"If you can find the light bulb hidden in this picture, then you could win a run through our prize-filled house, where what you find is what you keep on Finders Keepers!"
Harvey at the start of each show.
Following the wild success of their first Game Show, Double Dare, Nickelodeon rolled out this show that fulfilled every kid's fantasy of tearing up his bedroom...and the kitchen...and the bathroom...and the sewer.Finders Keepers was split into two rounds. In the first half of each round, players had to identify hidden pictures to earn money and the right to search one of eight rooms in the life-sized house built onstage. In the second half of the round, teams had 30 seconds to ransack the room in play to find a hidden object that matched a clue read by the host. Finding the object awarded additional money, but failing to do so (or picking a wrong object) gave the cash to the other team. Some of the rooms were normal, such as the living room and bathroom; others were "fantasy" rooms like the Toy Shop, Dracula's Den, and the Fairy Tale Room. The team in the lead after Round 2 won and went on a Room-to-Room Romp through the house in hope of winning more prizes.The United Kingdom had its own version of the show a few years later, with several changes to the format.Not to be confused with the Urban Fantasywebcomic of the same name.
Bonus Space: One of the four rooms in Round 2 was dubbed the Instant Prize Room; finding the hidden object here resulted in that team winning a prize that was often bigger than the grand prize in the Romp.
Covered in Gunge: Surprisingly averted, for the most part. The Pastry Shop was really the only room where the contestants risked getting messy, although there were several rooms where they could get sprayed with or fall into water, and every once in a while the object or clue was buried in a pit or bucket of slime. However, on one occasion the producers ambushed Toffler with a bucket of the green stuff from above while in the house.
Golden Snitch: The entire scoring system. Each time a team failed to find the object in the room search round, the dollar value for that attempt was awarded to the opposing team; as such, teams that were perfect at the Hidden Pictures round but always failed when searching rooms would hand their opponents the win without their doing a damn thing.
Home Game: A board game was produced, complete with a Hidden Pictures book and eight cardboard boxes as the "rooms".
The Announcer: (John) Harvey, Bob Lorman, Joe Conklin, and Harry Stephens.
Game Show Host: Wesley Eure, then Larry Toffler. Neil Buchanan (and Diane Youdale for a little while) in the UK.
Lovely Assistant: The "Finders Keepers Keeper" - Mindy on Eure's version, Kelly on Toffler's. In both cases she was an African-American woman who helped out in the house and modeled some of the prizes.
Every player got to keep the pair of Converse sneakers he/she wore on the show, just as Double Dare contestants kept their Reeboks. Also, every crew member (including the host) wore a pair of the company's shoes.
Show The Folks At Home: During the room searches in the Eure version, the camera would occasionally zoom towards the object's hiding place, and Eure himself sometimes pointed out objects Hidden in Plain Sight, or made some sort of comment (such as "You saw that at home, didn't you?") if the contestants emptied out the hiding place but did not actually notice the object. On the Toffler version, an indicator popped up on screen to show approximately where the object was hidden.
The UK version combined both approaches; initially, an indicator would appear on the screen to show where the object was hidden, but if time was running low, host Neil Buchanan would try to clue the players in to the object's location (sometimes all but telling them exactly where to look).
Anti-Climax: Some of the Romps never really got going, with the contestants finding only two or even just one clue card. On at least two occasions in the Toffler era, the winning team found the first clue card in less than 10 seconds, but then spent over 80 seconds in a fruitless search for the second card due to a misunderstanding of the clue.
Blatant Lies: The prizes aren't actually in the house as stated in the intro (see top of page).
Bucket Booby-Trap: Subverted, as the contents would usually come out of cabinets, boxes on top of shelves, the ceiling, etc.
Catch Phrase: "FIND IT!" (or, occasionally in the early episodes, "Trash it!").
Early-Installment Weirdness: The hidden pictures round in the Eure era had a few differences in the first episodes to be filmed. The pictures themselves appeared without the wind chime sound effect used later, while missed objects were circled with a yellow telestrator pen rather than indicated by darkening the picture except for a light circle around the object.
The very earliest taped episodes featured no pink paint around the hall window on the top floor, as well as unusual room configurations - one episode featured what might be the only appearance of the Kids' Room prior to the second Eure season, while another episode or two had a principal's office as a room, never to be seen again afterwards. Some of the sound effects differed as well.
Large Ham: Harry Stephens, the final announcer, really leaned into each word during his opening spiel. "Iiiif YOU can find the LOBSTER hidden in this picture!!..."
...And then fell flat halfway through the most important parts of the spiel — "FINDERrrrrrrrs keepers" and "LARRyyyyyyyy toffler".
Linked List Clue Methodology: In the Room-to-Room Romp, the first clue gave the location to a clue card hidden somewhere in the room; on the card was the room the team was to go to next as well as the clue for that room. Finding a clue card in each of six rooms (all eight in the UK) won the grand prize.
Nintendo Hard: The Romp during the Eure era (the Closet in particular derailed many Romps due to the sheer number of hiding places). Inverted many times in the Toffler era, as most of the clue cards could be seen before the kids even entered the room.
No OSHA Compliance: Completely averted. The winning team always wore helmets and elbow/knee pads during the Romp, and Eure often commented about the emphasis on safety and the use of materials that would not hurt anyone. He even took a plate from the Kitchen and smashed it over his own head without injury to make the point.
Shout-Out: Starting with the second Eure series, the shop window in the General Store read "Klinghoffer's General Store", a reference to series producer Michael Klinghoffer.
Songs in the Key of Panic: "Hurry" variant in the Romp, to an extent; the music started out with a somewhat "relaxed" rhythm, but picked up time to that of the normal "room search" cues with around 35 seconds to go.
Also counts as a "Nearing the End" variant in both the normal searches and the Romp, with a key-change up every few seconds.
Time Keeps On Ticking: During the Romp, once the clock started, it ran continuously, even while teams were moving on to the next room. This put a premium on getting to the next room quickly. A wrong turn, especially when moving to the upper floor or lower floor could end up torpedoing the team.
More blatant in the UK version, where the host would often hold up the team until they shouted out the answer to the clue. In the US, the host would read the clue and let the team get on with it (occasionally asking the team what they were looking for as they were going about it). Good thing, too, since 90 seconds is quite brutal enough without the team having to shout out the answer.
Timed Mission: The individual room searches (30 seconds), and the Romp especially (6 rooms in 90 seconds in the US; all 8 rooms in 3 or 4 minutes in the UK).