Almost everyone who grew up in the 1980s and '90s remembers those classic Nickelodeon game shows - Double Dare, Finders Keepers, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and GUTS. The silly televised contests were exclusively made to entertain kids and featured fun games, rewarding prizes, and often lots of slime. But what was it really like to try out, compete, or be a member of the studio audience during one of the shows?
Check out these Redditors who participated in one of the classic Nickelodeon game shows and lived to tell all the secrets. What does slime really taste like? Why do some families get selected to compete on television over others? And what giant caveat comes with winning prizes?
The 'GUTS' Set Had An Enormous Wardrobe Of Plain Colored Shirts
From Redditor /u/Rowdybob22:
My brother and I, while at universal Orlando in early 2000 or maybe 2001, got chosen from the park to be on a short GUTS show/commercial break game or something where we were going to shoot free throws on their driveway/garage looking studio inside Nickelodeon. We go inside and see some awesome sets for the live shows and then get taken to the waiting room, which was basically a... '90s Nickelodeon dreamland. Video games and wacky decor. Can’t remember a whole lot, but they didn’t let me wear the shirt I had on and took me into the enormous wardrobe room and gave me a baggy plain red shirt. I felt like an idiot, I must’ve been 9 or 10. We go into the set and they tell me that I was too young to play so my brother played some free throws game with 3 other kids and I got to be the kid who rebounded the balls and passed them back. We didn’t win anything but later we both got letters from Nickelodeon with our names on them that I bragged about until I grew up and didn’t watch Nickelodeon anymore.
The Slime Tasted Like Apple Sauce
From Redditor /u/joeskellington:
In 2001, I was on Slime Time Live. I got slimed in the big chair and won Shrek on VHS (which is my all-time prized possession). My family was on a trip to Orlando for Disney and Universal, and I was dead set on making it on to the show. I forced my family to go to the park as soon as they opened so we could run over to the famed Nickelodeon Studios and figure out how to get on the show. I had made a t-shirt before the trip and everything, covered in Nicktoon Characters and big letters that read "Slime Me!"
As we were entering the park, my mom was giving me the whole spiel, how lots of kids want to be on it and how I shouldn't be disappointed if we don't make it on. I never heard the end of what she was saying, because as security was checking her purse, I saw a lady with a clipboard in a Nickelodeon t-shirt, and bolted towards her. I ran up to her and asked "Are you from Slime Time Live? Look at my shirt, I want to be on Slime Time Live!" In reality, she was clearly just a PA, but to this day, I see her as a god. They signed me and my sister up, and told us to come back in a few hours. So we went through the park, hit all the classics (RIP Back to the Future: The Ride). Once it was time for the show, they brought us backstage, where we changed into our jumpsuits and got ready for filming. My sister did one of the minigames, but her team didn't end up winning. Like I said, I managed to get in the big chair, and got paired with a kid on the phone who, luckily, got those matching game numbers just right. I couldn't believe it. Before I could even process what was about to happen, I witness Dave Azer was yelling to slime me-- my life was forever changed, and the bucket tipped over.
During 'Legends Of The Hidden Temple,' Kids Were Told The Episode's Legend Multiple Times
From Redditor /u/benevolent_jerk:
I was on LotHT. I was on the very young end of the 11-14 range, having just turned 11 a few months prior. The puberty gap was huge and some of these kids were much stronger than me.
I watched the show religiously to prepare and then I got handed the most difficult moat crossing I'd ever seen. Fell in multiple times, the fog made it kind of hard to breath. It took a really long time for one of the last 3 teams to get across the moat (which they reduced significantly in editing).
I went back to the dressing room and they were prepping the next 4 teams with the story for the Steps of Knowledge. I think they heard it at least 3x read to them and get a copy to internalize. Leaving this scene was surreal and I was already struggling to deal with it. I didn't yet realize the huge letdown experience was going to lead me into a bit of a depression.
I remember arguing with the kid from the Red Jaguars about whether O.J. was guilty, changing out of my wet clothes, visiting the biggest McDonalds in Orlando and then driving home with my parents.
I got a $50 savings bond in the mail maybe three months later and I never redeemed it. My episode aired and we taped it, but now the YouTube version of the episode is actually higher quality - it just doesn't have the commercials from the original era.
Some Had To Fake Being A 'Real' Family
From Redditor /u/satyricom:
My family tried out for Family Double Dare in Philadelphia. It was a disaster, as my parents were divorced, my brother was a sullen teen who was mortified to be there. I was the only one obsessed with the show, so I guess the rest of the family was there for me (which I still appreciate to this day). We had to do family team type games, and I guess act like we thought a “real” family acts like (or at least one they would put on TV). I remember feeling like we weren’t convincing anyone. When we did trivia, I blurted our answers over everyone else (not demonstrating being a team player). Needless to say we didn’t get a call back