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Finders Keepers (game show): Wikis


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Finders Keepers
The Finders Keepers house from the syndicated version.
Format Children's game show
Presented by Wesley Eure (Nickelodeon)
Larry Toffler (Syndication)
Theme music composer Edd Kalehoff
Country of origin  United States
Location(s) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (first season)
Los Angeles, California (syndication)
Running time 30 minutes (including commercials)
Original channel Nickelodeon (1987-1988)
Syndicated (1988-1989)
Original run November 2, 1987 – March 10, 1989

Finders Keepers is a children's game show that debuted on the Nickelodeon network in America on November 2, 1987 with Wesley Eure as host and aired until September 11, 1988. The next day (September 12), the show began airing in first-run syndication with Larry Toffler hosting. The syndicated series ended its run on March 10, 1989, and began airing in reruns on Nickelodeon the following Monday (March 13). The reruns ended on June 30, 1990.

The show featured two teams of two children who participated in four rounds of game-play (divided into two sections) followed by a final bonus round for the winning team.



The first season of Finders Keepers was taped at WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (like its sister show Double Dare). For the syndicated run, the show moved to Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles, California.


John Harvey (as Harvey) announced on the Nickelodeon version through about the midway point of the run, at which point Bob Lorman took over for a time, followed by Joe Conklin.

Harry Stevens was the announcer on the syndicated version.

Main game

The main game was played in two rounds each with two halves. The first half of each round involved finding hidden pictures in a complex drawing; the second half involved ransacking rooms in a large house built onstage. Two teams of two competed, the blue team and the red team.


Hidden Pictures round

The first half of each round had the two teams looking at a cartoon drawing of some random scenario, with hidden objects drawn into the picture that the players needed to find. The host would then read clues describing one of the objects. Correctly identifying the item in the picture that matched the clue awarded a team $25 and the right to search one of the rooms in the house. Players could buzz in while the clue was being read; however, if a team ran out of time or found the wrong item, their opponents were given a chance to steal the money by finding the correct item once the host re-read the clue. If neither team found the hidden object, the host would reveal where it was in the picture and read a clue to another hidden object.

In the Eure version, the teams saw the picture on a telestrator in their podiums. To answer, a team had to buzz in and circle the hidden object with an electronic pen.

In the Toffler version, a giant trilon revealed a board with a giant picture in the center and the hidden objects were drawn onto plastic laminates on either side of the picture. After a clue was read, the team that buzzed in would have to run to the board, grab the laminate they thought represented the correct answer, and stick it to the picture in the area where the hidden object was or somewhere close to it. If a team could not do this in five seconds, the opposing team earned a chance to do so after hearing the clue again. It was always stressed by Toffler that there were more laminates on the board than there were in the picture.

During the first half of the Eure version, the players chose the rooms they wanted to search; this was then switched to the host dictating which room corresponded to the current clue in the hidden pictures round.

Each Hidden Picture had a maximum of six clues to go with it. Consequently, in the first half of the Eure run, an incorrect answer usually meant that a room would remain unclaimed (hence, one unclaimed room meant that only three rooms would be searched.) In later Eure episodes and the Toffler version, the teams played the round until all four rooms were claimed, or they played out all six clues in the hidden picture (there was still the possibility of unclaimed rooms, which occurred on at least one occasion on either show during that time).

Searching the house

For each correct find in the "Hidden Pictures" half of each round, the teams were awarded with a chance to search a room in the Finders Keepers house. The house (originally behind the main set during the hidden pictures on the Eure version but then later moved to the side of the set in the Toffler version) consisted of eight rooms that could be whimsical versions of real rooms in a typical home such as a living room, a bathroom, "Dad's Den" and "Granny's Kitchen", or they could be complete "fantasy" type rooms such as "Sherlock's Study," "Ali-Baba's Bathroom", a "Fairy Tale Room", a "Pastry Shop", or "Frankenstein's Laboratory."

In each room, the host would read a clue describing an object hidden in that room. The team then had 30 seconds to tear apart the room to find the object, and they were given one chance to show it to the host. If they located the object, they won $50; if they ran out of time or picked the wrong object, the money went to their opponents. For the viewers, the location of the hidden object was pointed out periodically during the room search, handled differently in both versions of the show: In the Eure version, the camera would zoom in every now and then on the object's location at the time (even if the object was knocked over or tossed to the ground accidentally during the search), whereas in the Toffler version, a small picture of the room pre-search would display approximately halfway through the thirty seconds, with a flashing 'X' to mark where the object was hidden.

While a team tried to find the object in a room, certain distractions would appear to make the game more difficult. These included objects such as ping-pong balls falling onto the contestants from cabinets or the ceiling, confetti cannons firing, water spraying from various places, and in later episodes, entire shelves collapsing. Any breakable objects were made of special materials that would not hurt the teams; Eure once demonstrated this by breaking a plate over his own head without injury.

Round 2

In Round 2, the dollar values increased to $75 for finding a correct Hidden Picture and $100 for successfully finding a hidden object in a room. In addition, one of the rooms was selected as an "Instant Prize Room". This room was not revealed until a team actually entered it, at which point the room's lights blinked and a school bell went off. If the team found the object in that room, those contestants won a prize (in the Eure version and for the early part of the Toffler version, it was usually more expensive than the grand prize in the bonus round) in addition to the $100 for finding the item and only if the team won the game gets to keep the prize. If the team failed in the "Instant Prize Room", the prize was out of play, but the opponent received the money.

The team with the most money at the end of the game won (plus the "Instant Prize" if it was won). If the game ended in a tie, a shortened Hidden Pictures round was played, with the first team to find two hidden pictures winning. A possible $1,000 cash was up for grabs between the two teams, although the most any one team ever won was $975.

With the nature of the scoring system, the potential existed for one team to do absolutely nothing, but still win the game- for this to happen, one team would have to gain access to all eight rooms in play, but not find the hidden objects in any of them.

Bonus round ("Room-to-Room Romp")

At the end of the game, the winning team won a chance to participate in a "Room-to-Room Romp". Given a 90-second time limit, the team had to locate a chain of clue cards, which were hidden one per room in six of the eight rooms. Each card contained the room to go to next and the clue for the location of the next card. For each tag that was found, the team received a prize. Typical prizes included bicycles, skateboards, a trip to Space Camp or Disney World, gift certificates to either Kay-Bee Toys (Toffler) or Toys "R" Us (Eure), or a video game system.

Beginning with the second half of the Eure version, the audience would usually yell out the order of the rooms to be trashed in the Romp before the round started; a musical accompaniment was added to this practice on the Toffler version.

Set/music/personnel changes

  • About halfway through the Eure run the show was tinkered with a bit, although the format remained the same. Harvey was replaced with Bob Lorman (and later Joe Conklin) in the announcer's booth, many of the rooms got a facelift or were completely remodeled, rooms such as Tarzan's Treehouse and the Back Yard made their first appearances, the lighting was improved, and the contestants' podiums were modified somewhat. At least one episode had the house setup for the romp being different than that for the main game. This was most likely due to more than one episode taped in each taping day.
  • The music for Finders Keepers was written by Edd Kalehoff. The music package was updated when the show went into syndication, with more instruments being added to all tracks (similar to that of Double Dare when it went into other versions).
  • The sets of the two series differed in their construction. The Eure version's set consisted of the play area, which contained a door that Eure would enter through when he was introduced and the teams would go through when they would enter the house, along with the host and contestant podia. Once the teams entered the house, the set would break away to reveal the house. On the Toffler version, the play area and house shared the same set, with the house being built to the play area's right.

UK Version

External links


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