Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens nationwide this Friday, and before the reviews start to pop up across the internet we'd like to share Darth Blender's video mashup to remind us of the many great memories we've shared with Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael over the last three decades.
Great, isn't it? I bet creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird never imagined that their anthropomorphic turtles would become a reference for a generation! From their first appearance in comic books by Mirage Studios to this week's release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, the franchise has spanned films, cartoons, video games, toys and more. In case Darth Blender's video has only wet your appetite for more TMNT, here's a list of 5 unforgettable moments since the Turtles' debut.
1. The First Animated Series (1987-1996)
In December 14, 1987 the first of 193 highly-successful episodes aired in syndication format inside USA. Later on, CBS made it a national program, so this nostalgic series ran with huge success until 1997. Peter Laird has publicly shared his distaste with the show because the studios made a more suitable version for children and families, very different from the original creation. On numerous occasions, however, he has also acknowledged that it was extremely beloved by its audience, and numbers prove that. TMNT has become one of the most-watched TV shows by kids and gave rise to numerous imitators. A cartoon we all remember with passion.
2. The '90s Features
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the sixth incursion of the franchise on big screen. But perhaps the most notable ones before this week's release was the first three live-action movies from early '90s. Then, the turtles were played by various actors in costumes featuring animatronic heads, initially produced by the Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Only in domestic release the original trilogy made more than US$ 250 million according to Box Office Mojo, and still stands as one of the funniest moments in many teenagers memories.
3. The first console game for NES.
The first console video game based on the franchise, simply titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) by Konami under their "Ultra Games" label in 1989. The game received mixed reviews, most notably for its high difficulty level, and among fans and critics, it has been widely considered to be one of the most difficult NES games ever made. Despite this, it was a commercial success, selling over 4 million copies and becoming one of the best-selling titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System. We agree that nowadays we have much better animation and design for the turtles, but a nostalgia like this only the old ones can give us.
4. The toys.
During the run of the 1987 TV series, Playmates Toys produced hundreds of TMNT action figures, along with vehicles, playsets, and accessories, becoming one of the top collectibles for children. According to an article from Los Angeles Times published in December 23, 1991:
"Since their introduction in 1988, about $850 million worth of Turtle toy merchandise - not including clothing and other licensed items - has been sold at wholesale, the equivalent of about $1.1 billion at retail prices. The total is enough to make the Turtles, in just four years, one of the three top-selling toy figures ever, along with G.I. Joe and the "Star Wars" characters".
5. Comic strips.
Probably some of the readers will remember this. The TMNT comic strip was started on December 10, 1990 by Creator's Syndicate as a daily. It ran seven days a week, but (at least for part of its run) the Saturday strips consisted only of fan art and was not part of the storyline, which was published Monday-Friday. The Sunday edition featured a mix of puzzles and fan art early on, but later switched entirely to a fan-art format. Among the creators who worked on the strip were Ryan Brown, Dan Berger, Jim Lawson, Michael Dooney, Steve Lavigne and Dean Clarrain, and some of the TMNT daily strips have been reprinted in Comics Revue.
What's your favorite memory with the Turtles? Do you remember any of this? Let us know by posting, commenting and sharing this article with your friends. All let's all go to theaters this Friday!