i triple dog dare ya!
September 14, 2015 4:36 AM   Subscribe

Which accomplishments, artistic projects, records, businesses, enrollments, discoveries, inventions, etc came about as a result of a dare?
posted by divabat to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Codex Alera: "The inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Del Rey Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”."
posted by JDHarper at 5:02 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Green Eggs and Ham: The vocabulary of the text consists of just 50 different words and was the result of a bet between Seuss and Bennett Cerf (Dr. Seuss's publisher) that Seuss (after completing The Cat in the Hat using 236 words) could not complete an entire book without exceeding that limit.

I don't know whether it's apocryphal or not, but I've heard that Scientology was the result of a bet between L. Ron Hubbard and Robert Heinlein to see who could start a religion; Heinlein's attempt resulted in Stranger in a Strange Land.

Wiki's article on bar bets contains slightly more info plus some more examples.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:19 AM on September 14, 2015

It is said, maybe rather fancifully, that the Earl of Rochester made a bet that he could create a great actress in six months. The result was that Elizabeth Barry, who had a rather mediocre talent when she first debuted, became the greatest actress of her time.
posted by Emma May Smith at 5:43 AM on September 14, 2015

Manos: The Hands of Fate was the result of a wager.
posted by terretu at 5:46 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

A friend dared Anna Mae Bullock to get up on stage and sing with Ike Turner. Anna Mae later became known as Tina Turner.
posted by Chitownfats at 5:47 AM on September 14, 2015

Came to post the Berners Street hoax (under 'artistic projects' maybe?), then realised (like some above) that it was based on a bet, rather than a dare. Is the difference important in your context?
posted by quinndexter at 5:49 AM on September 14, 2015

Scientology, if you believe Robert Heinlein.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:59 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Aerogel was first created by Samuel Stephens Kistler in 1931, as a result of a bet with Charles Learned over who could replace the liquid inside a jam (jelly) jar with gas without causing shrinkage.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:11 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

The movie "To have and Have Not" Was the result of a bet between Hemingway and Howard Hawks that Hawks could make a movie out of Hemingway's "worst work". Hawks cheated a bit by changing major characters and timelines.
posted by Gungho at 6:51 AM on September 14, 2015

A certain type of decay seen in B Mesons is named a "Penguin" because of a bet. Link.
posted by cgs06 at 6:51 AM on September 14, 2015

Response by poster: Bets work too! Though there doesn't need to have a monetary element to it.
posted by divabat at 7:21 AM on September 14, 2015

Theodore Geisel (aka Dr Seuss) wrote Cat In The Hat on a dare that a decent children's book could not be written using only beginner level reading words
posted by Flood at 7:50 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

The first people to climb Mt. Denali did it to win a bet.

With hot chocolate and donuts.
posted by bricksNmortar at 11:40 AM on September 14, 2015

It is much disputed, but supposedly Lady Godiva implored her husband to cut taxes and he responded with something to the effect of "Oh, sure -- IF you ride naked through town." And she did.
posted by Michele in California at 12:39 PM on September 14, 2015

One Million Giraffes
posted by aniola at 1:02 PM on September 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Don't quote me on this because it's probably spurious, but I was told that Ravel's 'Bolero' was a bet to compose an orchestral piece with only one chord. He then just threw in two chords right at the end, and paid the wager.
posted by ovvl at 1:32 PM on September 14, 2015

"Splish Splash" is a 1958 song performed and co-written by Bobby Darin. It was written with DJ Murray the K (Murray Kaufman), who bet that Darin couldn't write a song that began with the words, "Splish Splash, I was takin' a bath", as suggested by Murray's mother, Jean Kaufman.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:53 PM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I JUST came across this one - file under "bet" - King Solomon's Mines:
Haggard wrote the novel as a result of a five-shilling wager with his brother, namely whether he could write a novel half as good as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). He wrote it in a short time, somewhere between six and sixteen weeks between January and 21 April 1885. However, the book was a complete novelty and was rejected by one publisher after another. After six months, King Solomon's Mines was published, and the book became the year's best seller; the only problem was how to print copies fast enough (much to the chagrin of those who had rejected the manuscript).
posted by kristi at 9:53 PM on September 21, 2015

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