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 was a Canadian game show where contestants would race 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 to 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 and/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 – The roller would roll the die for the dasher to move forward.
  • Roll Back – The roller would roll the die for the dasher to move backward.
  • Roll Over – The roller would roll the die for the opposing dasher to move forward.
  • Change Places – The two dashers would switch places; the dasher who moved from "Change Places" was deemed to have landed on their new space, and would take its effect.
  • Free Roll – The team would get a free roll.
  • Miss Turn – The opposing team would get a free roll.
  • Back to Start – The player on the board had to walk back to the START square.
  • Insurance – The team would get an insurance policy which protected them from any danger of losing either money or prizes.
  • Go Broke – The team lost all their banked cash, but the prizes stayed up there. On some episodes, when a team had the insurance policy as they landed on this space, the roller would put it down on the table or on the floor and they would keep the money up there.
  • Return Prizes – The team lost all their banked prizes, but they kept the money up there.
  • Dash – A true-or-false question was asked to the dasher. The roller would roll the die with the dasher moving forward if they gave a correct answer, and backwards if they did not.
  • Breakaway – The roller would roll the die; the dasher was given that many seconds, from one to five, to run freely along the board path towards the "win" space, stopping wherever they were when the time ran out.
  • Dice Game – The player at the table would roll with two dice. If it resulted in two $ symbols, the team would get $100 and another chance to roll. In addition, the player on the game board path moved the total number shown on the dice.
  • Card Game – The roller would draw from an oversized deck of playing cards. The dasher would move forward the number of spaces drawn, with ace being a one, unless a face card was drawn, in which case the roller had to roll the die causing the dasher to move backwards.
  • Happy Birthday – The dasher would spin two wheels: One wheel had five money amounts and an insurance policy. The other had all the months of the year. The team would win the money spun; if the second wheel stopped on the player's birth month, the money was doubled. If the first wheel landed on the insurance policy, they would receive a policy which could prevent them from losing cash or prizes later in the game.
  • Pot of Gold – A series of prizes that were instantly won (not banked), win or lose, no matter the outcome of the game.
  • Thin Ice – A true-or-false question was asked to the dasher. If they gave a correct answer, they could take a prize from their opponent's bank. If they did not, the opposing team could take one of their banked prizes. If a correct answer was given, but the opponents had no prizes, the team was given the chance to move forward up to five squares, paying $10 per square.
  • Mini-Game – One space on the board required the dasher to play a set mini-game, and was 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 would choose to take either Brains (a question) or Brawn (a physical stunt). If they were successful, the roller would roll the die and the dasher would move forward. If they were unsuccessful, it meant that the dasher had to go 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