The YouTube Files – Finders Keepers USA.

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. vlcsnap-00707

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. vlcsnap-00510

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. vlcsnap-00708

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. vlcsnap-00714

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! vlcsnap-00710

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.

CITV Memories – Finders Keepers.

Finders Keepers (CITV, 1991-1996)

Another one of CITV’s most successful shows. It was hosted by the terrific Neil Buchanan and his waistcoats and like that other great game show Fun House it was based on an American format. vlcsnap-00420

Finders Keepers was the ultimate chance to people to raid the rooms of a big house to win prizes and no-one minded if you made a mess. Two teams of two took part. In the first game they had to answer silly questions. Get them right to win 25 points and the chance to raid a room. vlcsnap-00421

In this part of the game Neil would give the contestants a clue to the hidden item. They then had 30 seconds to find it. Neil would try to be helpful and drop hints for the contestants by constantly shouting things like “you’re freezing over there!”. There was also the blue arrow that would give a hint to where the item was for the viewers at home. If they do find the item in time and avoid the silly string flying everywhere Neil would shout “stop the clock” and they win another 25 points, but if they don’t the points go over to the opposing team. And don’t forget “Jeremy’s Joker”, as if we could. vlcsnap-00422

In the next stage of the game, wow, the points were doubled! There were four more rooms on offer including the “fantasy room” which changed every week and a bonus prize was on offer for what team successfully raided that one. Whoever had the most points at the end of all of this went on to the Super Search! vlcsnap-00423

This was the final of the game where the contestants had three minutes to raid every room. When they found the item they needed it had a note attached telling them what room they had to go to next. The more items they found, the better the prize, and if they succeeded in all eight rooms they would win the star prize! It was rather difficult to achieve this in three minutes though so in later series this was extended to four minutes which meant there was a much better chance of winning. vlcsnap-00425

This all carried on very well for a few series with a some changes over the years including adding a camera to the contestant’s helmet just like they did in Fun House to give us a better idea of what it must be like to play the game. However, with the constant attempts to make the show bigger and better the final series in 1996 unfortunately for me if I dare use the phrase “jumped the shark” with a lot of rules changes, terrible new rounds introduced, and Neil’s role in hosting the show reduced. “Plunder that pit” indeed, what nonsense. Finders Keepers didn’t return for another series and I was almost relieved which was a shame as at its best in the early days the show was up there with the CITV classics. vlcsnap-00424

The popularity of Finders Keepers has endured though with the show being repeated as part of the Old Skool Weekend and it is still fondly remembered. One thing I remember about the show was when the teams did well there were a lot of high fives. CITV’s Tommy Boyd noticed this and said that they should rename the show Fingers Keepersvlcsnap-00426

Neil also hosted a few celebrity specials as part of Motormouth, so if you had ever wanted to see Andrew O’Connor play the game, it was your lucky day. There was also a revival a decade after Finders Keepers originally ended but you don’t need to know about that.