost Bed-sters” an obstacle that appears to involve simply crawling across a water bed. If they complete it they get a Sony Walkman.
– Third, “The Terror Tank” which is just a tank full of balloons. If they some how manage to get through that, they win a skateboard. A 1986 super wide skateboard.
-Obstacle four is “The Pumpkin Patch” where they must find a flag in one of three pumpkins. Completing it wins them an answering machine. Yep, seriously.
-Next up, “Graveyard Trike” where they must ride a tricycle through a sandbox. If they do it successfully, the win a portable TV, which may be the most pathetic electronic product I’ve ever seen.
-Sixth obstacle is “Trick Or Treat” a dressed up version of the fire pole, where they must climb a slide, reel in bags from a clothesline, find the flag and slid down a pole. Finishing it means they get a CD Player, which I imagine was a huge deal in 1986.
-Seventh is “Witch Wall” where they have to simply climb over a small wall. Once they complete it, they win a stereo.
-The final obstacle is “Bat Wheel” a dressed up version of the Hamster Wheel, and likely where most of the show’s budget was spent. Run in the wheel till all the lights light up, grab the flag and win the grand prize…A trip to Disney World! Shown in the absolute least exciting way possible: showing a picture of the hotel they’ll be staying at, and nothing more.
-Tragically, they lose most of their time on “Trick Or Treat” when Chris struggles to make it up the slide and then has to pull in all three bags to find the flag. No Disney World for you kids, but you do get that embarrassing portable television!
Wow, this is a far cry for the ridiculousness of Super Sloppy Double Dare, when Marc Summers couldn’t go five minutes without being covered in some sort of crap. Low budget Double Dare is mildly depressing, given how much fun the later versions of the show were. There wasn’t one instance of them having to make some manner of giant cookie! The Halloween theme also wasn’t instrumented very well. Being that the network and the show were both in their infancy, I think I can let it slide. I’m disappointed because I distinctly remember an episode that involved Frankenstein’s monster in some way, and I thought for sure it would be this one. I must say, I do very much enjoy that no matter how low budget the obstacle course is, they still found a way for it to be damn near impossible to finish. These kids didn’t have to contend with The Pipeline, Kid Farm or even the dreaded Pick It, and they still couldn’t complete it! Nickelodeon would not give out trips to Disney or Space Camp without a fight, that’s for sure.
I’m not sure if I’ll get a post up tomorrow between football and the premiere of The Walking Dead, but we’ll see.