Pierre Lalonde
Nick Holenreich
CTV: 1978-1985
Champlain Productions
Super People Productions

"In just a few moments, two lucky couples will start on the road to thousands of dollars in cash and prizes on THE MAD DASH! And here's the star of The Mad Dash, PIERRE LALONDE!"

The Mad Dash is the Canadian game show, where contestants run around a huge game board and in the process, win cash & prizes.


Two pairs of contestants competed in a life-sized board game. One member of each pair elected to be the "dasher" who would actually run the life-sized game board, while the "roller" remained at the host's podium. The board was a single winding path segmented into spaces which were marked to indicate the effect of landing on that space. The two dashers began the game at the "start" square of the board with the goal being to reach the "win" space at the other end of the path.

To move them along the board path, a multiple-choice question was asked of the rollers, and the first to buzz in and answer correctly was given a roll of a die. The die had standard pips from 1–5, indicating the number of spaces for the dasher to move, and a "$" symbol, which would add $10 to the team's bank any time it was rolled, and allow another roll. Rolling the "$" three times in a row would add a $50 bonus.

The team whose dasher reached "win" first won any cash or prizes banked during the game. Teams would have to roll the exact number required to land on "win"; a roll higher than the distance to win required the dasher to continue backwards after reaching "win". If the winning team had not banked any prizes, they were given a roll of the die multiplied by $10, or $100 for rolling the "$". Any money was awarded in cash directly after each win. Winning teams returned to play another game, continuing until they were defeated twice or won 10 consecutive games, whichever came first.


Spaces on the board were of various types. Spaces with blue borders banked the prize indicated on the space; if a team landed on a prize they had already banked, they were given an additional roll. Green spaces banked an indicated money amount (or one square which doubled the team's banked money). At one point, the remaining squares were either red or yellow and had an effect on the game itself: Red spaces typically had a negative effect, such as moving backwards, or losing cash or prizes. Yellow spaces were everything else; typically squares which could result in moving forward. The spaces had effect any time they were landed on, whether the dasher was moving forwards or backwards. Some spaces on the board remained constant, while others changed from game to game. In other episodes, additional colours were used for these spaces.

Common spacesEdit

  • Roll Forward - Roller rolls the die for the dasher to move forward.
  • Roll Back - Roller rolls the die for the dasher to move backward.
  • Roll Over - Roller rolls the die for the opposing dasher to move forward.
  • Change Places - The two dashers switch places; the dasher who moved from "Change Places" is deemed to have landed on their new space, and takes its effect.
  • Free Roll - The team gets a free roll.
  • Miss Turn - Opposing team gets a free roll.
  • Back to Start - The player on the board must walk back to the START square.
  • Insurance - The team gets an insurance policy which protects them from any danger of losing either money or prizes.
  • Go Broke - Team loses all their banked cash, but the prizes stay up there. On some episodes, when you have the insurance policy as you land on this space, you put it down on the table or on the floor and they keep the money up there.
  • Return Prizes - Team loses all their banked prizes, but they keep the money up there.
  • Dash - A true-or-false question is asked to the dasher. The roller rolls the die with the dasher moving forward if they gave a correct answer, and backwards if they did not.
  • Breakaway - The roller rolls the die; the dasher is given that many seconds, from one to five, to run freely along the board path towards the "win" space, stopping wherever they are when the time runs out.
  • Dice Game - The player at the table rolls with two dice. If it results in two $ symbols, the team gets $100 and another chance to roll. In addition, the player on the game board path moves the total number shown on the dice.
  • Card Game - The roller draws from an oversized deck of playing cards. The dasher moves forward the number of spaces drawn, with ace being a one, unless a face card is drawn, in which case the roller must roll the die causing the dasher to move backwards.
  • Happy Birthday - The dasher spins two wheels: One wheel has five money amounts and an insurance policy. The other has all the months of the year. The team wins the money spun; if the second wheel stops on the player's birth month, the money is doubled. If the first wheel lands on the insurance policy, they receive a policy which can prevent them from losing cash or prizes later in the game.
  • Pot of Gold - A series of prizes that are instantly won (not banked), win or lose, no matter the outcome of the game.
  • Thin Ice - A true-or-false question is asked to the dasher. If they give a correct answer, they can take a prize from their opponent's bank. If they do not, the opposing team can take one of their banked prizes. If a correct answer is given, but the opponents have no prizes, the team is given the chance to move forward up to five squares, paying $10 per square.
  • Mini-Game – One space on the board requires the dasher to play a set mini-game, and is marked with the name of that game. The mini-games usually required some physical activity, including Shooting Star and The Mad Darts. The mini-game usually had a variety of possible outcomes including affecting either player's banked cash or prizes, position on the board, like Back To Start, or offering bonus rolls, like Roll Forward.
  • Brains or Brawn – The dasher chooses to take either Brains - a question or Brawn - a physical stunt. If one is successful, the roller rolls the die and the dasher moves forward. If you are unsuccessful, it means that the dasher goes back.

Mini DashEdit

If there was too little time to play an additional game at the end of an episode, one or more audience members would be called up, one at a time, to play a Mini Dash. Each played for a different prize, and was offered a choice of five envelopes containing questions; a player would have to answer two of three correctly to win the prize. In at least some episodes, two of the five envelopes contained an instant-win and an instant-loss respectively.


Sidney M. Cohen

External linksEdit

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