That’s right folks, get ready to feel old! This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Premiering March 30, 1990, our favorite ninjas of the non-surf variety are now old enough to rent a car and or carpet shampooer.
Having already captivated the youth of the world for three years with the cartoon series, the big screen version was able to secure a spot in the top ten most successful films of 1990. This was in a year that brought us other blockbusters such as Total Recall, Back To The Future Part III, Die Hard 2, Home Alone and Kindergarten Cop. This is a movie that in its opening weekend in the USA alone took in $25,398,367 – nearly double what it cost to make, making it one of the most profitable indie films of all time. Compare that to another cartoon-turned-movie like 1987s Masters of the Universe that cost an estimated $22 million and didn’t even make a quarter of that back its opening weekend.
As strolls down memory lane are wont to do, we can’t help but think fondly on the things TMNT has given us over the years. The cartoons and comics that preceded and followed the movie, the toys (of which I am still somewhat bitter that my brothers all got first dibs and i was stuck with Raphael) and the many movies since. We’d be remiss if we didn’t share some lesser known things TMNT has given us. Cue the obligatory clip of the horrifying stage show!
Seriously, I watched that about a dozen times while writing this article and I don’t know what to pick apart. There’s just so much. Is it worse that they’re telling kids to “be straight” in the first song or that the “Tubin” song seems to encourage children to play in the sewers. Gleefully exclaiming that they know “your momma’s scared that you’ll break your neck” doesn’t hinder their insistence that one can surf in a sewer both day and night. Also, and maybe I’m reading into this but maybe shouting the phrase “Sewer side” over and over sounds a bit… oh, i don’t know, irresponsible.
One of our favorite TMNT factoids is that it was one of Sam Rockwell’s first movies playing “Head Thug”. Here he is showing some street toughs the ropes in The Foot Clan’s arcade/skate park/ninja training facility.
Without his part in that, who knows if he’d have continued acting, and we’re sure glad he did as his career lead him to quite possibly one of the best screen test videos on YouTube.
Back to the Turtles. While the stage shows offered some awful music, there are two songs in particular that will be everlasting as far as we’re concerned. While most would immediately go the Vanilla Ice Ninja Rap route, in the humble opinion of this writer, you can’t get any better in turtle-themed tunage than “Turtle Power” by Partners in Kryme.
More recently, in what proves to be evidence of how much the turtles are still a part of us all, [SPOILER ALERT] a recent issue of the comic book shows Donatello seemingly killed and the internet went a bit nuts. A sincere feeling of despair came over me as I felt a 4th of my childhood had been taken away in some strange way. Soon after, of course, a leaked photo of the next issue put our minds at ease that dear ol’ Donnie is only in a coma and now has joined the long list of characters who absolutely didn’t not totally sort of die. We’re looking at you Superman, Jason Todd, Wolverine, Colossus, Iron Man, Professor X, Wolverine again, Damian Wayne, Martian Manhunter, Wolverine a third time, Jean Grey, Oliver Queen, Hal Jordan, Bucky, and Wolverine.
Whether you grew up a die-hard fan or not, we’re sure the turtles have a few cameos in a lot of people’s lives. Somewhere between emulating ninja moves in the backyard to getting grounded for emulating said ninja moves, the turtles taught me teamwork. So let’s hear it folks! Be the Leo to my Raph and tell me your favorite TMNT moments or factoids in the comments below.
Weird. I didn’t mention Corey Feldman voicing Donatello in the movie? I’m sure it’s because he’s probably doing just fine with his amazingly awful song “Ascension Millennium”
Share some of your favorite Turtles memories below!