To explain to you what a Finder is, I must first tell you about Keypers. Keypers were a toy brand produced by the company Tonka in the 1980s. These were rather large plastic animal figures with beautiful brushable hair whose gimmick were their small hidden compartments in which you could hide your secrets. The Keypers animals each came with a key to open the compartment, and a bonus personalized companion vinyl figure, a Finder.
The Finders were small nonsensical puffballs that looked like a cross between a mouse and a raspberry with huge nerdy glasses and rad Sonic the Hedgehog style shoes. I never actually owned a Keyper as a kid so I have no emotional attachment to these toys whatsoever, but when I came across Keypers while browsing 80s toy sites like I do, I immediately decided I HAD to collect all the Finders because I'm random and whimsical and free-spirited like that.
It was all fun and games in the beginning, Finders were easily and cheaply obtained on eBay and Etsy and the like, but as time passed, I had collected all the common Finders and only had the frustratingly hard to find left. As of writing this, my collection still isn't complete, but I will probably not give up until I have collected them all!!
ANATOMY OF A FINDER
I have not been able to find any sort of official description of what a Finder is supposed to be. I have taken a series of turn-around photos of both of the Finder molds so you can judge for yourself.
Round glasses mold:
Rectangular glasses mold:
The only official description I have found of the Finders so far, come from the boring children's book "A Friend for Keypers", and is the following:
The same book also provided a couple of cute illustrations of Nitelite:
She looks really quite different from her toy counterpart! No signs of being a raspberry here; she is quite literally a puffball. Her ears are also smaller, and she has a little tuft of hair on her head.
MY FINDER COLLECTION
Keyper: Tango the Ladybug
A pleasantly warm and sunny colored Finder partnered with my favorite Keyper, should I have one.
Keyper: Fancy the Snail
Series: 1 & 2
Pink on pink! A staple in every "girls' toy" line. The shades work very well together to create a nice design, though. When you think about it, isn't it a bit of a cruel joke to name the snail Keyper's Finder Footloose?!
Keyper: Shelldon the Tortoise
Partnered with the sleepy-themed Shelldon, Nitelite GLOWS IN THE DARK!!! She is made from glow-in-the-dark plastic with painted accents, so only her eyes, teeth, and raspberry-like body actually glow. I have a weakness for glow-in-the-dark and sleep themed things, so Nitelite is one of my favorites.
Keyper: Princess the Swan
Series: 1 & 2
Perkins has somehow become what I picture the "standard" finder, maybe due to her generic "girls' toy" color design. Purple on pink on white! Not a bad combination in itself, but I don't think these particular shades work very well together.
Keyper: Keyboard the Penguin
Affectionally nicknamed "Punk Rock" Hummer by yours truly, this Hummer has a neat unique color design.
Name: Hummer (variation)
Keyper: Keyboard the Penguin (variation)
Hummer lost all her edge in her color variation release. It's all right, Hummer. Many people went through that phase.
Keyper: Hero the Kangaroo
Teeball has a fresh, bold color design that makes me feel energized and ready!
Keyper: Bonnie/Brella the Bear
Ah, Posey, how pleasant you are! I love this color design, so Posey has become one of my favorites. Oh and the name variations depend on your region, I think.
Keyper: Kassie the Cat
Honestly, I can just barely tell Tomkins apart from ???, so it's a possibility I got the two mixed up. Their differences are easy to tell apart in real life, but looking at pictures online, I can't with 100% certainty say which of these two Finders go with which Keyper.
Keyper: Diamond the Pony
I have nothing in particular to say about Dash, but she was the first Finder I got doubles of, so I toted her around in my bag for a while. Dash has seen the world.
Keyper: Joyful the Rabbit
Bowtie makes up for her rather generic color design by sporting a swanky painted-on bowtie! Maybe to match her fancy rabbit Keyper who was wedding-themed for some reason.
Keyper: Frilly the Squirrel
Peppy looks a lot like Dash, only with more pink instead of purple.
Name: Twist (series 2)
Keyper: Tango the Ladybug (series 2)
The beautiful, sunny Tango and Twist got a color redesign for series 2. I prefer series 1, but this is also a funky fresh color design.
Keyper: ??? the Kangaroo
This could also be Tomkins. I'm not entirely sure. The two are very hard to tell apart! No one has been able to document the names of this Finder and her Keyper yet.
Keyper: Mishelle the Tortoise
Nightbright, whose name I've also seen spelled "Nitebright", is my favorite Finder of them all due to the fact that she glows in the dark, and her color design is a little fresher than Nitelite's. Her teeth don't glow, though.
I have a total of one Keyper in my collection! I received this plush version of Tango the Ladybug as a birthday present from my good friend Doc. The plush dolls were separate releases from the main toy line, and didn't come with Finders originally, but Twist is happy to have been reunited with this rather fuzzy version of her Keyper pal.
The following are the Finders I have yet to add to my collection:
Twist (color variation), Tumble, and Teeball (color variation)! Tumble came with the series 2 dog Keyper, and Twist and Teeball are, well, color variations. Something tells me the color variations are quite rare to come by! I shamefully borrowed these pictures from Ghost of the Doll.
I'm also on the lookout for Keypers books aside from the one I already own (A Friend for Keypers) so I can see what more Finder information is out there first hand!