Finders Keepers (American game show)

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This article is about the American children's show. For an earlier, unrelated UK show, see Finders Keepers (1981 UK game show).
Finders Keepers
FindersKeepers titlecard.PNG
Intro title for Finders Keepers.
Created by Geoffrey Darby
Bonni Grossberg
Michael Klinghoffer
Neil Krupnick
Dee LaDuke
Presented by Wesley Eure (Nickelodeon)
Larry Toffler (Syndication)
Theme music composer Edd Kalehoff
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 260 (Nickelodeon: 130; syndication: 130)[1]
Location(s) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (first two seasons)
Los Angeles, California (syndication)
Running time 30 minutes (including commercials)
Original channel Nickelodeon (1987–88)
Syndicated (1988–89)
Original run Nickelodeon:
November 2, 1987 (1987-11-02)–July 29, 1988 (1988-07-29)
September 12, 1988 (1988-09-12) – March 10, 1989 (1989-03-10)

Finders Keepers is a children's game show that debuted on Nickelodeon and later aired in first-run syndication. The show featured two teams of two children attempting to find hidden objects in different rooms of a house.

The Nickelodeon version premiered on November 2, 1987 and was hosted by Wesley Eure. Following this version's cancellation, Larry Toffler hosted a syndicated version that premiered on September 12, 1988.

Main game[edit]

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, and the second half involved ransacking rooms in a large house built on-stage.

Hidden Pictures round[edit]

In the first half of each round, the object for the teams was to find hidden pictures drawn into a larger picture based on clues given by the host. On the Nickelodeon series the picture was displayed on a telestrator and the team used a light pen to circle the object. On the syndicated series the picture was displayed on the game board with plastic laminate stickers similar to Colorforms representing the objects, and the team had to run to the board and stick a laminate to the picture to show where the hidden object was.

Each correct item located earned $25 for the team and an opportunity to search one of four rooms in the house for that round. During the first half of the Nickelodeon series the players chose the rooms they wanted to search, but this was later changed so that each hidden object found awarded the opportunity to search a specific room.

Each picture had a maximum of six objects hidden within it. In the first half of the Nickelodeon series, an incorrect answer meant a room would go unclaimed. For the subsequent episodes and syndicated series, the round was played until all four rooms were claimed or all six clues were played.

Searching the house[edit]

The house consisted of eight rooms that could be whimsical versions of traditional rooms in a typical home (e.g., a living room, a bathroom, a den or a kitchen), or complete fantasy rooms, such as "Sherlock's Study," "Ali-Baba's Bathroom", a Sewer(which contained a pool of water), Tarzan's Treehouse, a Pastry Shop, or "Frankenstein's Laboratory."

In each room, the host read a clue describing an object hidden within that room. The team had 30 seconds to find the object, and were given one chance to show it to the host once found. Each room in this round was worth $50, which went to the team if they found the object in the room. If the team failed to find the object within the time limit, the opposing team was given the money. The opponents also received the money if the team showed an incorrect object to the host while searching.

While trying to find the object in a room, the team encountered an array of distractions, including objects (such as ping-pong balls) falling onto them from cabinets or the ceiling, confetti cannons firing, water spraying from various places, and in later episodes, entire shelves collapsing. One notable occasion in the Eure era involved Wesley getting sprayed with whipped cream by a stagehand that was hiding in a pot. Another occasion in the Toffler era involved Larry getting slimed by a stagehand from above him as he entered a room, in the next round of that episode, the producers would not let Larry change his shirt and he kept checking the ceiling for more slime.

Round two[edit]

Two teams playing the hidden picture round on the syndicated series (note the laminate stickers on the boards)

The process repeated with a second hidden pictures round and set of rooms to search. The dollar values increased to $75 for finding a correct hidden picture and $100 for successfully finding a hidden object in a room.

One of the rooms in round two was the "Instant Prize Room". If the team found the hidden object in the Instant Prize Room (which was never revealed until a team entered it), they won a bonus prize in addition to the $100 for finding the hidden object. If not, the prize went unclaimed and the opposing team was awarded the $100.

Whichever team had the most money after the last room was played won the game and advanced to the Room to Room Romp.


In the event that both teams were tied at the end of the second round, they returned to the play area for a brief Hidden Pictures round. The first team to find two objects won the game and moved on to the Room to Room Romp.

Room-to-Room Romp[edit]

In the Room-to-Room Romp, the winning team was shown the order of six rooms to be searched. The team was given 90 seconds to find a hidden object in each of these six rooms. All six objects had tags attached, with each of the first five tags directing them to the next room and giving a clue for the object hidden there.

The team won a prize for each object found, increasing in value to a grand prize for getting all six within the time limit.

Broadcast history[edit]

The original version premiered on Nickelodeon on November 2, 1987 with Wesley Eure as host and Harvey as the announcer. Harvey was later replaced by Bob Lorman and then by Joe Conklin. New episodes continued to air on Nickelodeon until July 29, 1988.

A first-run syndicated version, distributed by Fox Television Stations and Viacom, premiered on September 12, 1988 and was hosted by Larry Toffler with Harry Stevens announcing. The syndicated series ended its run on March 10, 1989, and began airing in repeats on Nickelodeon the following Monday (March 13), which continued until June 30, 1990. Nickelodeon GAS re-aired the series from 1999 until 2006.

A British version of Finders Keepers aired on ITV from 1991 to 1996, followed by a brief revival in 2006. The first five series of this version was presented by Neil Buchanan, who was joined in the last series by Diane Youdale. Jeff Brazier presented the revival.

A Brazilian Version of Finders Keepers,called "Bobeou Dançou" aired by Rede Globo from July to December 1989,. This version was hosted by the Brazilian big star Xuxa .

Production information[edit]

The music for Finders Keepers was written by Edd Kalehoff. The music package was updated when the show went into syndication.

The first two seasons of Finders Keepers was taped at WHYY-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (as was Double Dare). The syndicated version was taped at Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles, California. The sets of the Nickelodeon and syndicated versions differed slightly. The set of the Nickelodeon version consisted of a mock exterior of a house that included a door through which Eure entered at the beginning of the show. Prior to searching the house, the set would break away to reveal the house and rooms the teams would be searching. On the syndicated version, the play area and house shared the same set, with the house built stage left and the play area stage right.

Converse was a major sponsor of the show during its run, and every contestant and stage crew member (including the host) wore a pair of the company's shoes.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Shister, Gail (13 October 1987). "Nickelodeon finds home in Philadelphia". Ocala Star-Banner. Retrieved 2 July 2013.