Finders Keepers (1987-1989)
Recently I have been reviewing the original American versions of UK game shows. Now let’s have a variation on that by looking at an American children’s game show. Finders Keepers launched on Nickelodeon in 1987 (although it had become syndicated by the time it ended in 1989), and it would go on to be a big success when it came to CITV in the UK in 1991, so I was pleased to find (if you’ll pardon the pun) the original version on YouTube.
Finders Keepers was originally hosted by Wesley Eure. Again, there were some differences to the UK version. Two teams of two took part, the reds and blues (not the yellows and greens). The first round was rather different. There was a picture, and a clue to an item hidden in it. If they can see it the teams have to buzz in and circle it on the screen. If they get it right, they win $25 and the chance to raid one room.
Once four rooms have been won, the set cleverly opens to reveal the eight-room house. This part is rather more familiar. The teams are given a clue and have to find a hidden item in 30 seconds, with can often be rather chaotic with silly string going everywhere (and no arrow to give viewers a clue either). If they find it, they win $50, but if not, the money goes to the other team.
They then go back to play the first game again for the other four rooms on offer, only this time a correct answer is worth $75, and finding an item is worth $100. There would also be a room where a mystery bonus prize could be won. The team with the highest score goes through to the final, although if the scores are tied at this point another round of the first game is played as a tiebreaker.
The winning team play the Room-To-Room Romp (not the Super Search), which again is slightly different. The finalists have to find six items in 90 seconds (in the UK it was eight items in three minutes). Once they find the item, it has a tag that tells them what room to go to next. The clue also appears on the screen in this round. The more items they find, the more prizes they win, and they could soon end up with a lot of calculators, what a delight!
As ever, it was good to see the original version of a show that I very much enjoyed in the 90s. I suppose the only criticism I have of this version was the constantly shrieking studio audience, but I suppose I can’t blame them for being so excited as, well, there was a calculator at stake as a prize! Other CBBC and CITV game shows that started out in America include Double Dare and Fun House and I’ll review those soon too.